Category Archives: free verse

A High Note

Before growing pains seeped

thick into my womb,

searing it,

staining it scarlet,

ripping my freedom to shreds,

exploding idyllic preconceptions,

pouring hormonal rust upon my skipping youth,

a green heart played innocent tunes

on a swelling rib cage.

The meadows rippled in reply,

and the stream tinkled in time to the childish beat.

The hills, too kind to disillusion me,

echoed my refrain

in three-part harmony —

yet nature couldn’t prevent

the betrayal of my burgeoning body.

I made painful mistakes,

edging around the shadiest patches,

mostly staying in safe places.

These days, the lost ones shimmy down slimy drainpipes

as if life is a giveaway toy to treat lightly

and toss aside.

Lately, my heartbeat sings

a less vigorous song, muffled

by the grimy streets and the grainy patina of age,

but now and again a high note

echoes through the trees.

©Jane Paterson Basil

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This Serene Evening

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As dusk scribbles violet trails in the sky,
the beam of lights increase, widening and illuminating
this serene evening.

Seeping ghouls have been banished from the scene,
and as yesteryear’s polluted pool descends into the well of memory,
I breathe clean tranquillity.

Inhaling the soft heat of ascending peace,
I kick aside the pale desire that it had swept in
earlier in my day.

Grateful for each painful lesson in humility,
I deny access to niggly regret and obsolete pity
as withered dregs of sorrow ebb away.

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I struggled with this. I wrote it for The Daily Post’s Word Prompt – before I realised that “Serene” was today’s word for the Photo Prompt. Oh well…

…Oh Well: the best thing Fleetwoood Mac ever recorded – which has no connection with my post, but… oh well…

©Jane Paterson Basil

Boulders and Daisies

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You hustled a one-way ticket to hell,
hopping heavily aboard the chugging train,
smutty snow dripping down shrinking lanes,
tripping its way into cellular recesses
sifting your sight and your senses like sand.

Love and ribboned opportunities
jumbled up with rusty maybe-memories,
stuttered on the hollow horizon.
Blinded by the back end of a telescope,
all you perceived were burning trees.

You regretted the leathery ticket to hell,
and bravely you leaped from the trickety train.
Bruised by boulders and freed from near-misses,
the broken pieces were soldered with kisses
and you bathed in the cleansing rain.

This video is visually poor, but I like the sound. Beatlemania was a weird phenomenon – the fans made so much noise that they drowned out what they had paid to hear…

©Jane Paterson Basil

Knitting a Life

 

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When your place in this world
becomes too complex to contemplate,
and the origin of the grit in your eye
can no longer be placed,
it is best to meditate
on the inch of fine thread
that will lead you to the next step.

Take it one stitch at a time,
and don’t worry about
the final shape
of the finished piece.


There is a time for forward planning; a time to set goals and work toward ambitious aspirations. There is also a time to focus only on the next small step, not trying to control or manipulate future events. Knitting has helped me to focus on the moment, and stop trying to force change. Right now, if I stay calm and trust the future to unfold gently, it is more likely to do so.


Inspired by a ball of wool and Reena’s Exploration Challenge.

©Jane Paterson Basil

Ask Me Why

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When we were families,
grandma’s house was a shared nest, and her attic
held history’s secrets beneath
dust that had caressed generations of kin.
Fingerprints revealed the smudged sheen
of an oaken music box, broken
by children’s rough love.
Though empty, it retained memories
of seamed silk stockings and a mother’s kiss.
Buried in a leather trunk an unworn
wedding dress told a musty story of domestic hope,
its promise stolen by the guns of war;
beneath the yellowed crepe-de-chine
lay mothy remnants
of a bridal bottom drawer.

When we were families,
most of us had somewhere
we could call our family home.
It may be humble, rough-and tumble,
with crumbling bathroom walls,
but it was many times better than no home at all.
When cold weather crept through our vests,
we’d pile into the kitchen through a welcoming door
and nestle next to a warming fire.

   * * *

Beyond my window, rain splashes passers by.
A billowing wind blows them forward, to where dry warmth beckons .

Half a mile away an encampment of flimsy tents
does little to protect our homeless friends.

At night they crawl inside their sleeping bags, fully dressed.
Curling up tight, they pretend to themselves that their nest is safe,
while council officials continue their plot
to rob the dispossessed of what little they’ve got.

©Jane Paterson Basil

Putrified

words

It used to feel
      like they floated
          from the mild sky
             blowing dust motes
              aside,
              their music 
             filling 
          the holes in my mind;
        rhythmic beauty
      gently injected by
      a generous entity
       tripping through
          the very heart of me.

                Has my writing putrified
                  or have I become a better judge?
                  When I review my newer words
                 all I see is sludge.

©Jane Paterson Basil