Category Archives: concrete poetry

Seasonal Fruit

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.
                             Green leaves
                        rise through the earth
                    unfurling from embryonic seeds
                   instinctively reaching for the sun
                      while  nature  nourishes
                           each blind need

               
               Kittens
         cavort in  a garden
          playfully pawing
               petals

                                         Butterflies
                                    brighten  the  meadow
                                trusting their delicate wings
                               flitting to land on pink lunches
                                    as  they  battle  each
                                       rushing breeze
             
                 Eagles
            alight on trees
       flying free, soaring high
        ignoring blossoms that
            bloom and die

                                         Tall trees
                                  broaden their branches
                                  preparing to reproduce
                                      before leaves
                                           fall

                             I
                           hefted
                      my  gaining  weight
                 across  transmuting  phases
             of embryo, kitten, butterfly, eagle.
             I have played out the part of tree.
              Finally  acknowledging  mortality
               I liken it to a seasonal fruit
                  whose roots must wither
                     to make room for
                       fresh plants
                         to bloom
                           and
                            g
                            r
                            o
                            w
                            .

While this poem has only a tenuous connection to it, it was inspired by something my brother copied down many years ago. I think he heard it on the Sonny and Cher Show. Maybe it was set to music, maybe not. Snatches of it often play in my mind, and yet I can find no record of it anywhere. It speaks of the ego of youth – the feeling that the world is yours, and you can do anything. Here are a couple of stanzas:

Look at you, look at me,
standing ten feet tall are we.
Look at them, look at us
wondering why they make such fuss.

Look at me then look again
and maybe you’ll remember when
you stood this tall and knew it too,
and the whole world turned to look at you.

Does anyone recognise it? It would make my day if I could get a full copy.

Also, I’d really appreciate an honest critique of my poem. I’ve been battling with it for days, and I’m still not sure whether it works. You can pull out all the stops; if it is weak, I’d prefer to know.

©Jane Paterson Basil

Bees Without Stings

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The fat
greedy corporates
flash .curious .glances .down
from windows in the sun, briefly resting
between counting money, sacking the hungry,
closing another factory and relocating in a practical,
poorer, thus more economical land where folk must work
hard hours .for a plate of rice .to keep their families alive.
The .fat. greedy corporates .show their .gleaming teeth.
They .see us .humbly .buzzing .to fulfil .their needs
that .we ..may .receive .the .least .sustenance.
It. may be. that .they .think. we are .bees.
The .fat, .greedy .corporates’ .bellies
swell. .They. know they .rely. on
our .minds and muscle, .yet
care not for our welfare,
and ..every ..week
they .steal
our
h
o
n
e
y

.

honey-bee-1.jpg

.

©Jane Paterson Basil

Pain in the Butt

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What do you see when you look my way?
You see a sweet lady who’s a modern cliche.
She walks with apparent confidence and sway,
long locks hinting at a faint tint of grey.
Her face reveals traces of a prettier day,
and her curvy body shows no obvious decay
– one whose sell-by date may be a mile or two away.
You think I may savor the game you wish to play.

Well, get this mate, a lady’s what I ain’t,
I’m a woman with a history, so you’d better show restraint.
If I told you my story, it would put you in a faint.
But that is my business, I don’t wish to aquaint
you with the finer details of each tiny taint.
I’ve finished with my sinnin’, though I’ll never be a Saint.
If you wish to woo me, I must insist upon restraint.
I have a bow, some arrows, and a tin of war paint.

Stop sitting in my kitchen, drinking endless cups of tea,
describing all the things that you pretend to be.
Can’t you see it’s hard to tolerate your tiresome company?
You’re wasting your time with your fake empathy.
Don’t touch this body; get your hand off my knee.
You have to understand that I need to be free.
You simply don’t appeal, and here’s my final decree:
You can’t win my passion and you can’t have me.

This is an update of a poem I wrote some time back.I was going to submit it to a concrete poetry contest, and, with this in mind, I spent hours shaping it into an image, only to find that  my image editing tool no longer had a particular feature which would have enabled me to make the wording clearer. Unless I start again, I won’t be entering it after all, but it’s kinda pretty, so I’m posting it here – having edited it slightly, yet again.

©Jane Paterson Basil

Equal

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.

frozen between
two small tasks

unable to decide which to prioritize
weighing each, .judging them equal

then, for an instant, .figuring this one is more pressing
before changing my mind, thinking the other more fun

arranging, .switching, .rearranging
struggling .to come .to. a..decision

until finally
I do neither

.

~0~

.

The Daily Post #Rearrange

©Jane Paterson Basil

Forest

.  .  .  .  .  .  .   I love you. 
                The wet dips and the 
        dry crests of you. The wild living 
      heart of you. I love every part of you. 
        In spring you grow and deepen and in 
    summer you glow. In autumn I leave you. As 
    I walk  away weeping, you rustle and sigh 
   behind me, your extremeties dying. But winter
      is for sleeping and we have to part for a  
    while. When warmer weather returns you will 
      stretch and grow again. You will protect me  
     and caress my spirit with a floor of flowers.   
     You will welcome me into the depths of you.
           Again I will walk your verdant 
                 paths, and worship
                      beneath 
                       your 
                       ever 
                      expand -
                    ing canopy 
                of  green  leaves

The Daily Post #Tree

©Jane Paterson Basil

Out of control

.
   from
     where 
      you stand, 
        you will never 
witness these floating insanities.
        They're so far
      from your
    distant                  
   plain                                          I'm
                                              stuck                   
                                        this  game
                                     is a torture
                           without clear rules or conclusions
                                     to be played
                                          while the
                                             brain's
                                                   out          
               I
         spiral                   
      like a
     careless tightrope walker 
     knowing  even  as  I land 
              there is no-one  
                   at fault 
                    but  
                me

Written for The Daily Post #Witness

©Jane Paterson Basil

Happy Christmas!

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Nearly
Christmas?
Really?
*
*
I recall
Christmas, the thudding,
ticking wait, the classroom preparations;
the glitter, paper, tape, the stickiness, as we
fashioned our paper decorations, that special
hand-painted Christmas card carefully inscribed
“lots of love to mum and dad”, the crooning
carols, the school nativity play, the
adult reminder that we should
remember the unfortunate
children, far away,
on the brink of
starva
tio
n
*
*
no
gifts at
the end of
their thin
beds
*
*
the
impatient
count-down to the
final day after breaking
up for the thrilling holiday,
the carefully covered
frayed tempers
*
*
our
devious hunt
for artlessly hidden
gifts, always found tucked
beneath clothing, in the
back of a bedroom
cupboard
*
*
the
night before
the big day, we went
quickly to bed, with plans
to stay awake, but we
let ourselves down,
and slept.
*
*
then,
one of us would waken
early, so early, scrabbling for the christmas
stocking and the house would come to life, disturbing
mum and dad, who had hoped that this time, we would let
them sleep a little later, but it was not to be, and soon they
would rise from their bed and we all went downstairs, to a
room transformed overnight by greenery and glitter.
it was the only day of the year when we were
allowed to skip breakfast and eat less
healthy fare, but we had to wait
until our parents had
broken their fast
before giving
our gifts.
*
*
yes, it’s nearly
here again and I wish all of
my friends at word-press and
elsewhere, my family and
the strangers I’ve never,
and may never meet,
love, peace and
all the best
always.
xxx
x

©Jane Paterson Basil

My desired destination

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my
friends gave it
willingly; the magic gift of
self-belief to tenuously cling
to, telling me I could do it, that
it doesn’t matter if I am late, but I
have the ability to reach my desired
destination, and I owe it to myself to
try.  now I know  that  even if I do not
arrive  before  the final toll  of the mid-
night bell,  I will  have succeeded  all my
previous expectations. so now, with friends
to cheer me, I take my papyrus, my quill and ink, and
I scribble; I will scribble until I reach the winning post, or
until I hear the final toll of the bell as it rings, rings
in my
ear

nib-148

 

Written for Writing 101 Poetry Day 1:

“And… the first prompt of the course is out: courtesy of @laduchessederat, it invites you to write a poem involving magic, whatever your take on the magical might be.”

©Jane Paterson Basil

Potential

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I'm more than the sum of this life, these slipshod years,
more than the weeping and the laughter,  the many smiles,
more than my elastic silences, my paperweight protection,
those lost desires of youth, the nightmares and the fear.
more then these ears,
missing the              I have            watch it as it 
symphony,            a kernel buried              smashes  
these hands              within            the shell away
clamped against                    releasing my potential 
the cacophony of pain,                     and freeing me
these fading eyes which stare                     to grow
westward towards the dimming horizon,
more  than the broken lives  which wallow in their waste.

©Jane Paterson Basil