Monthly Archives: November 2018

Mortal

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When I was four feet tall
I believed I was immortal;

that knives
could not scar me

oceans
not drown me

mistakes
not taint me

evil
not weaken me

age
not change me

pain
not
break me

and that strength
would never fail me.

I was confident I would shape
a sensational destiny.

Yet I am mortal after all.
No ogres quake at the sight of my face,
no lame man walked.
no blind man saw.
no orphans were fed,
peace was not restored.
I was somewhere else,
someone less;
not the giant
of my idle fantasy,
only a wind-blown flake, adept
at making a mess.

I do not scream
or beat my breast
yet I bleed.

Ignominiously,
I bleed.

I scrub at the seepage
but it will not come clean,
leaving an indelible stain
for posterity.

In recompense,
the forgiving flowers of my womb
grow over my stain,
creating a fertile garden
with fresh running streams.

They illustrate
that my bungled life
has not been
a waste.

Although this poem doesn’t contain to the wordSequester‘, it was inspired by today’s Word of the Day Challenge. I was going to give it the title ‘Sequestered in Fantasy’, since that is a good description for the way I was as a child. However, that title doesn’t suit the poem.

©Jane Paterson Basil

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His Legacy

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As I sleep
I take a broom and sweep the filth
that fills the corners of the room,
removing gluey cobwebs,
strands as strong as button thread
are thick with muck and dust and flies
built up from when I left,
untouched until the day he died.
They wrap around the scrubby brush
in clumps like demon candy-floss.

A single tug is all I need to strip away
the evil blackness from the aged ceiling.
The room is clean, but far from being satisfied,
I feel the weight of dirt that clings.
It sticks to skin and fills my soul with rage,
and as I face the horrid truth
that he has not been exhorcised,
he steps into the room and speaks to me
as if I saw him yesterday and we were friends.

He passes by while I escape outside
to tell my family I have seen a solid spectre
of the man who took his final breath
ten months ago.
They laugh at me and say
there’s no such thing as ghosts.

When I wake I see my son
and listlessly devine the tale behind my dream:
his father left a legacy.

Word of the Day Challenge: Listless

©Jane Paterson Basil

Return of the Wall

Black and white stripes
paint equine shapes across my laptop screen,
striking me with an urgency
to escape across the seas
until I reach the African Plains
to find the zebras in the wild,
but how can I when my mind
has me trapped
within this concrete space?

There is no bread.
The only cereal is oats.
Vegetables and protein
are also in short supply.
Yesterday’s rain washed the sky
to a mild baby blue, sharpening the lines
of the shedding trees.
Autumn leaves carpet the grass,
aping the loud floor
of a 1970s living room in suburbia.
The sun looks welcoming,
yet when I consider going outside,
I know my way is barred.

I bought the oats months ago
thinking to make flapjacks.
I don’t like porridge,
but tomorrow,
it might have to do.

Meanwhile I write,
uninspired,
terrified,
by from the wall
that builds between me and outside.

©Jane Paterson Basil