Choose life


You’re not a human being, you’re a human been;
you’re the worst case of foolishness I’ve ever seen;
every chance you’ve had has been thrown away,
making you the wasted soul I see today.

You’re not alone, there are millions of your kind,
taking murderous drugs that are stealing their minds,
when they could be enjoying fulfilling lives,
as gardeners and comedians; husbands and wives.

You could become a journalist, a builder or a nurse;
it may not appeal to you, but your life is worse.
You could do relief work,  assisting those in need,
instead of taking drugs while your mind goes to seed.

Get up off your arse and do something good;
learn to paint a landscape or cook some food;
enrol yourself in college or in university;
or  go travelling in India to see what you can see.

You can get your life sorted – it’s not too late
to become the master of a more exalted fate.
It’s perplexing that you want to spend all of your days
dragging through the streets in a perpetual haze.

Written for The Daily Post #Perplexed

©Jane Paterson Basil


42 thoughts on “Choose life

  1. I adopted two girls through foster care. This poem captures how i feel about their biological parents perfectly. It’s a touching and beautiful poem. Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s good that you were there to catch the two girls as they were being hurled through the firmament. In general (altough I can think of one exception) addicts with children make me furious – especially those who start using after having children. Thank you for reading and taking the trouble to make such a positive comment.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re welcome, it was a lovely poem.

        I used to be very judgmental of addicts with children until I met my daughters’ bio mom and learned there was a person under the addiction. Don’t get me wrong, I still struggle with a lot of anger, especially when I’m dealing with the consequences of her poor decisions, but I don’t hate her and I can’t hate her because she is part of my daughters.

        Liked by 1 person

                1. Ugh – meth makes heroin look like christmas candy cane. We don’t have much of it in the UK, but we had the legl highs until recently, and a couple of them did a good job of mimicking meth. There was a lot of destruction, and a lot of death.


                  1. Yes, the scary thing about meth is when people use it, they can get violent. At least with heroin, you’re oblivious to things that may tick you off. What’re legl highs?

                    Liked by 1 person

                    1. Revolting mixes of chemicals designed to make people high while getting around the drug laws. Each time one was banned, it would be minutely adjusted to make something even worse. A blanket ban was put on them this year, but for a couple of years they caused massive disruption in the UK. The police were overwhelmed with crazy crimes, and the death toll was high. Of the deaths that were recorded as having been heroin overdoses and suicide, many had their root cause in legal highs, paticularly one aptly called crystal. My daughter fell foul of it, and hasn’t been the same since. Her boyfriend died. It’s hard to find on the streets, but there are other, smokable ones around – cheaper than heroin or crack.


                    2. Ugh. I wonder if this is the same thing as “bath salts.” My mother told me about this. It was something that crept into my hometown in rural Wisconsin. I guess it makes meth look like nothing. Sad, scary things floating around nowadays.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    3. It’s shocking how many parents I meet who have known for two or three years or more that their son or daughter is an addict, but have not thought to find out the nature of addiction, or the effects of particular drugs. I tell them they should learn about the enemy.
                      A while ago I met a couple whose son was showing signs of a meth habit.(He lives in London, where meth is available) All they knew was that he was ‘taking drugs,’ and had been for some years. I felt terrible – it wasn’t for me to spell it out to them.I suggested several websites where they could learn about the various drugs, should they so wish.


  2. It is sad and a tragic waste of life, isn’t it? There’s a chap who hangs around the bus stops here, drinking horrible white cider, staggering, incomprehensible. What is the point? What use it to others or themselves?
    Somehow the rhyme scheme accentuates the message – the rhyme being playful, the message tough.
    Very strong, Jane

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This poem is a little unfair. I know how heroin works. Put smply, the brain sees it as a friend – we naturally produce something very similar. It convinces the addict that it’s more crucial than our three top means of survival – food, shelter and reproduction. It’s a mighty foe.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Wonderful. The capture the hopelessness and disappointment of their situation well. I used transcribe many interviews with drug misusers and their families and I felt so frustrated and sad listening to them. They have an awful life with addiction but it’s a selfish addiction, as is alcohol 😦

    Liked by 1 person

            1. He can’t – it was a prison thing. The main voice in the group was a young man who had run away from a care home at age 8, and lived on the streets. when he was picked up, aged 11 he was already a prostitute. He’s a monster in life, but an angel in group work. He helped Paul a lot.

              Liked by 1 person

                1. Poor guy probably just needed to be loved when he was a child, but I expect it’s too late now.
                  Paul thinks he’s quite happy in prison, and within the four walls of the therapy room he’s doing a lot of good. He wants to go into psychiatry or counselling when he leaves prison. Who knows? He may make it.

                  Liked by 1 person

                  1. There are some who, having spent many years incarcerated, cannot adjust or tolerate life on the outside. They sometimes deliberately re-offend so they can return to the safety of the world they know. Sad indictment of the way things can turn out in systems that are so dehumanised.

                    Liked by 1 person

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