Monthly Archives: August 2017


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



The brain
in all its intricacy —
with its loops and channels;
its constant relaying of information;
its complex knowledge of all our mechanics,
its well designed, microcosmic boxes
where twiddly bits fit —
has not yet figured a way
to assess and segregate
abject terror from happy surprise.

My heart’s palpitating, my fingers are shaking
sharp claws in my gut are gesticulating.
Electric shocks are making me twitch;
my body is saying my brain is a bitch.

I should be dancing or lustily singing,
but my skin is itching, my ears are ringing.
I should be enjoying a thrilling day,
but all of my energy’s slunk away.

Nevertheless I will share my good news –
my daughter’s recovering, my son is too.
I am as happy as I can be
that my lost babies have come back to me.

My brain,
believing me to be in danger
has given me a toxic dose of adrenaline,
to help me to fight or to flee.

In helpless panic, I lurch
between these two inapt acts,
unable to break away.

©Jane Paterson Basil

I’m Alright

“I’m alright,
I’m alright, I’m alright,”
that tired mantra frequently uttered, repeated
until with sham faith, I’d stumble to my feet and act out life.

“I’m alright,
I’m alright, I’m alright.”
Recited each time my children tripped and I tumbled,
and, while I was not alright, yet the repetition
brought fumbling relief to the thundering danger and fear,
easing the hellish days and nights,
those weeks and years when the jealous witch of addiction
jigged a street-dumb death-wish into my drug-juggling offspring.

“I’m alright,
I’m alright,” I’d recite.
They didn’t die, and I have kept my sanity
in a wild variety of ways; oft in anger, raging, shaking,
weeping tears of horror, grief and fear of loss,
yet sometimes waiting patiently,
for my children to come back to me.

Now I can say it candidly,
I’m alright.


It’s been an emotional evening. My recovering daughter was here on a flying visit, dropping off some fabric for me to make into curtains for her. My son hasn’t come looking for me for almost two months, but – purely by chance – he showed up during the hour or so that Laura was with me. I wouldn’t have risked letting him in if she hadn’t been present.

I’m glad I did…

©Jane Paterson Basil

Here’s a fun one

The Daily Post’s word prompt for today is RECITE. It’s a good word which inspired a poem using anagrams.

(With) ice
I erect Eire
Ere I tire,
I retire.

Done. Now onto the important business of the day, which is:


What kind of quiz are you?

Yes, I’ve found another personality test, but this one doesn’t take itself seriously. It told me nice things about myself, and I suspect it will do the same for you. It’s refreshingly light and humorous, so I don’t have to be.

It told me:

For you, life is carefree! You manage stress well. Also, you like it when things are laid out for you and you can choose which one is best. Rather than always knowing the answer, your strength is figuring out what the best answer is from the options. Sometimes, your friends and family aren’t exactly sure where you’re going, but you know that, whatever the future brings, you’ll handle it with ease. Best pet: Goldfish. No, vulture. Wait, piranha. Hold on a minute… Best home: An RV with at least two entrances and plenty of gas.

See? It’s fun, although it’s not entirely accurate (I don’t like fish), it’s halfway there, since I’m quite keen on vultures.

For those of you who feel like spending the next  five minutes of your life smiling, here’s the test.

Now I’ll write a sensible  poem….


I won’t link this post to the word prompt 😉

©Jane Paterson Basil

Character Flaws


The secret with character flaws is to broadcast them
………………before they’ve been noticed.
……………………………That way,.folks will consider you
…………………………………………..quirky and adorable,
………………………whereas if they discovered them by chance
….they may think you fake and deceitful.

©Jane Paterson Basil