Did you Drop?

We are like innumerable leaves
fluttering in a rainforest,
often lost to all but our neighbours.
Some cling long past withering winter, while others
fail, dropping even as the chlorophyll
sings green songs in our veins.

Billions of humans dance and strain
to build a future or live another day.
As we struggle and sleep through life’s jumbled melee,
some of our intimates and compadres go astray.
Acquaintances lurk in old dairies whose pages are never turned.
We could have been friends, but  we pass them on the street,
uncertain –
unsure if a discreet smile
would be welcomed or shunned.

A single click, and your blog filled my screen.
Over the weeks, you tore screaming secrets
from your cavern of shame,
displayed them across a page stained
with typos and spelling mistakes, writing like
you were running out of time.

You’d promised the women in prison that if you were bailed, you would tell their tale; shout the truth about prison conditions, to try to improve them; the blog was the only way you knew.

I read your story, wore your mess
like a faded vest you’d courageously thrown off
to stand naked, displaying ill-chosen,
amateurishly inked tattoos,
because it was the right thing to do.

My pained flesh swelled
through the tattered shreds of your history.
You could say I felt pity
for an existence so splintered by addiction that you risked
losing your children, your freedom
and maybe your life,
but I call it

I liked you.

Avidly, I followed your blog, commenting on every post, offering emotional support and words of comfort. I don’t expect you knew how much I meant it.

You said that when you pressed the trigger, you didn’t intend to send the bullet through the bedroom wall. It was the accident of an agonised mind, suffering the struggle between another breath and final silence. I believe you.

For a few weeks, three years ago,
you wrote feverishly, but
the posts ceased.


I haven’t forgotten you.

If you are a leaf,
did you drop?

You matter to me.

Did you


I hope not, but I may never know.


©Jane Paterson Basil

10 thoughts on “Did you Drop?

  1. I’m sitting here reading your poem and listening to Leonard Cohen and co-incidentally, “Treaty” is playing and these words are ringing in my ears.
    “I heard the snake was baffled by his sin
    He shed his scales to find the snake within
    But born again is born without a skin
    The poison enters into everything

    And I wish there was a treaty we could sign
    I do not care who takes this bloody hill”

    And I’m thinking the thoughts and compassion of your words and were in a similar vein, but then again I could be wrong. Oh humbug Jane, I think I’m stuck for words, trying to express how wonderful your poem is, your piece is intriguing and structured superbly, and I’m touched by your compassion, and you’ve left me with that unanswered question, “Did You Drop”……….

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you Ivor. Those lyrics are amazing, and so appropriate. I’m sure the woman who inspired my poem would relate to them. Her story was tragic; she was an alcoholic who was jailed after accidentally endangering her children when she was suicidal. The prison was harsh, but inmates befriended her. She must have got a good lawyer; she was let out on bail. When she stopped posting, I feared the worst, but maybe it ended well…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I echo Ivor’s sentiments. He’s said it all. I, too, have a few bloggers who hav dropped out of sight. At least one seemed to go from a suicidal state to and upswing where she was looking forward to the rest of her life. I think other bloggers can be of comfort…as you were, I’m sure, to this woman. Perhaps she’ll see this and you’ll have your answer. xo J

    Liked by 3 people

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