Stiff Upper Lip


This is your conscience speaking;

I know you feel
like flaying the next-door fiend,
leaving her festering in a smelly heap, to the applause
of almost every tenant on these three floors,

and you fantasise
about an unacceptable, inconceivable set-up with the bed-eyed,
dread-locked sex god you’re forever ogling
in the second-hand shop.

I realise you recently considered
ripping off your jeans and summer vest in the hey-day high street,
screaming “ I hear you knocking but you can’t come in”,
then running away, giggling.

and you are tempted
to tell that frosty screw what her silly victim –
her lily-livered excuse for a libertine loser – plotted to do
to you when she was at bingo, sandwiching his confused pseudo-love
between the pages of a detailed medical dictionary, as if
each irritating phrase was a ribbon-wrapped gift, every
trumped-up twitch and flickering heart beat a treat;
and yet he knew you didn’t want to swim
in anyone’s swan song, let alone
sink through his forlorn
funeral tune.

I understand
that – until you did it – you might think it funny
to cut off your extremities and wiggle your stumps,
singing “Look, no hands,
and no feet, either”,

and you have been dying
to tip your wardrobe through the window, crying, “look – it can fly”,
wait for the smashing crash to attract the neighbours’ attention,
then yell, “and so can I”,
and try.

It’s true that their lives are dull,
and it would give those old folks a thrill
to see your blood churning the earth into rusty mud
to feed the geriatric rose bushes,
but don’t.

is your conscience speaking, old bean;
don’t do any of the above – let us not forget
one is British; such activities are simply not cricket.
Extend your stiff upper lip; use it
to lift a kettle, then settle down
with a nice cup of tea.


©Jane Paterson Basil

37 thoughts on “Stiff Upper Lip

            1. Sounds like a good combination. Around here, the hippies acted like they despised the surfers. I think they were jealous because they were too stoned to get up off their butts and have some real fun.


                    1. I hope you vote – if you don’t like the other parties, a Green vote is the best bet.
                      I’m a pain in the butt where politics are concerned…. You can tell me to shut up if you like 🙂 xx


                    2. It’s really got to you, hasn’t it… We’ve got that Trumped up dung-heap visiting our country at the moment. I’m trying not to think about it, so I don’t start spitting poison all over my laptop 😦

                      Liked by 1 person

    1. Isn’t that the truth! I was the first on the scene after my aunt woke up to find my uncle dead, way back when I was about 18. It was a crazy day. By the end it I felt like I had gallons of tea sloshing about inside me 🙂


      1. I understand that All persons handle stress, life in so many different ways, but, really, truly, if one just takes a moment out of their situation, gain some perspective, take a breath, the world would be better for it. (@–>–)

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Oh, yes, my first book… it’s around here somewhere… where DID I leave it… ah! here it is. the front cover says “My First Book, by Jane Basil”. There’s nothing inside it! Oh, well, at least I can amend the title 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

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