Monthly Archives: April 2018

Serving my Time

My childless friends said eighteen years
was steep for such a crime,
while I grinned back and said the tears
were few, and that my time
would pass too quickly; all too fast
my son would reach my height
and days of needing me would pass –
I wish that I’d been right.

I nursed him through the broken nights
and through his growing days.
I taught him all the wrongs and rights,
and cherished all his ways.
I slavered salve on every pain
of body and of mind;
so many cures that have no name
a mother seeks to find.

And now those years are past and gone,
and a lesson I have learned –
my jesting friends were all quite wrong,
where my child was concerned;
Those eighteen years were just the start –
the nurturing and tears –
they added muscle to my heart,
and strength to fight my fears.

My thirty-year old son has grown
but still he is a child.
He’s lost, confused and all alone,
his inner core defiled,
so now I find my mother’s role
has only just begun;
I’ll work with body, mind and soul,
until success is won.

One day he’ll stand up brave and tall,
his wants and needs aligned;
he will not falter, trip or fall,
his future redesigned.
He’ll come to me with his own plan
and lay it on the floor,
drawn up by his manly hands,
how could I ask for more?


OK, so the poem is a bit cheesy, but it’s sincere…

©Jane Paterson Basil

Wedding Photos

For those who wanted to see some official photograph of my daughter’s wedding:


The welcome
Oh no! she’s signing something
Yay! We did it!
It’s raining hearts
The look of love


Laura’s halo seems to have slipped…
Goodnight from the happy family

©Jane Paterson Basil

Hidden by the Night



We slunk down dusky lanes,
meeting in the Churchyard whose cold residents
were compelled to hold their tongues;
we motored along dusty back-roads to country pubs where
our names were unknown.

When the rain fell, or the air was cold,
we huddled in the front seats of your old A30,
our furtive romance unfolding once daylight was done.

In summer, we walked forgotten trails,
brambles catching at our clothes, making us bleed.
Under cover of the trees, you held me close.
The stinging cuts and the blood that clung to my jeans
pleased me; later, when I was alone,
longing for your presence to feed me, those scrapes
were a sweet message in code
that bragged of our secret romance.

Hidden by the night
our first kisses were careful, describing shy hope, punctuated
with question marks, and when quiet lips eagerly replied,
confidence rose,
our hearts taking flight with each feathery touch,
yet all the while we were sunk
in bottomless fathoms of love –
love which stays young to this day,
even as I grow old.

Though we are separated by time and space,
a parallel vision adds grace my days.
Now and forever, in my mind,
the shadows of the night are erased
as we walk hand-in-hand, a straight path guiding us
through a daisy-speckled meadow.
The sky is as blue as your Germanic eyes,
and the sun
on your face.


©Jane Paterson Basil

One Humble Limb


Might I suggest that this planet
is a single organism.
Trees and all manner of green things
are its organs, and we are its limbs, broken
over time by a parasitic aspect which seeped
through our skin, expanding
with each generation.

No doubt, so called lesser creatures
each have their place. Most step lightly, while
we complex beings employ our grasping brains to crack
and defile the soil, even as it feeds us; to destroy
the organs that supply the air we breathe;
to hate and kill our sibling limbs.

Without prejudice,
we torture our own bodies,
absorbing all manner of toxins
to satisfy our appetites and greed,
forever finding new ways to endanger
our health and this abundant earth’s
very survival.

We misread our purpose,
and even when we discern a glimmer
of sense, we appear hard-wired
to continue the cycle.

Hampered by weakness,  I try
to live a better way, often failing,
always knowing my insignificance in the scheme.
Yet if I die having admitted into my heart
genuine love and compassion
toward all members of each race and every creed,
no matter how our views might disagree,
my life will have been worthwhile.

Having ceased to be a parasite,
perhaps I’ll be satisfied.

What would be your answer to the question  in exercise 18 of Calen’s Sandbox Writing Challenge


If you could foresee one accomplishment in your future, what would you like it to be?

©Jane Paterson Basil

The Man who Wanted to Save the World


A seething gang of teens surrounds him,
mocking, calling him names,
Stealing his concentration,
but he will not be defeated; he’s here
to save the world.

Catcalls, insults and derision
almost overwhelm the voices in his head.
He will not listen; they are sent
to deflect him from his divine duty
to save the world.

He strains to hear the angel’s voice,
but the rudeness intrudes,
diluting essential information –
instructions which he is convinced
will save the world.

A Sainsburys receipt floats past his feet,
its jumbled numbers will reveal
a secret code for him alone,
he who was selected by the highest deity
to save the world.

As the youths close in, he strikes out,
screaming, spittle flying from his mouth,
splattering an angry face. Someone cries out
“He’s just a crazy crank, a tramp. Nobody will care.
Let’s have him, lads.”

A slip of paper escapes from a slack hand
to land in a spreading pool of blood. Absorbing the gore,
its empty message blurs as tears forget to fall
for the man who failed
to save the world.

Image supplied by Pixabay.

©Jane Paterson Basil

How to Keep a Fire Alight


A few years ago, my niece and I spent a summer season working as wardens at a holiday campsite. Unbeknownst to the owner of the campsite who employed us, we were both useless at lighting fires. We had to become experts pretty quickly, as we relied on our campfire for our meals and hot drinks, and we often had to light our guests’ fires for them. In no time at all I could throw a few sticks together any old how, strike a match, and get a roaring fire going with very little effort.

I already knew that in order for a fire to ignite, fuel, oxygen and heat are required, but I learnt something new that summer – in order to ensure the fire succeeds, there is a fourth, labour-saving ingredient you can use:

utter faith in the ability of the flame to spread.



A Glimmer of Hope

When it arrived
it was no bigger than a fly;
a tiny hope like so many before
which had briefly glowed,
only to stutter and die.

Previously, I’d tried
to make the flickering fire grow,
mothering her, smothering her with my need
to steal her from the hellish end
that looked like her destiny

This time
trust walked by my side.
Believing she had the strength and desire
to heal herself, I breathed this certainty,
and she inhaled my faith.

 A glimmer of hope
radiated to become a shining light
which obliterated all darkness,
making her whole.





©Jane Paterson Basil

My Cup Runneth Over

In a quiet village not far from here, a modest church waits expectantly, its ancient stones imbibed with the breath of those who went before, grooms who faced the alter, bravely restraining an urge to pace the floor, brides who carefully swept down the aisle, eyes shining as a shy smile landed like a kiss on the groom’s lips.

Today, the church is again filled with fragrant flowers, in preparation for the joining of another two lovers in joyful matrimony

Never have I attended a ceremony so infused with excitement, and I –  I am the mother of the bride – the slightly eccentric mother of the miraculous bride. I feel my smile widening as I greet the other guests. I am at my best today, carrying myself with something akin to dignity. I won’t be climbing trees in this dress. For once it will be easy to resist the urge to walk along the top of the church wall.

A woman stands behind a window at the front of a house, watching us in all our finery. I turn towards her, and am treated to an enthusiastic wave. I grin and wave back.

I want to call out “Just wait until you see the bride. You have a real treat coming.”

I want to tell her how important this wedding is.

The air fills with fresh possibilities as my family is finally re-united by the love tha Laura and Dave have for each other.

The bells ring to call in the guests. I enter the church sit down at the front, happy that this event will be witnessed by those I love the most. I’m trying to send a psychic message to Dave, the groom, to calm him, but my mind is too focused on the door, knowing it is almost time. The bells stop ringing. The moment has come.

The chatter subsides as we all stand to await the bride.
The door opens, and she arrives.
Stepping down the aisle, she takes her place beside the groom.

This is my amazing daughter, no longer my poor unhappy baby, my confused child, my damaged teenager, my dying young woman. This is my extraordinary Laura, grown into herself, finally healed, walking gracefully into her future.

The ceremony is beautiful.

At the reception, everyone is infected by Laura’s sparkly euphoria. We are all thrilled that Laura and Dave are married.

While Laura and Dave perform the ritual of cutting the cake,  I prepare to divide it into slices. Since I decorated it, it seems only fair that I should be the one to destroy it…

Mr and Mrs Galliford are currently in Cornwall, at the start of their honeymoon tour of the UK. They were going to travel around Europe, but they changed their minds. There’s so much variety in this country, and Laura hasn’t seen enough of She sent me a photo of her lying on a lounger – sunbathing!


I guess she’s got her love to keep her warm.


Enjoy your honeymoon, Laura – and the rest of your life. Your courage and strength has paid off. I’m proud of you, and grateful to Dave, for all the support he has given.


I love you, Laura.


With enormous thanks to all my online friends who helped to make this possible, by praying for, and sending positive thoughts to Laura and I. Your messages of support picked Laura up when she was at her lowest, encouraging her, making her feel nurtured, and helping her to  believe that she could change her life. You also restored my faith in her, giving me the strength to do the things which needed to be done. These are no small acts, since you kick-started the miracle. Without you, I don’t believe she would be where she is today. I doubt that she would even be alive.

Does anybody have a tissue…?


©Jane Paterson Basil


circle of sand


The sandy circle has me in a trap,
encompassing endless expectations
which I must fulfil.
I hide the weariness
that acts of love may bring;
the generosity that oft-times
binds me to silent  misery.
Familial responsibility
is my prison,
and yet,
should an angry tide
wash away the gritty line,
though life would be simplified,
I would be bereft.


Written for The Sandbox Challenge 2012 – Exercise 12


©Jane Paterson Basil



Commitments and decisions
swirl in a simmering curry of confusion.
Bubbles pop, spices sting the eyes.
Exhaustion blurs the colours
into sludge, sprinkled
with thrilling spots of glitter.
I dare not explore the flavours
or add the smallest a dash of doubt;
it is my duty
simply to cook each course to perfection,
not ignoring a single side-dish.

©Jane Paterson Basil