My brave mother


victim of one unloving author
and then another and yet more
she struggled to write her own story
a helpless child weeping to see
the opening chapters scribbled so carelessly
by those who, unwilling to love her
designed a slim volume of respectability

she felt a need to dance
but dancing wasn’t decent
for an unwanted lady of her station
she wanted to sing her way
into unstammering freedom of speech
but a callous killjoy held the reins
and kept her dreams far out of reach
until she turned sixteen
and walked away

too late to dance like Margot Fonteyn
she practiced her steps, her pirouettes
through the day, late into the night
until her legs ached, her feet bled
yet on she danced, right onto the stage
winning the right to live her life
doing the thing she loved the best

my brave mother, slim and lithe
began too old to win the race
but she proved herself
passed the test that she had set
through seasons she danced in Swan Lake
and though unrestrainable time
took her ballet shoes away
she remained graceful
until the day she died

The Daily Post #Graceful

©Jane Paterson Basil

26 thoughts on “My brave mother

    1. No, but it pains me to think how much my mum was held back by not being allowed to dance – or have her voice trained. She had a stammer, and singing could have helped her. Instead she was treated as if she was mentally deficient.

      Liked by 1 person

            1. That harsh truth hit me between the eyes. I forget so easily that life can be that way. So many people who never have the chance to reach their full potential, while others throw it away. So sad.
              Yet she was a success; you blossomed from her. She passed opportunities to you, and you fulfilled them..

              Liked by 1 person

    1. No – I don’t have any photos of her dancing – nothing at all from before she married my father (a photographer) aged 29, apart from one of her mother holding her and her twin sister when they were babies, and one of the twins when they were in their teens. Very sad.


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