Being There


It is a collage this week. Writers will connect to it easily.


So, let the fingers align to imagination, and bang on the keyboard. The format can be a a story/poem/rant/anecdotes/journalistic coverage of events/ reflections as usual.
Pour out, and let it flow ….

Flipping in long grass,
skipping, leap-frogging, cartwheeling over stiles,
feet so fleet it feels like flying,
flopping to sit cross-legged on fragrant nature’s floor.
Grass stained shorts. Grubby fingernails
cut careful slits through slim daisy stems.
Threading, making chains to dangle from supple neck.
Carefree sunshine and family love.

Once, this was me.

Breasts swelling, bursting
from a shock-horror bra, hips curving,
and worse, a monthly sticky thing that hurts,
which Grandma calls the curse.
Father stealing small licks to assuage the tip
of his hunger.
Mother loving, supporting
this poor little changeling.

Feeling dirty. filthy images of hot flesh slapping,
moist organs fitting,
slipping wetly together. Precocious hormones
that battle against desire,
hermaphrodite side crying “Let me
be a child”,
yet all the while learning the wanton game.

A teen with a siren’s face,
miming like a pro. Anything goes,
as long as it excludes loosening her clothes.
No sense of danger, blindly embracing
masked neighbour that ambles her way.

Rape and beatings, beatings and rape.
burst head, bleeding flesh, blurred vision,
cigarette burns, fractured limbs, bruises
that cannot be hidden. Torn wings
of a butterfly, entrenched in threats
that he may fulfil.
“I will kill”, he says.
“I will
your family,
I will kill them if you hide from me.”

Weeping admission. Gentle assistance.
A groggy leap from the sizzling grill, only to slip
into spinning with trolls, a racy dance of ring-a-ring-o’-roses,
taking risks to prove she’s ahead of the game,
trying to hide her confusion and pain,
all of it fake, played out in vain.

Atishoo, atishoo,
she’s falling again.

Learning to stand,
wooing and wedding a kindly man,
only to fling him away.
To add to mistakes and shame,
the new man she catches, rapes her brain.
Years of fighting to gain control,
while the monster hints that she’s going insane
tripping and falling and failing again. Flailing.

An ill-planned, yet helpful escape.

Too late, she examines the damage.
Trailing her feet along a rough cloister, wrought
from life’s ill-conceived choices.
To the right, bright window panes reveal smiling faces.
Hands wave. She stretches her arms,
but can’t reach.
To her left, dust, rubble, crumbling walls.
Jagged scraps from her womb bear witness to her weakness, grimacing
as they juggle with jesters and thieves,
screeching to be healed.

A mouth opens.
A silent scream struggles out, to ricochet
off the ceiling. She swallows it in one.
It crushes her lungs.

“Please let me breathe.”

Rising up. Her children will not
be defeated by their demons.
Whatever it takes.

Whatever it takes…

This, too, was me.

A lone woman,
wizened by a boxed-up heap of experience,
sits in a high backed chair,
watching trees. The leaves expand into a screen
which conceals iniquity.
From her position, she can see
a clean horizon, distant meadows, whirling angels
that create sustainable energy, life-giving earth,
acres of sky.
Sometimes it rains,
but the sun soon breaks through.
When tears threaten, she strokes the jagged splits
that ripped deep through her skin, and feels
smooth silver strings weld and heal.
She is satisfied.
At night, she catches her reflection in the glass.
The allure that shaped her darker days
has faded with age.
Now, she is beautiful.

This woman is me.


Any life which stretches to reasonable longevity is like a massive chunk of quartz, cut from rock. Depending on the angle and brightness of the light, and on where you are standing, different facets can are visible. Also, the viewer approaches the quartz with his own pre-conceptions, interests and focus to detail. Furthermore, our aspects can change over time – even in the blink of an eye. This is one story of my life,  but – apart from the closing stanza – I displayed it from the dark side of the moon. I have many happy memories.

… an afterthought; reading through this longwinded poem, I learnt a horrifying new fact about my past – a detail that was staring me in the face, and yet I didn’t see it. While it won’t harm my emotions too much, I don’t think I’m ready to talk about it, but I mention it because, even viewed through the muddiest of lights, its still possible to spot new facets

Thanks go to Reena, for the inspiration.
©Jane Paterson

58 thoughts on “Being There

    1. Once, when I was trapped in that terrifying “relationship” with the violent sadist, we were standing at the top of a flight of stairs. He punched me in the stomach, and I felt myself falling. My only thought was “Good. I’m going to die. He’ll go to jail and won’t be able to do this to anybody else.” I was only seventeen. I came round at the bottom of the stairs, bruised and bloody.
      I’m glad I survived. Life is good.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. I’m happy you survived.. Yes , life is good, the battle can be tough, but there’s pleasures to be had with the dawn of every new day, hehe, some days are betterer than others. xx

        Liked by 1 person

            1. That’s EXACTLY the thought that has been going through my head. There are two ways of dealing with suffering. The first is to wail Why me, why, why, why? The second is to struggle through as best you can and make the most of the good things. Eventually you realise that you are the sum of your life experiences – good and bad, and you’re loved for who you are. And you know that you’re WORTHY of that love.

              It took me a long time to love myself… xx

              Liked by 2 people

                  1. I’m trying to get more determined, my exercise and walking program has dropped off, hopefully I’m turning the corner. 😊 A bit of anxiety and depression lately, but I’m battling ok. 😊 Xx

                    Liked by 1 person

                    1. Stay strong, Ivor. What you need is a laughter workshop. They’re hilarious and they teach you how to stay uplifted – although the laughter can leave you aching for a couple of days 🙂 xx


                    2. I went ot one years ago, and they gave us all an exercise to do every day at home: we had to stand in front of a mirror and start laughing 😀 😀 It feels ridiculous, and at first, the laughter is fake, but after a minute or so it becomes real. Maybe I should take that up again. As I live alone, there’s nobody to look at me like I’m crazy – apart from my pet vulture, that is.
                      He’s an elderly stuffed toy with a bad temper 🙂

                      Liked by 1 person

                    3. He read that, and he’s not amused. I’ll never hear the last of it. They say that vultures never kill anything. From the look in his eyes, I’m not so sure…. QUICK! Ring the emergency services and send the cops round to my address. It’s 35 Medar….. aargh……………. HELP……………………

                      😀 😀 xx


                    4. I’m honoured Queen Jane, to be your humble humour servant, My weapon’s are at your disposal, feel free to use them any time. I’ve also in my saddle bag, available for your pleasure, Cupids arrows, and Cleopatra’s love potions xx

                      Liked by 1 person

                    5. I’ll, um, stick with the giggle guns, thank you. The only lasting good thing romance ever did for me was to give me four children, and these days I’m way past procreation – thank goodness… xx


  1. Jane, the imagery gave me goosebumps. Being there, but how? Hats off to your courage! Hope you learnt martial arts after that.

    The part about letting it flow through poetry and then discovering a hidden aspect is touching. Writing is not only cathartic, but exploratory.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha!I was the girl who got into scraps with older boys at school, and won. Nobody dared cross me, but that guy was renowned for his strength and speed. His previous girlfriend (once she’d been discharged from hospital) was sent to live in a safe place 200 miles away.

      Writing has taught me a lot about myself and those I grew up with. I’ve rooted out the hidden events and glaring truths which have given me an understanding of what shaped me. Some people pay a fortune in counselling to get where my writing has taken me.

      Liked by 1 person

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