All posts by janebasilblog

About janebasilblog

Jane sits around and writes a bit, then she does some other stuff, then she sits around and writes a bit more, then she eats something. Sometimes, at night, she goes to bed.

The End of the Line

rose-stem

Valentine’s day
Pre-planned passion
hangs in the balance

Suspense

reigns

He lopes home
hugging a rain-drenched
bouquet to his frame, hunching
keep rain from staining petals, hoping
the beauty, the ruby hue, the perfume
of these hot-house blooms will halt
the drift. He’s humming a tune.

He walks in, singing
Roses are red

my love

He presents the spray
She feigns cat-lick surprise, yet
her greedy eyes betray

dismay

disdain

the end of the line.
Cheapskate flowers again;
hints for a cruise, or at least
a long weekend in Spain
were in vain.

rose-stem1

©Jane Paterson Basil

Recipe for Happiness

Embed from Getty Images

Chipped nails choked with scraped grit.
Blisters swell unfelt, then burst;
a wet revelation on shaft of spade.

Weeds painstaking parted from precious roots,
left in bins to rot
and someday feed the plants whose food
they recently plotted to rob.

Working around worms whose blind cycles
play their part in our survival,
digesting, evacuating, aerating the earth.

Shrubs catching my hair,
tangling it, taking loose strands as souvenirs.
Thorns scratching, blood dripping as I squeeze
between close neighbours, secateurs
gripped tight in my hand.

Snip, snap;
sure of my skill, I amputate weak limbs, lending health
to good wood.

Chipped nails, burst blisters, tangles and scratches
might not sound like life in paradise
yet it is my recipe
for happiness.

©Jane Paterson Basil

Winter Cocktail

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At cocktail hour at this time of year
bright colours vacate to hot places
like Italy or Spain.
Skies slide into leaden grey,
grumpily gunning to fulfil a bleak threat of rain,
their perfidious clouding slyly announcing
that dusk is well on its way.

Brittle twigs cling to knotted limbs.
Catatonic in the bitter air,
their scribbled crisscrosses laid bare,
bereft of the layered frock
that veiled bland dwellings
which crouch, blind-eyed
beneath my lofty window.
Spring’s brave growth crumbles to mulch,
all pride, grace and levity faded away,
its flesh consumed for future gain.

I pause mid-thought, my mind
resorting to fantasy:
might these spectral skeletons
recall unfurling
to make safe hiding places for fledgling birds?
Perhaps they remember saluting the June day sun
their emerald hands swaying in celebration,
and nudged by a temperate summer wind
dancing, jiving, twirling.
Perhaps they relive
the betrayal, the brittle break,
the skittering fall.
Maybe they grieve, and yearn
the loss of green youth.

©Jane Paterson Basil

Transition

Just like tormented teens
scratch secret passions in wet cement
before builders bring bricks and mortar
to smother initials framed in hearts
and pierced with cupid’d darts,
I write.

I present my abortive tales of trial
like frosted slices
of erringly early halloween cake,
but the story moves forward,
the genre transforms leaving no regret
as soon as my poetic icing is set.

Houses rise, filling the landscape,
sandwiching old ache between hidden nature
and newly fulfilled need.

©Jane Paterson Basil

I’ll be sorry tomorrow

A small glass of wine

is perfectly fine

when you need to unwind

unless you’re the kind

who finds

themselves lying on the floor at the first sniff of alcohol, holding a one-sided conversation with the carpet, and as soon as you manage to pull yourself into a sitting position you post a poem that will embarrass you once you have sobered up.

Hic!

©Jane Paterson Basil

Cancelled

A winter sun warms baubles
which glint as they cling
to their 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 over-eat
so I don’t ruin the treat of evening cheese.
When the table is cleared, we’ll play silly games.
As dark deepens, the children will play and the over-eighteens
will take turns to choose music,
praising or abusing the chooser of each tune.
We will all be equal;
all equally insulting, equally insulted, 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 careful 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 need to quench the furnace
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