Open emotion


be gone, you traitorous unwanted tears
which slip down my face as
I try to maintain my invisible status in crowded places,
or imitate cheer with intimate friends.

am I not mistress of my emotions,
that I cannot control the ocean of saline
that falls from my eyes, refusing to hide
as if begging attention?

while friends understand and empathise
I cannot explain to nameless strangers, who
may catch my eye with a silent question
and then pass by, wondering at my open emotion
and with compassionate pang, pause for a moment, as
they briefly consider reaching out with their sympathy,
but deep in thought, they amble away
fearing it may be rude to intrude
but feeling guilty all the same,
while I in my private innocent misery
have cast a vague shadow over their day.

FAO Sarah, and anybody else who is alarmed by the tone of this post: it refers to the way I was feeling two years ago, not the way I am now.

©Jane Paterson Basil


31 thoughts on “Open emotion

  1. Glad to hear you don’t feel this way now.
    I confess, I’ve been the person who approaches weeping women – had one in the shop a few months back. I never know if I should (sometimes when I’ve been upset, the last thing I’d want is a stranger to approach me) but on the offchance I can help, I ask anyway. All the best X

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve avoided weepers ever since I walked past a guy on Barnstaple Bidge, who appeared to be weeping copious tears. I was so alarmed that I turned round and walked back to him, to see if there was anything I could do to help, and was terribly embarrassed to discover he wasn’t crying, but laughing. He was completely wasted, and incoherent.
      Paul told me yesterday that he mat a knight in shining armour a few months ago, and he’s only just remembered it. He was a right mess at the time, taking all sorts of drugs to try and get himself off one drug, and out of the blue, he found himself walking along a road, being lightly supported by a girl. He was angry, because he didn’t know what was happening, who she was or how he came to be there. She told him that she found him on the council estate where she lived, standing with his back bowed and his head down, motionless. She was worried about him so she took him for a walk – which, considering his mental state at the time, couldn’t have been much fun for her – because she thought it would help him. When he asked how long they had been walking, she said “About an hour.” At that point he stomped off in a rage, and left her. Now that he’s sane he remembers a lot of the incident. He would like to find her and both thank her for looking after him, and apologise for his behaviour, but he’s not sure whether he’d recognise her if he saw her again.
      What a kind, and brave, thing for a young woman to do. I’ll try to pass it on by bestowing an equal act of brave kindness upon someone who needs it, should the opportunity arise.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. That’s amazing. Yes, a truly brave and lovely act. Perhaps he can put a poster up somewhere describing the incident, see if she responds. I saw a documentary about a man who was about to commit suicide by jumping from a bridge when a stranger talked him down. The man eventually tracked the stranger and was able to say how grateful he was for his intervention. Inspiring stuff x

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow! This is such a powerfully intimate write, detailing something that many of us have experienced. There is a lesson here, for all of us: when you see someone suffering, extend a hand or a word of kindness because accepted or not, it will lift the spirits of all involved.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Guardian Angels do not want or expect a thank you. So nice of someone to have done that for another person as we hear so much negativity. As always your poems are full of emotion and touch so many on different levels. I always enjoy them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are so right – a Guardian Angel swoops down to assist, not to gain kudos or gratitude, but all the same, I’s like to thank that girl.
      Thank you for your kind comment about my poem; I don’t know where this one came from – it’s not as if i was even feeling miserable at the time.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Sirena. In a way my whole life is like a holiday, although the plane is always delayed, the only coffee at the airport is Costa, (I hate Costa coffee) the drunks harass me and I can’t sleep because I’m afraid that someone’s going to nick my shoes. The consolation is that there are always interesting people to talk to while I wait for my eventual flight, and they may even suggest a better destination.
      To continue your metaphor, those parasites that haven’t flown away have morphed into beautiful butterflies – at least for the moment.
      I hope the pause in your poetry isn’t caused by overwork or any other negative force… xxx

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh no negative force. I have no excuses, just a limited attention span and too many ideas. Like a reality show where people compete to buy amazing outfits at thrift stores based on random themes like cocktail party or Edwardian or a TV show about a metphysical thriftstore full of cursed objects and potions gone bad run by a mad scientist. The last one I am actually going to produce an audio episode and pitch. I love your airport metaphor. Airports are the weirdest. Someday I will make it to England and Buy you a nice Cuppa joe.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Your thriftstore ideas are great – especially the second one. ‘ll look forward to the Cuppa joe, even though i have no idea what it is, or whether you can get it over here – if not, perhaps you can bring one over on the plane. Those cups are so insulated it will probably still be hot enough to scald my mouth when I meet you at the airport.

          Liked by 1 person

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