Paper Pig

He ignores  my birthday,
waves away Mothering Sunday,
is always on the take,
but he gave me a pig; a frail paper pig
during his prison time.
Confined to solitary for an inside crime,
the man woke to find a lonely child —
the ghost of my son —
in his abandoned soul.
Engaging his flare for origami
he reshaped a pale scrap of waste,
wrote ‘Oink Oink’ on its flank,
and smuggled it past the screws
when I visited him in jail.
I snuck it through the creaking gates
which locked me back in freedom;
a gift of love from a lost one
to a searching mother.

He came home,
but I couldn’t find my child behind his eyes
and he was blinded by the habit
of hiding in his hooded life.

Since he skipped town for the city,
I’ve scrubbed away the filth,
scrapped the waste
he left scattered in his wake.
Thirty years of memories lie buried
in a crate beneath impediments
I save in case of rain,
yet the pig —
the paper pig he made for me —
the pig stands guard upon my shelf,
defending one last inch of who he might have been,
and hinting at the chance of change.
I lift him up and purse my lips
to blow the dust away,
and even though I banish hope
since hope might bring me pain,
with gentle hand I place the pig
back on the shelf again.


©Jane Paterson Basil

65 thoughts on “Paper Pig

  1. Oh Jane, such a heartfelt poem, I feel the pain so deep, with a slight touch of hope, your words had me in tears, trying to water down the fears…. I hope you are going ok. These are not quite applicable, but it’s a good song of hope.

    “The River”

    I will fight the spirit
    With a sword in my side
    She found a way out
    Crack my rib
    Wait to die
    I think I know you best when I sleep
    I think I know everything

    Me and my brothers
    We have tongues sharp as knives
    I found a way out
    Make a noise, close your eyes
    I think I talk to you best when I sing
    I sing about almost everything

    Oh god I need it
    So let me see again
    Take me to the river
    And let me see again
    Oh my god
    Let me see again
    Oh my god
    Let me see again
    Let me see again

    Grace taught her daughter
    Daily on
    God how I feel it
    Fed her pride to your feet
    I’m gonna leave you the first chance I get [4x]

    Oh god I need it
    I was wrong again
    Take me to the river
    And make me clean again
    Oh my god
    Make me clean again
    And oh my god
    Let me see again

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Those lyrics gave me goose-bumps, Ivor. I’m sorry I didn’t respond sooner; I’ve been in a void, playing hard at being happy. I haven’t had the energy at the end of each day to turn to my blog and be real. When I read posts, I find myself looking out of the window, thinking, and my heart aches for my son, but I’ll be OK. I’ll come back when I have the strength.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh dear Jane, do what you have to get yourself right, and my heart is feeling your heartache. Those void days are hard to combat, I’ve had plenty of them during my sickness. Look after yourself and keep well Jane ❤️❤️☺️🤗🤗

        Liked by 2 people

          1. Crude rude and angry, sounds great, you can email me, if you want my opinion before you post, but it’s up to you, if you’re comfortable with your words go ahead and post. 😂🤗🤗😏

            Liked by 2 people

            1. Comfort? Ha! I laugh in the face of danger! I’ll post and be damned! Who knows, maybe it’s not as bad as I think, but if it is, I expect I’ll be excused – that’s the great thing about being in trauma or grief, people make excuses for you 🙂 🙂 🙂 xxx

              Liked by 2 people

      1. What? You only fell in love today? But all those sweet nothings you whispered in my ear, months ago… are you telling me they really were nothing? Lies, lies, all lies. I lost my virtue to you! I’m a fallen woman. Who will want me now that you have besmirched me and I am heavy with chid, Paul – if your name is indeed Paul, of which I have my doubts. Oh, woe, woe and thrice woe, etc, etc.

        Bruce Springsteen’s lyrics from The River:

        We’d go down to the river
        And into the river we’d dive
        Oh down to the river we’d ride

        Make of that what you will.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Jane.

    which locked me back in freedom;
    a gift of love from a lost one
    to a searching mother.”

    Not laden with too many meanings, but about as engaging as anything like that. I wanted to pause there and just feel the searching.

    “the pig stands guard upon my shelf,
    defending one last inch of who he might have been,”

    Some of us humans can go a year and not express our feelings with such accurately focused power. The line after that is gold too.

    “I lift him up and purse my lips
    to blow the dust away,”

    What god did you steal from this time, Jane? Jeebers! You’re so good at stealing from the Wankers and their Heaven, that I’m beginning to think you’re one of their relatives. You and Hercules, eh? Same father, my dear? Isn’t it time you came clean about your parentage?

    My head sees so many perfections in those lines my ego wants to claim I’m looking in my mirror, the cheeky thing!

    If you think of poets as beverages, some poets are colas, some are milk, some are whisky, and so forth. You are water, Jane. The only beverage that is absolutely a necessity of life, and which all the others are based on.

    I just wish LIFE, the tragic fool, would treat you even half as well as you deserve for making it more beautiful.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Paul, you are my saviour. I just read the poem back and I saw quite a few flaws. Now your comments make me think that maybe they don’t matter.

      If life treated me well the words might desert me. I’d be limited to writing about my ideal life. My mansion would no longer be built of paper, sitting on shifting sands, but a glittering palace on a hilltop – with a clear view to the University where my youngest child might be studying law, and the mass of fertile land that my eldest might have purchased to convert into an out -of town shopping mall. Imagine the awful poetry that would inspire.

      These are the thoughts which I use to console myself: If I couldn’t write, who would I be? But the answers come thick and fast – an eco-warrior, a permaculture gardener, a tight-rope walker, an acrobat, a hermit, an artist, or a wizened witch living in the forest, feeding hungry travellers, handing out my limited wisdom to those who seek it.

      At conception, I was handed an unusually large pack of cards. Many of them were advantageous, but some were curses. I had many choices, and the intelligence to make the right ones. It was me who played the wrong cards and fucked up my life.

      On anther subject: I wonder if you know just how eloquent you are. Your talent lies in prose. you make such beautiful poetry out of it that your verse can’t compete. Every sentence that you write – whether in jest or sincerity, is practically orgasmic in quality. Some women are turned on by uniforms, others by acts of heroism or romantic gestures or whatever. Words do it for me.

      Excuse me, I have to take a cold shower.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. My dear Jean…um…Jane,

        I have absolutely no doubt that the overweening sensuous powers which you employ to so skillfully command our hearts and minds — command all of us who love your verse — are an impure gift of the gods. A gift made impure by the string they attached to it. Namely that you serve Vulcan as his eternal anvil. I have no doubt of that.

        But that does not mean your suffering is any the less tragic for it, any the less tragic or in any way made lighter for it.

        It only means we who love your verse must find ways of getting Vulcan to pound a wee bit bit harder now and then so that we may get more of you. Ever more and more of you.

        You’re welcome. No need to thank us for the warm, personal encouragement! After all, it’s Vulcan providing the real heat. No need to thank us in your audience at all, Jane!

        So glad to see you, by the way. No entirely certain now that the feeling is mutual.

        “It was me who played the wrong cards and fucked up my life.”

        Surely, there’s truth enough in that. But do you see there just as well the universal human tragic flaw? Is it not true, Jane, that we are the ape that foolishly grew clever enough to ever get itself into troubles and messes it is not clever enough to get itself out of? I think you’re wise to accept full responsibility for your fuck ups, but I think you should always keep your other eye just as fully open and awake to the universal tragedy of human nature, as you do the eye you’ve focused on yourself.

        “Excuse me, I have to take a cold shower.”

        Thank you so much, Jane. I have never in my life been so appallingly wounded as just now. A beautiful woman, beautiful of spirit and mind, beautiful of her humane graces – a woman I esteem and admire —

        — Has just now suggested a cold shower will nicely suffice as a substitute for my arms.

        When beautiful women stoop to break their lover’s backs, they do a damn good job of it, if you ask me. A damn good job!

        Your…um…insights are already this moment simmering in me — perhaps turning into something approaching a greater understanding of my talents and skills. Thank you for them!

        Liked by 1 person

          1. Keep writing poetry, and keep emailing me. That’s my – purely selfless – advice. Naturally I don’t care either way, but KEEP WRITING. KEEP EMAILING ME. Or else…

            Which do you get the most feedback from; poetry or prose?

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Always the poetry. It gets more readers and more feedback both. And it’s almost always the prose that I feel is my best work.

              *SOB* The Shallow, Indifferent World (Trademarked) fails to understand me! *SOB* Their cruel lack of comprehension, Jane — it’s all that stands between me and a public lynching most days.

              Liked by 1 person

                1. I know you do! You so show your appreciation to me I can bask in it. Folks around these parts think I’ve tanning in Florida the day after you’ve read my blog.

                  But it must be said, Shame on you for shaming yourself! Shame on you for that! Since when do I attach strings to things? I mean, besides the cord that has my dick stretched out an extra inch in all those photos I’ve been emailing you under the name of Studly Hotpeppers.

                  Liked by 1 person

                    1. That does it! That’s the last straw! You, my dear, shall never again be graced with pics of Studly’s manly wood. So there!

                      Of course, the same does not go for the other six guys I know for a fact have been emailing you perv picks under various names. I’m absolutely certain they are not going to pull out early.

                      Liked by 1 person

        1. Jean? JEAN? How come all the men in my life have exes called Jean? I can’t count the number of times I’ve been called Jean-I-mean-Jane! But I forgive you; only you – the others can rot in hell.

          Ok, I’ll admit it; I’m in love with Vulcan. He’s the only God I ever chose to share my life with (ahem, apart from you, naturally) and maybe it’s why the only man I wanted to share my life with happened to be someone whose birthday fell of the 23rd August, the day of the Vulcanalia annual festival, which I always celebrate by buying new underwear.

          You get to choose which parts of that statement are true. I’ll go along with your decision.

          You’re right about the cold shower. Come here, big boy.

          I’m off to find something angry, and possibly dirty, to post, though I don’t think it’s the right kind of dirty.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. I might be a little weird about channeling anger. The trick for me is to use it as motivation but not as something to inform or color my scribbles. That’s an observation, not a recommendation for you. I’d not dare tell you how to go about your arts. Except to say, you should probably ape me every chance you get.

            My angry poems I prefer to write cold. I have more control then over the precision of the incisions I enjoy infliction on my victims.

            Alas! The older I get, the less I enjoy the funner things in life, including castrating swine. Still ADORE women though. I still got that in me!

            Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Raili. I’m sorry I haven’t got back to you before now. This blog is where I communicate on the deepest level, and at the moment it hurts to much. You used the perfect word. My words are fragile because I am. I’m still writing a bit of poetry, but not posting it. As soon as it’s finished I have to return to my puzzles. The math doesn’t make it go away, but it dulls it. I’ll be OK. I will xxx

      Liked by 2 people

        1. Numbers are beautiful, like words. This may sound moronic, but I don’t see a huge amount of difference between the two. And, yeah, man, I dig logic too. It used to really piss the father of my two children off that I used logic in my arguments. I discovered that logic doesn’t get you anywhere with an abuser.

          Liked by 1 person

            1. God’s teeth! Gordon Bennett! Lord love a duck! I’ll go to the foot of my stairs! Stap me! Blimey O’Reilly!

              Here ends my list of inexplicable expressions of shock and surprise used here in the UK. Please don’t ask me for their origins. I haven’t a clue.

              Liked by 1 person

        1. I’m throwing myself into my work at Oxfam. Our shop has some problems and challenges. I’ve come to realise I know more about the business than anyone else there. I’m enjoying helping the new management sort things out, and it’s distracting me from my own troubles – and pretty much everything else in life, apart from my daughters and grandchildren.

          Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your support, Kate, it means a lot to me. Every day I feel a bit better. My charity work helps; I know a lot about both private retail and the charity sector, so I am immersing myself in the difficulties that our Oxfam shop is currently going through.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. I joined up 7 years ago because I wanted to help work towards everybody on the planet having their basic human rights – clean water being at the top of my list, but it’s proved to be good for me socially.

          Liked by 1 person

              1. one is with the Elders, traditional landowners … absolutely enjoy them and will do that as long as possible. One was at the regional art gallery but have resigned and only got one more shift. New one is community radio, just started so am still checking it out.

                Liked by 1 person

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