Category Archives: anxiety

Phoenix

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It’s often when the world seems kind, the foe leaps in to steal your mind
of all the hope you’d held intact, and horror robs your brain of fact.
Rotating blades within the gut increase their stretch, til faith is cut.

It aches so much you can’t conceal the pain.
It cuts so deep you can’t conceal the pain.

The steel has reached your pounding heart, and sorrow’s played its bitter part.
Beneath your feet, the faithless floor tips and sways, while you implore
kind entities to feed your soul, yet screaming silence steals your goal…

and echoes that, this day, you’ve gone insane,
and you believe, this day, you’ve gone insane.

Hell’s bells then toll to tell the world the thread of life has been unfurled,
and Satan’s servants draw their claws, as teeth glint green in gnashing jaws.
You smell the sulphur, feel the pulse, as with a shudder, you convulse.

You tell yourself that you can take the strain,
You chant the mantra “I can take the strain.”

The Devil’s terror bends your bones, and you collapse, as he postpones
your future, by the coal-black joke of wrapping round you like a yoke.
Now panic rises; he erases all remaining hope-filled places.

Though bound and blind, you need to break the chain,
to live through this, you need to break the chain.

With drumsticks banging at your heart, with churning stomach ripped apart,
as arid lungs choke ragged breath, you sink towards ignoble death —
’til courage rising from the mire, brings you a hint of lifespring’s fire.

So thus you learn that you will rise again,
and now you know that you will rise again.

©Jane Paterson Basil

The question

she’d like to ask the question
not for empathy,
for pity’s sake or sympathy

she’d like to ask the question
not so that you will run to her side
with a cup of kind advice

she’d like to ask the question
trusting that her friends would never
make it a competition of ills

she’d like to ask the question
to feel her tongue exploring
its taste, the shape of it

she’d like to ask the question
“do I truly want to die?”
in the hope that her brain
will give an honest reply
but instead, she stares in silence
and waits for the hurt to go by

©Jane Paterson Basil

Co-dependence

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you roamed my flat, lost, isolated
hiding from your years of shame and grime
I felt your pain, and yearned, inadequately, for change

last evening you went, invited, to my grandson’s gig
I hope you made a new friend or two
perhaps you went home late
with a smile on your face

today, everyone I see from my street view window
looks like you, walks like you
but isn’t
you

©Jane Paterson Basil

This is not my life

at each fresh evil I break a little,
recovering more quickly every time;
reassuring with an easy joke, a smile,
thinking to escape the agony,
but it cuts deep into me
and with sharp fangs it rips out my creativity,
visciously spitting it out
to land like embryonic seed on arid ground,
never to stretch to maturity.

sometimes I want to scream
“this is not my life. It is not me.
these insipid lines and phrases
are less than my ability.”

©Jane Paterson Basil

Corporate grass

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I wondered
why the grass sown by corporate hands
was already a plush emerald carpet
and yet, still, on the rocky hill near my house
my seed lay fallow on arid ground

I glanced at my face in the mirror
surprised by the sight of my bald left eyebrow
where had the hair gone, and why?
I fed it with salve, rich with nutrients
and watched while it curled and
grew too long and thick to conceal, wrapping
around the hair on my head
trapping it

this new growth was midnight black
where once it had been blonde and fine
I took my scissors, and thinking to neatly trim it
I snipped, watching ringlets float to the floor
like feathers from the breast of a raven
leaving raw patches, charcoal stubble and stubborn wisps

but my home belonged to another, not me
I gazed around my irstwhile rooms in dismay
at the decay, the rubble and dirt
left behind by careless guests
hastely I cleared it away
then vacated, leaving the key
and making my way past the lush, deep corporate grass
I looked for another place to stay

I was woken by the sounds of my surroundings
I rose from my bed and looked out
to see that while I had slept
the corporate grass had been cut
unevenly

©Jane Paterson Basil

Magic blanket

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you bring them
into my living space
in hidden pockets
these devious, creeping spiders
(perhaps you think that you are
innocent of misdeed when, in my simple home,
which I try to keep clean, you free them
to spin and to weave and
to trap each negative mote
before it is able to leave
through the open window)

just because I cannot see them it
doesn’t mean they are not there
but I am rarely prepared

as soon as I enter the living room
they tangle in my hair and as I inhale
they sting my nasal passages
and with each intake of wispy air
anxiety rises and
I know that once again
I have sniffed those cobwebs
into my brain

you force me to imbibe them
every time you feel unable to take the strain
but you have no right to hand them over
and you cannot make them mine

I wish that you would leave
so I could sweep the pain away
then with net of gauze in rainbow shades
I’d trap dazzling particles of happiness
with eager hands I’d tease and spin and weave them
into an indestructable magic blanket
which would shimmer
as it wrapped me in laughter

©Jane Paterson Basil

I push them away

I push them away
those ogres that you bring
sharp with a murky middle
leaving stings that
grow into stones at
the back of my neck

I push them away
too late to prevent the
paralysing poisoned dart
from hitting its mark

I push them away
but you bring back-up
to prick me with
their dirty spikes

with my tired hands
I push them away
each little monster of
misery is weak but
they are an endless army
and they back up
they back up until
they are nose to
nose with me
I avert my face
make myself tiny
but still they back up
filling every gap
surrounding me until
there is no space for me
crushing me
stealing me
leaving only the pain
and the sound of
the doorbell
ringing
ringing
ringing

©Jane Paterson Basil