When she was born I hoped she'd be an eagle but like a feather torn from a crippled wing she got caught in a stinging breeze spun through grey mist and swept into a turbulent pool Numb to the ache of an ancient break I thought I was healed until she tried to take flight ©Jane Paterson Basil
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The Theatre of Life
Sometimes I feel like a bad actor in a play I thought not to rehearse. fudging my lines, smudging the plot. Sometimes my mind slides to a distant place and time and I forget I'm on stage. The fans must surely perceive I'm a sham. Sometimes it's like I've failed an audition for a part in a thing called The Human Race and having been banned from the theatre of life due to some kind of failure or something I lack that no-one explained and I don't understand I've broken through the roof and am watching the acts with my back to a grey-blue sky. Sometimes I see evil, destruction, hunger, need and corruption and I find myself screaming again and again Not In My Name Not In My Name. At least it was not me who stole a killers role in the play. Sometimes I know I am inept with those who sprang from my womb and I think of the myriad ways in which I have failed, yet I see their wisdom, insight and grace and feel forgiven. I am inept with friends yet they see me, understand, love the why and what of who I am. Even strangers like the incomplete face I display to the world, so I leap from my peeper's perch, my alien ship, to embrace the living earth. Sometimes I cognise, re-cognise I belong. I am real.
©Jane Paterson Basil
Today fell into paperback fiction, bled into bundles of black ink sheets each smudged moment mutely becoming my shamed history. Once I might have wished to re-read the book in reverse; to sweep today's waste into my hands, re-absorb those hours and minutes: recycle them to better use. Once I would have felt remorse but today I shrug, say I enjoyed the read and brew a cup of Earl Grey. Such improvidence on my part: in prime my feet paced trusty ground. Now I stand small at the base of a vast hourglass whose sand sifts over my face to smother my sagging flesh. .
©Jane Paterson Basil
The gulls cry to be fed and the woman raises the sound on the TV. Hungry for love, the gulls screech and the woman preens her hair. Desperate, they beg. The woman slings slices of white bread They land just within reach She straightens their feathers, takes them to a place where a man coils words around their beaks, their eyes and shoots framing their formal guise The woman places the portrait on the living room wall. The gulls see. This must be love, they say. The woman Switches on the TV to drown out their squall. The gulls grow. raise families of their own. Their polite poses crowd the woman's wall. Not a hair out of place, Many mouths saying “Cheese” many obedient eyes gazing into a stranger's face. He clicks, and it's done. He clicks. He clicks, and the children - for they are children - stretch their muscles, appreciating release. The proud matriarch of three generations turns from the TV and and reaches to make space in her spick and span home for another trophy.
©Jane Paterson Basil
Jacket on, my fingers reach for the latch which leads me to the other side of the door which would take me outside. Its arrival is always sudden, sometimes a surprise, yet routine as the seasons, pumping through my veins like a sullen child dragging me back, like a whining child unwilling to go outside. Out loud, I say you can do this, it's just laziness, but the tainted blood shoots needles through my heart. I call myself a coward, recall the feats of my youth, the heights attained, the dangers faced and erased, yet my feet refuse to move and my hand is stayed inches from the door. I say to myself, I can do this can't I? Silence but for the hard beat of my heart. I repeat: Can I do this today? No, yet I trip over the reply, doubting my level of intent, feeling shame, even as the shudders wither my brain - even as the room sways. I need milk and a dozen other things. Please let me do this today. No. The reply comes from deep inside. No no no. I back away, back to safety, back to my lair, my table, my chair. Defeated, I glare at the cars passing by beneath the grey horizon. Milk, vegetables and eggs will wait another day.
©Jane Paterson Basil
When my parting breath has exhaled all etchings of pleasure and gain, releasing them to the blind breeze - when the milled shards of speckled pain have quit my cooling heart, my leaden limbs, my stale brain - when no trace of shame or self remain - build a pyre, pile it high, roll my remains in a reclaimed sheet. Weep if you will. but not for me: when you kindle the fire my ashes will fly: let them go as, barren, they float away: think only of my freed soul as it traces a trail along a veiled lane between river and trees home of our long-gone cloaked roams. In the dip where our arms reached, there shall I settle, there shall I lie, and there, in peace shall I rest for a while. ©Jane Paterson Basil
In long-gone days, the wraith came at my beckoning, materialising clear as a leaf in a clean running stream brightly clad in nature's hues With wings of light she'd flitter through fields greeting trees, spinning in whirling dervish twirls till balance failed and she fell helpless with glee revelling in endless freedom I watched her mount the Oak, childish fingers clutching ever slimmer limbs climbing high higher Taunting a fleeting theory of God challenging death placing her feet on the flimsiest twig willing the wood to take her weight even as she dared it to defy her credence that her breath would never cease Frozen in time, the child remains forever nine When the world growls and bites I call her and she arrives. She always shows consoling me through the years with her reminder of joy Time breathes mist over my eyes and leads my senses toward a vacuum, yet still from time to time my wraith twists through the claws of time lending me memories of crowning days. Her margins have long since blended into the landscape, her flesh faded to grey evaporating into smoke Her diaphanous wisp floats over fields and streams beside my childhood home; the ghost of the child who was me and I recall that once upon a time I felt immortal and believed I was free ©Jane Paterson Basil
He said the cracks admit the light, yet the fissure in my mind e x p a n d e d and as the split widened dusk dismissed the sun. -------------------- ©Jane Paterson Basil
One Bright Hue
You twist the cube, try for one bright hue to fill your eyes, fumbling to build a blue wall that shines like a clean childhood sky, but the fingers fail and the cube bleeds, refusing to comply, its fuming patches bragging bitter truth, describing the sickness that grins between the seams. You drop the cube, close your eyes and dream. ©Jane Paterson Basil
Written for Reena‘s Xploration challenge #196. Sorry, Reena, my WP editor has a glitch: hard as I try, I can’t get it to highlight the whole name of your post when creating a pingback.