Monthly Archives: December 2019

Cancelled

A winter sun warms baubles
which glint as they cling
to fingers of fragrant pine.
Thoughtful gifts lie neat
next to ripped paper.

Screaming sirens
are silenced by the peace
which sits fat on this traditional day.

Soon,
thrilled, sucrose-filled grandchildren
will demonstrate new electrical gimmicks and gismos.
We will feast while I stand firm with myself, refusing to overeat
so I don’t ruin the treat of evening cheese.
When the table is cleared, we’ll play silly games.
As dark deepens, children will play and over-eighteens
will take turns to choose music,
praising or abusing the chooser of each tune.
We will all be equal;
all equally insulting, with one
short-lived exception; there will be
a brief act of deference when Leonard Cohen
serenades me with a single song.
We’ll tell jokes, talk movies, tastes, politics,
hand-slapping when views concur,
mock-raging when we disagree.
The racket will rise; we will be
ever more raucous until we must shout
in order to be heard.
We are united in love.
We do not celebrate quietly.
You might mistake our solid core for a battlefield,
yet it is a haven of peace and safety.
We laugh while we yell, and our laughter
describes love.

It’s time
to cease musing and leave, time
to replay the untiring Christmas theme.
I reach for my coat.

The phone rings.
I lift it, and listen
while pained words
cancel Christmas.

©Jane Paterson Basil

Paper War

“There is a war between the rich and poor” (Quote from Leonard Cohen’s song “There is a War”

We fought a paper war
to save
our children from illiteracy,
our minorities from indignity,
our poor from the trap,
our innocent from attack,
our sick from relapse,
our planet from collapse.
We fought for equality and opportunity,
for compassion and fair shares of wealth.
We fought for clean earth and breathable air.
We were cheated, defeated.
Our paper war
was fought in vain.

Now X marks the spot
where millions
forgot how elitist the heart that beats
beneath a blue rosette;
forgot its traditions, forgot
its determination
to quench the flame that feeds families’ needs,
forgot it’s self-seeking greed.
I guess they got lost in the flurry of fog
that was blown from the lips of the blustering trickster
to cover his billowing, right-wing flag.

X marks the spot where millions
punched themselves in the gut
and shot our country in the foot.

We fought a paper war.
The ballot boxes spilled their weapons
and the count began.
So many X’s etched in the same place,
landing like angry kisses,
like sarcastic, soggy smacks
soaking my face.
The media blames Brexit,
which suggests our electorate waved aside
the higher stakes
and now it’s too late to explain.
We can only say we fought bravely,
but in vain.
.

©Jane Paterson Basil