Category Archives: happy endings

Three Glowing Sparks

I love Esther Newton’s weekly challenges!

Esther’s challenge this week is to write a poem or story based on the visual prompt of a haunted lighthouse.

stepping  from
       the car with  an 
          airy feeling  in 
          her head  and  her 
        feet, and a return of
       that  lost  freedom 
       she hasn't  felt 
        since      then, 
           a  lifetime  ago,
             she lets the grey 
             glow  in  the  sky 
            lead  her  where it 
          may; along  familiar 
        lanes,  abandoned  by 
        her; so, so long ago
         in the  vain  and
          hopeless  hope
         that the pain 
        may  fade
      one day,
            and yet she 
              roams these 
              roads   again 
            untouched now  by
        the memory of       then;
   of  that  searing  second, minute, 
 hour, day, week, month, year, eternity
when everything had screamed within her.
 when. everything. good. was. dead.
   everything     dead.
              now the 
              old windmill
            towers above her,
          its crumbling walls 
       concealing worm eaten 
     floorboards which 
      and now  two 
           figures approach 
            and she walks into 
             their silken glow.
            her   children
          have waited
       in this place  
      these many years 
      so  patiently   waited  
        for her embrace and as they 
           all  join  hands  her   form
               shimmers into translucence.

                 several   miles   away, 
                  strangers  stand in 
                  shock beside the 
                 wreck of a car, 
               mourning     her 
             shredded  shell  on 
          the blood-spattered bonnet
      and sadly  shaking  their heads.
   an  approaching  siren  wails,  and 
  they turn their heads   from  death;  
   but    I    see     the      three 
     glowing    sparks     as   they 
      leave the heart of the woman 
        and soar up to the sky
         and I know that 
        she's healed 
      at last.

© Jane Paterson Basil

Freedom: A Haiku


Eight in the morning

stepping out through prison gates

into your future

© Jane Paterson Basil

My son is being released from prison tomorrow and I will be there to meet him.
He put me onto this song. He identifies with the words, and I’m posting it in honour of his freedom.

Oh You.

(So named because the only vowels in this poem are O and U)

Embed from Getty Images

how you bloom

your youth
not lost

your good
looks not flown

no hurts
worry you now

no low words
groom you for doom

no low thoughts
pull you down

no drugs
now confound

how you bloom

your humour
so grown

good boldly
surrounds you

your soul
glows gold


my son

my wondrous son

© Jane Paterson Basil



I had seen him as the bus pulled up. He was standing, impatient to get off, a wrapped bag of chips in his hand, smiling already in anticipation. He always relished a bag of chips. As soon as the door swished open, he jumped off the step, and onto the side of the road.

Normally he would have crossed the road behind the bus, but he was in a hurry, so he skipped around the front.

Seeing me across the road, as I stood outside outside our house waiting for him, he called “Hello mum, I’ve got chips!”

He didn’t hear me as, terrified, I warned him to wait at the other side, because a car was approaching from behind the bus.

I registered the sudden shocked shout of the bus driver, as at the same time, in slow motion, I saw my son running straight in front of the car; heard the car’s brakes screeching as the driver tried to avoid colliding into human flesh; saw the car hitting my son, and him flying up into the air, flipping over, and falling downwards, head first.

Something happened inside my brain at that moment. I saw him land, and ran to his lifeless body. I sat in front of the now stationary car, his head on my lap, seeping blood onto my jeans, while at the same time they absorbed water from the rain-soaked tarmac, and unearthly sounds escaped from deep within me.

I was still there when the emergency services arrive to take him away from me. The rain poured down upon me and I watched the disappearing tail lights of the vehicle which had come to carry my son onto the past forever. As it disappeared around the corner, arms wrapped around me in an effort to comfort and guide me into the house. I slipped out of those arms and curled up in the mud.

There was a coffin, and a hole in the ground, and people wanted to put the coffin in the hole. It was raining still, and the place inside me that my son had filled with fun and excitement was screaming out in anguish and dispair. There was no future. My bady rocked backwards and forwards, and the only word I could emit was “Paul”.

“Paul Paul Paul.”

And then, suddenly I was in the present, and none of that had happened yet. My son was heading towards the ground, and suddenly, miraculously, he twisted upwards, to land on his stomach, with his head off the ground.

The car had stopped, and only his feet were under the bonnet. I ran to him, and, gingerly, he got up. Chips and wrapping littered the road. As I wrapped my arms tightly around him, the shocked driver got out of the car, the bus driver joined us, and all the usual things were said: “He appeared so suddenly. “Are you ok, lad?” “I couldn’t stop!” “I shouted to warn him.”

His dad had heard the car as it braked, and he was there too.

My son was struggling in my arms; I was holding him too tightly. Even after he freed himself I was unable to let go of his shoulder.

Everyone wanted to know how he had managed to twist himself around, deftly cheating Death out of his young victim.

My son shrugged and said “Don’t know, I just did,”

He looked longingly at the mess of uneaten supper all over the road, and suddenly the terrible loss dawned upon him.

His face dropped. “I was really looking forward to those chips,” he said.

© Jane Paterson Basil


Embed from Getty Images
This is the story of Nicky
And her knickers so shamelessly nicked
By a nasty knicker nicker
Who finally got nicked

Nicky was tired of her knickers
Which were tatty and shabby and grey
When she got her first weeks wages
She threw her old knickers away

Yes, Nicky bought new knickers
In red and green and blue
Because she’d got her wages
And wanted something new

Nicky wore her knickers
in the normal knickery way
And as one would hope, she wore
A different pair each day

At the end of every evening
Getting ready for the night
Her knickers went in the laundry bin
Tucked down out of sight.

But when she did her washing
And hung it out to dry
She realised a horrible thing
Which made her want to cry

Someone had nicked her knickers
She could see that her knickers were gone.
There was nothing left of those knickers
She’d so recently sat upon.

Now Nicky lived with a family
And two of them were young men
Nicolas was the older brother
And the younger one was Ben.

She couldn’t believe that either one
Would commit such a heinous act
As to nick her pretty knickers
So slyly behind her back.

Time went by as it always does
And her knickers were never returned
And poor little Nicky was saddened
By a lesson so harshly learned.

Life was never the same for Nicky
She decided she had to be strict
And stick with tatty grey knickers
To ensure that they wouldn’t get nicked

Now many years have passed and gone
And now she’s old and grey
And although it made her unhappy
She’s stuck to her rule to this day

But it’s funny how things can alter
When hope is all but gone
Soon for the first time in fifty-five years
Nicky will put her bright knickers back on.

Her brother he lives in a flat in a block
And Old Nicolas lives below
And her brother came to say to her
“There’s something I think you should know.”

“A knicker nicker’s been nicking girls knicks
Right off the washing line
And the police came along and arrested Nick
After all of this time

“And they found two bin bags of knickers.
He had kept hidden in his flat
And I bet that your knickers are with them.
What do you think of that?”

And now she knew for certain
Old Nick was the naughty nicker
Nick had knocked her knickers off
And Nick was the clothesline picker

He’d nicked those natty knickers
And kept them all those years.
Now knickerless, Nicolas has been nicked
For stealing things that belong on girls rears.

Now Nicky’s at the cop-shop
Identifying her rainbow pants
And as they hand them back to her
She’s trilling out her thanks.

Tomorrow she’ll have a secretive smile
Because no-one will ever know
That her brightly coloured knickers
Are fifty-five years old.

© Jane Paterson Basil



He is seventeen. As he stands upon the chair the rope around his neck mocks him, listing the things he will never have:

The shy girl whose hazel eyes flashed with helpless compassion while towering boys pushed and punched him, shrinking him into unbearable shame.

She will grow into womanhood never having been wrapped in these arms that will soon become limp, or kissed by lips that will cease to speak.

Their unborn children will weep as their never-to-be father takes a deep breath and kicks the chair away, thrashes in mid-air, and vacates his life.

Behind them, four designated grandchilden will stare in horror to learn that futures can be disposed of in such a final way.

His future friends will never meet this beautiful caring soul. The love he has earned will never return to him a hundred fold.

His final breath will not be a glorious farewell to a life kindly lived, but a tragic end to one cut short by his inability to realise that he was worthy, and that he was loved.

He thinks he hears a manic giggle as the rope gets ready to stretch and tighten, as it pictures the triumphant moment when his parents enter the room to find their son’s body dangling, purple faced and absent of soul. He feels the knot itching to hear the music of their grief.

He smiles as he releases himself from his bonds, carefully untying the rope and removing its accompanying hook from the ceiling. Later he will fill the hole that it made, rendering these last hours invisible.

He will go downstairs and hug both of his parents. Tomorrow he will stand tall and look the bullies in the eye, and then he will find words to say to the shy girl with the hazel eyes.

© Jane Paterson Basil