its bitter wrap of ice-flinted snow
of sunny seasons,
clenching my gut.
with uneven heat.
was feeble, thin;
a hand-spun fishing line, plucked
from the gleam of halcyon days;
it frayed and broke,
frayed and broke, to be knotted
again and again;
my fumbling fingers fighting in vain
to cease their trembling shake.
In the end,
felt safer, less painful, yet when it came,
as events remained uncelebrated and months
ate me away.
Sometimes, change is sudden:
as if on a whim, the world spun,
whipping up a conglomeration of fear and isolation,
an unheeding pandemic of sickness and death, yet
was the gift this year brought me;
banishment hit him,
helped him to battle his searing addiction;
his demons had scarred him
but now they were bleeding, while
I could see they still ached, but
Reunited with my child,
with pride and relief I can see
he carries the family genes:
the blood of the Phoenix
through his veins.
©Jane Paterson Basil
Over the past few months, I’ve found it difficult to write. I put this down to the fact that my soul is less tortured. So, last Friday I began a poetry course which was offered by our County Council as part of a mindfulness programme, to help people through the difficulties of Covid, so it wasn’t really designed for poets. However, I thought it would be useful as a kind of refresher. The above poem is the fruit of my first session’s labours. I hope you like it x
Nobody told me
no-one explained; it seems
at each road you pay a toll.
Where crossroad meet,
signposts scribe lies, or mud
smudges each destination,
You've lost control: you
never know where the next path will lead.
Looks like a dead-end street.
numbs your brain.
So many mistakes.
Nobody told you, you say,
then you heap blame
on those who are blinded like you.
Loved ones tried,
their words blurred by your need,
your potential curdled by wild hurtle
into dim thrill of needle
Deep sleep just short of eternal.
Mornings bring cravings,
day follows day filled with theft and sale, theft and sale
to pay for your sleazy escape
again and again.
Always the same
peppered with desperate efforts and creasing failures and cramping pain and careless mistakes and fleecing arrests and imprisoning cells
while your head forever screams
to be clean,
while your need
to appease the clamouring beast that clamps your frame and grabs your guts and clings to your skin and kidnaps your mind and steals
your very being
rejects the thought.
How times change:
you clean my home,
cook my meal. We share expenses and I
marvel at your strength of will.
I ask you:
what was the defining moment
that inspired you to strive
for the light?
This is how you reply:
at the signpost ahead
and as I wiped the mud which had blinded my eyes,
I read where each of three roads led.
the first was a dire, familiar trail,
the second pointed to sudden death.
I chose the third road,
the hard road, the right road, the sane road, the safe road,
the stuttering shock.
It was a toll I had to pay:
that searing act of cleansing agony.
I'm glad I grappled through the pain
which led me back
to hope and health.
©Jane Paterson Basil