Category Archives: growing up

Charred remains


You delivered him in pain,
yet with his emergence, pain eased
and love took its place.

His innocent face,
his little boy’s embrace –
they were sweet life to you,
and you trusted that nothing he would do
could take that away.

Slowly he grew.
You heard rumours,
but you didn’t think they were true;
each time he looked at you,
you got lost in his eyes;
taken in by his lies.

When deceit comes easy to a child,
danger can ensue,
and though he later rues his wayward ways,
he is not wired for change.

Thrills burn bright, making sparks fly;
they alight on those he claims to love the most.
When storms rage, the fire dies
leaving a lonely hole,
dusted with the charred remains of all your hopes.

You delivered him in pain,
and through the tender, loving years,
you tried to teach a better way to be,
yet failed to keep him safe.

Blackened by the flames,
flattened by the falling rain,
still you would willingly risk any pain
if you could only make him well again,
but you have no potency to deliver him
from the grip of his sickness.


The Daily Post #Delivery

©Jane Paterson Basil


The devil’s dance




You’re young and you’re lovely
with a brick in your head,
smashing your brain with all that he said.
You’ve been moulded by tricks from that blood-stained day
when puberty hit you and took you away,
stealing the cartwheeling freedom of dawn,
leaving you feeling like Satan’s spawn.
You want to turn back but you can’t find the track
and the future is burning and turning black,
while all of the time he is casting his net,
hinting at filth to make you forget
the caress of the trees and the childish ease
of chasing the early summer breeze.
He is your father but he pushes the bar;
you must concede ’til he pushes too far
and you have to refuse to allow the invasion,
so you turn from his ugly attempts at pursuasion
to coldly seduce you, and from that day
you pretend that it didn’t happen that way,
but you become more wary and don’t let him near,
while you hide your confusing horror and fear
for the father you loved and gazed at with pride,
who you always believed was on your side.
You’ve learnt the worst, he was biding his time
until you blossomed, to attempt his crime,
and you try not to hear when he calls you those names;
you try to pretend life is still the same,
but he whispers his dirty predictions to you
and you hear them so often you think they are true,
threading your life like a string of beads,
polishing each one before he feeds
it on to the lost umbilical cord,
shining that shit with each cheating word
as he weaves his filth into your heart,
telling you woman is simply a tart
and you will reign as the tart supreme,
with ripe juicy peaches and lashings of cream.
Still you look back but your childhood is dead
and your father’s the brick inside your head,
and even long after the day that he dies
he’ll constantly haunt you in living disguise
so that every man that you ever trust
will burn your love and turn it to dust,
and your life will be tainted by all that he said
until passion is spent and your feminine red
ceases to flow, and you get your chance
to escape the drag of the devil’s dance.

©Jane Paterson Basil


hayharvest 10

when I was three feet high
I selected my beliefs to suit the life I desired;
projecting a fantasy of everlasting childhood,
thinking nothing bad could ever happen to me;
or if it did my parents would make it better.
My self-effacing mother would soothe me in her gentle way,
or my clever father would make the problem go away.
I dreamed of joining a circus, of living in a palace,
of being famous for jumping higher than anyone in the world
and writing the best book in the known universe,
but the future was so distant that it didn’t exist,
and I continued to dream that it would be my happy fate
to turn perfect cartwheels and ride
on top of a trailer of sun-warmed hay
in an unchanging emerald world throught eternity.

I lived in a part of rural England where
if a tree was felled, another would take its place,
where autumn may take the leaves away,
but spring would always return them:
where children never died; or at least,
none of the children I met.
The demise of a curled foetus was a distant thing
with the positive attribution of making a fat woman thin;
Hunger only happened to the young in poor countries,
and when we went to school we filled their stomachs
by donating our pennies and being rewarded
by little photographs of their pretty faces,
which we took home to display, proud
in our sweet belief that had changed a life.
None of the suffering children were plain,
which was a good thing because if they had been
we may not have wanted their picture,
leaving them to their hollow fate.

When my silhouette curved into premature maturity
I was ten years old and five feet tall.
My father killed my innocence with his impropriety,
and although his behaviour was reprehensible;
precursing my slippery fall,
someone had to break my childish naivity.

©Jane Paterson Basil


from the
moment of conception
she is of me
yet not

in preparation for the
first stage of separation
her tiny organs plump
stretching toward

within the womb
with thumb in mouth
she seeks her own

I meet her
perfect little form
as the midwife severs
the first bloody

as I rejoice
and marvel at her
complex infant

as I hold her
touching skin with skin,
feeling somehow nearer to her
though now there is air between us,
and hands reach out, hands of
those who surely cannot
love her as
I do

even before she
has begun to love me
she has taken an innocent
step towards freedom
from my maternal

now she will
grow and learn
and break away
as we all

how sad
that even after
all the bloody cords are
cut and my child is freed from
those knotted strings of infant
need I still feel the pull of
that pre-natal lifeline
which, long ago,

I have
learnt to ignore this
phantom tug at my aching womb
and the tightening of my heart,
for fear that my offspring
may steal my womb
or bleed.

©Jane Paterson Basil