Monthly Archives: August 2017


Enamoured of the shallow glamour

……….of famous actors on the screen,

…..she answers an ad, eagerly agreeing

……………… attend an audition.

The address that she’s given looks inauspicous,

……….but ambition prevails over instinct.

…..The man with the camera says

………………..she has natural talent,

adding, with a sideways smile,

……….I’ll make you a star.”

…..With gnawing shame and a little persuasion —

………………..helped by a skinful of drink —

she wears what she’s given,

……….then takes a deep breath, 

… prepare herself

………………  for her first audition,

not seeing that it will lead to 

……….repeated sleazy agreements and rumpled sheets 

…..until her original ambition

……………..  .seems like an over-blown notion.

Unwilling, but hungry for riches and fame,

……….she suppresses all memories of helpful suggestions

…..and, malleable to his wishes, 

………………..she kneels.


A wisp of titian hair floats free,

to tickle his quivering knee.


©Jane Paterson Basil

Peace: remix

I searched for peace inside a hollow wall,
where laughing echoes twisted into cries
of agony and fear which wrung my soul —
they flung me down and stole my will to rise.

With shaking hand I wrote my name in blood
extracted from this pulsing heart of mine,
then slowly scribed my story on the wall
and as I wrote, the words turned into rhyme.

My messages on concrete changed to wine
which sweetened with each kindly, warm reply —
each friendly sentence penned in dappled hues,
that blotted out the dank of times gone by.

As moon will fade and sun will take its place,
you led me out of dark and showed me light,
you gave me strength and eased the searing ache,
and now, when demons rise, I stand and fight.

The original version of this poem was in blank verse; I posted it a few hours ago. They’re both written in iambic pentameter, but this one has a formal end-rhyme to it. It’s meant to be an improvement, but I’m not sure how well it works, so instead of editing my original poem, I decided to post this separately. I’d be grateful to know which you prefer. You can find the original HERE.

©Jane Paterson Basil

Peace: an exercise in blank verse

I searched for peace inside a hollow room,
where laughing echoes twisted into cries,
and there I curled, my hands wrapped round my head,
until I found the strength to stand again.

I took a pen and wrote my name in blood
extracted from the very heart of me,
then slowly scribed my story on the wall
and as I wrote, the words turned into rhyme.

My messages on concrete changed to wine,
a wine which sweetened daily as I read
the warm replies you penned in dappled hues
that blotted out the dirt of times gone by.

As moon will fade and sun will take its place,
you led me out of darkness into day,
you gave me strength and helped to ease the pain,
and now I fight the demons as they rise.

This is an exercise in blank verse – I couldn’t resist this anarchic take on the prompt. However, having completed it, I realise I don’t enjoy writing blank verse, apart from the fun of playing with iambic pentameter. 

©Jane Paterson Basil

Painted Nails


Bridal magazines


between ravening fingers.

Painted nails

scrape silk and lace.

Smiling sequined brides shine

beside spruce grooms.

Images describe bright colour schemes;

ribbons and roses

twisted into cunning, pink posies

pick out the chosen hues of the theme.

Six months to go,

and she’s eager to be

the apex of attention, and the envy of friends —

yet each time she sees her swain,

she swallows a sorry slug of doubt,

as, deep down, she knows

the  magnetic attraction

was born in the beat

and heated blood of a nightclub,

now passion has flown

and she’s empty of  love.


©Jane Paterson Basil

That Shrinking Feeling




She told me it would be dangerous to use my power lightly, but when I saw the insect just standing there in the park, I couldn’t resist shrinking so I could take a ride on the back of the fly. It was exciting, like the best fairground ride, but without the predictability. It was fun watching mum wondering where I was, and getting scared.


She can’t hear me. My vocal chords are too small, and although she’s frantically looking for me, I’m too tiny to see.

I wish I’d listened when she said I was not experienced enough to reverse the effect without her help.

“Mum! MUM!”

Mum, please come and set me free, before the spider reaches me.


Written for Michelle’s Photo Challenge #101. Click the link to join in.

©Jane Paterson Basil


The man who stole pens
didn’t smoke cigarettes, so he left folks’ lighters for others to steal.

The man who stole pens
had a huge collection of medication for all kinds of ills.
he’d rip off tools and anything loose, no matter how you may feel.

The man who stole pens
had a tuning fork that he’d picked up for free ninety nine.
His shed was filled with boxes of tools, all of them Asda priced.
He wrote lists and and reminders with a cheap,  shop-bought bic,
and the dust in his shed was piled thick .

The man who stole pens
was dignified; he was proud to be healthy and fit,
He had no use for medication, he just liked collecting it.
His body was hale and hearty;
it’s a pity his brain was so sick.

Rip off = steal
free ninety nine, Asda priced = stolen
half-inched (pinched – cockney rhyming slang) = stolen

©Jane Paterson Basil

A Flaw in the Design


This linear mind
with its instinctual limits,
feels fake and dysfunctional
in its unchangable ways.

This unchanging mind
fails to hold sway the sly wiles of the days, as
chained by ingrained constraints,
I play compliancy like an ailing pro,
whilst, as if unfazed, my vague rebel
makes the hollows rhyme.

This rebellious mind
is a flaw in my design;
daily, my core tries to rise out of hiding,
but cannot fight my innate nature —
I make it wait while I finish writing,
and every night I pity its failure.

This failing mind
inhabits an unfathomable place;
writing fast-forwards my false-steps in life,
raising me, making me fly,
even as I nip my fantasies away.

I cannot restrain my flame-shy right to hide
from the strangeness of the fire-bait day,
so I write, write,

©Jane Paterson Basil

Rising #A palindromic poem


becomes all.
Disappear now. Dissipate
whirling dervishes of memory,
drooling demons, teeth-gnashing ogres,
scaly dragons of dread dark.

Grey and gloomy shadows are banished.
Fade, wriggling and slithering nightmares all.
Awakening morning kindles sun.

Light of dawn approaches, silently
silently approaches dawn of light.

Sun kindles morning awakening.
All nightmares, slithering and wriggling, fade.
Banished are shadows, gloomy and grey.

Dark dread of dragons scaly,
Ogres, gnashing teeth, demons, drooling,
memory of dervishes, whirling;
dissipate now; disappear.
All becomes


Note: Palindromic poetry is not true palindrome – the requirement is for the words of the poem to read the same backwards as forwards; not the letters. The pivotal word of this poem is rising – written in italics.

©Jane Paterson Basil