Guess I’d forgotten the depth of low –
forgotten how far down I could go.
Winged creatures more sinister than simple butterflies
have made a home in my heart.
They’re boring holes and sending messages,
warning me to hide.
I know they want to eat me but I’ve run out of fight.
Even the urge to search for comfort
has flown.

I hold the phone a distance from my ear,
in the unfulfilled hope
that I won’t hear the voices talking, questioning, offering goodwill, comfort, meals, walks and company, company, company, then moving quickly on to what he said, she said, who did what and isn’t it interesting.

When you are drowning inside,
discussion is low on your list of priorities.

I say that I’m hungry.
This is true, but my mutterings about supper are just an excuse
to escape another one-way conversation.
Food is an dull complication to be dealt with later.

Good people, I love you. Please leave me alone,
or rather, don’t speak out loud.
Can’t you see that the groan which issues from my throat
is a strangled scream?
Please, please don’t reach out to me with sound.
I’m hoping that silence will keep the monsters under my rib-cage at bay.
If you have something to say, I would be grateful
if you’d just write it down.

Note for my friends: Don’t worry about me –  if I was still feeling this bad, I wouldn’t have managed to write the poem… such as it is.

©Jane Paterson Basil


22 thoughts on “Shhh…

  1. Something new going on? Actually I can totally identify with this poem. Sometimes your mind and heart just fill up and it’s like a watershed event. You just can’t hold anymore without destroying yourself. Well said, girlfriend…

    Liked by 1 person

        1. I’m grateful for that. When your son goes into recovery, it’s a huge relief, but it’s also scary since the stakes are raised… and then there are all the hurdles he has to jump – the reasons he became an addict in the first place, his not knowing where he belongs, the anger he always kept under control by using, his grief, his difficult relationship, his manipulative ways of which he isn’t even aware, his autism. Twice this week he’s found himself in potentially violent situations with people from his past. He comes to me every day, trailing his troubles. I feel traumatised and scared for him.


          1. I can’t imagine how fearful you must be. I think as mothers especially, we feel what they go through just as much if not more than the child. It’s the same for grandchildren. Once you choose to be a parent it never ends. That’s of course mostly a wonderful thing, but in some cases it causes suffering on both houses. Good luck to you both.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. I’ll do what I can, but my brother seems to have done something to my computer, and I can’t upload photos. That’s the second time he’s done it. I can’t remember how I sorted it out last time. I have to figure it out before Laura gets married…

              Liked by 1 person

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