Category Archives: humour

Celebrate your Legs

legslegs1.jpg

Some of us are weak kneed, knock kneed, knuckle kneed,
dreaming of much nicer knees, knees that are nobble-free,
knees that never creak, or no knees at all.
We’d not need knees if we were lacking legs,
but if our legs dropped off we’d be heading for a fall;
so we all want legs, and without our knees
our poor old legs would be stiff as pegs,
good for little more than standing tall.

The shape and the size and the state of our thighs
may be sore to the eyes, but a word to the wise –
some of us may agonise, may disguise or try to downsize,
thinking them too wide or too pied, but they help us to stride
down the roadside, hillside, wayside, on any side and every side,
waggling our backsides, or gliding like a bride.

Shins are pretty thin, their bones sit next to skin
sensitive to irritating scraping and scratching,
low furniture abusing them, banging them and bruising them,
at every opportunity, but they’re streamlined for sprinting.

Calves are often floppy, they may be thick or thin,
they often swell in places where you want them to go in.
If they get too flabby our jeans may be a squeeze,
while skirts can swing and rise up in a sudden gusty breeze,
revealing all our bulgy bits, and that is not much fun,
but the chub will turn to muscle if we regularly run.

Ankles are all angles, and at risk from hockey stick,
which with a careless swing, can deal a painful clip,
they’re delicate, and sensitive to every graze and bruise,
and when ambushed by a table leg, they usually lose.
But they’re worth all the pain and the occasional sprain,
as the moment they recover, they’re in action again,
helping you to balance and lifting up your feet,
while twisting round to steer you up and down the street.

Legs may be lanky, flabby, lean or even beautiful –
however they may look, they are usually dutiful,
taking you to places far too narrow for a car;
from bathroom into bedroom – then to ballroom or to bar.
They’re useful on a bicycle if you want the wheels to turn,
and if you didn’t have them it would cause you some concern.
You cannot do the can-can without a working pair,
and for roamin’ in the gloamin’ there’s nothing to compare
with your legs, whether hairy, freckled, ugly or glamorous —
and they prove to be an asset when yer man is getting amorous;
You can wrap ’em round or lay ’em flat or bend ’em at the knees,
or contort them in whatever way the two of you may please.

To celebrate your legs, play some music, have a dance,
jump and hop and wiggle while you still have got the chance.

I wrote this poem a few months ago for a friend, to include in a book she was writing about legs, which has just gone to print.

©Jane Paterson Basil

Advertisements

Hogs’ Pudding and Breast of Spring Chicken

The past twenty-four hours have been busy and emotional. I don’t want to go into it, but it hasn’t all been bad. I spent half the evening crying, and the other half trying to figure out what to do about my neighbour who turned up in a state about some hogs’ pudding.

For the information of the uninitiated, hogs’ pudding is a nasty, anaemic looking, giant sausage which – for some unaccountable reason – is popular in this area.

This tale involves me, my daughter Laura, Dave (her fiance), a neighbour who we’ll call Bert, although he’s really called Harold – but that’s not true; it’s just a cunning double cover-up, to protect his identity.

Speaking of cover-ups, this morning, when Laura stepped out of her fiance’s brother’s shower, she had no idea that there was anybody other than her fiance in the flat. Had she been aware of the presence of Bert/Harold – who (in order to cause further confusion) I’ll call Gregory, she might have chosen to shower with her clothes on, so, no cover-up there…

Moving swiftly on to this evening; I was near the completion of some nifty and essential six-way texting with a smattering of phone calls, while trying to eat without dripping tears into a meal which had already gone cold, when someone knocked heavily on my door.

“Oh, deary me, who can that possibly be?” I asked myself – although it came out more as a muttered “Bloody hell, whoever you are, why don’t you just bugger off and leave me alone.”

Had I known the answer to my silent question, I might have been inclined to increase the volume of my under-the-breath mutter so that my visitor would hear me. I opened the door to discover my neighbour – the one I’ve decided to call Gregory, his face displaying an interesting combination of startled, terrified, distraught, apologetic and lustful expressions. It wasn’t a pretty sight, but at least he didn’t have the remains of his dinner on his face, as he usually does.

On second thoughts, perhaps the absence of bolognese sauce should have served as a warning – he’d taken particular pains to make himself respectable before coming to see me.

At this point, perhaps I should describe myself:

I have all my limbs, digits and and organs, both eyes, several teeth, hair on my head – and being only about 14lbs overweight, around here I’m considered to be slim almost to the point of anorexia. In addition, I look as if I was probably reasonably lacking in pig-ugliness about forty years ago.

Yes – at the tender age of 62, I am the babe of the over-the-hill stag’s brigade; a real catch, if it wasn’t for the proven fact that I can run faster than any of them. It’s becoming embarrassing, although I admit there are only four men in this block who are actively chasing me.

Gregory is one of them, but he pretends he just sees me as a friend. I had to invite him in, since he was peering round the door looking longingly at my sofa, all the while telling me that he was terribly sorry for bothering me and he didn’t want to cause any trouble, but he didn’t know what to think about Dave’s hogs’ pudding. Naturally, I thought that in addition to him seeing my daughter naked, he must have witnessed Dave in a state of undress, but he said that the hogs’ pudding was in his freezer, so after a moment’s concern for my future son-in-law’s well-being, I realised it wasn’t a euphemism after all.

While I made coffee, he continued to apologise for bothering me. Eventually he explained that Dave had given him money to buy some revolting piggy sausages, and he’d done so, but he hadn’t been able to find Dave and give him the offensive swill. He seemed terribly upset, so much so, that it took me a while to notice that the more he looked at my pullover, the more agitated he became.

I have two swellings which sort of stick out of my chest. It’s nothing to worry about – lots of women have them; they’re useful for small babies to chew on when they’re teething and it makes them forget their hunger, so you don’t have to give them steak and chips. I keep my bumpy things under my clothes, so he might not have been aware of them before. Having seen my daughter naked, I think he was curious to find out if I had similar things. I strongly suspect he’d have liked to investigate further, but was too polite to ask.

I wondered how I’d missed the atmospheric hint of testosterone, floating around the room like a concrete block wrapped around a stone.

His hogs’ pudding story was just a ruse to get into my flat. He could have quite easily rung Dave’s brother, since they’re close friends. They’re going out for lunch together tomorrow, so, come to that, the hogs discussion could have waited until tomorrow.

Even after I’d told him that I needed to go to the corner shop before it closed, I had trouble getting rid of him. He kept clutching my hand, telling me he loved me… “as a friend”, gazing at me, trying to hug me, putting his hand at the back of my waist, to illustrate how long Jane Ayre’s hair was.

By the time he left, his face was purple, his limp more accentuated.  He looked both physically uncomfortable and disappointed, whilst I felt mentally discomfited and disjointed.

Maybe I should go back to writing in the dark, so he won’t know I’m here.

©Jane Paterson Basil

Trickery

pot-15020__340.jpg

Boil the cauldron till it sings,
then add a pair of spider wings,
leaf of toad and bud of newt,
heart of fungus, rabbit’s root —
Throw them in and mix them up
to make a wicked witches cup.

Worm’s left leg and fishes foot,
frozen flame and snow-cap soot —
add a pinch of ghoulish youth,
a silent laugh, a liar’s truth,
hemlock toenails, adder’s hair —
fling them in without a care.

Eye of creeping pondweed slime
and other stuff that makes a rhyme
will finish off the recipe,
now stir it gently just for me.
Mash it up and make a paste —
not a drop must go to waste.

Now try this recipe on all
insurance men who come to call.
Smear it thickly on your face —
they’ll run away without a trace,
then wash it off, and you will see
your skin will glow more healthily.

Oh! what a foolish girl she is
that she should vainly take notice
of a stepmother like me,
and make my toxic recipe.
Her former beauteous, smiling face
now melts beneath a gruesome paste.

And what a clever witch am I,
I didn’t need tell a single lie;
The silly salesman ran away
to see her glowing green and grey,
and now the mirror will agree;
there’s no-one prettier than me.

©Jane Paterson Basil

Indomitable # a poem

Filleigh - Castle_Hill_viaduct.jpg

Standing on the window ledge polishing the glass,
petrified pedestrians staring at my ass.
Don’t think about the pavement thirty feet below;
hang on to the window frame and don’t let go.
When the windows are clean, the battle is won;
you call it risky but I call it fun.

The disused viaduct is surprisingly high,
If I was to plummet I would surely die.
The protective fence is no wider than my shoe –
close your eyes tight if I am scaring you.
Ten steps to go, and I’m feeling driven,
you call it madness but I call it living.

Lying in the park in the middle of the day,
just around the corner from the kids at play.
Frankie is practicing his knife-throwing skill;
every near miss is giving me a thrill.
Watching his smile as he hovers above;
You call it dangerous but I call it love.

Image of Castle Hill Viaduct. At some point before I moved to the area – in my teens, a fence was built along each edge of the bridge, to make it ‘safe’.

©Jane Paterson Basil

Secret

 

bookshelves1.jpg

Serenity stands in the corner of the room, staring across at my bookshelves. She is motionless, and I wish she’d go over and pick out whatever book she’s interested in. Following her line of sight, I try to figure out which book it is; I suspect it’s ‘PostSecret’, a brilliant idea conceived in Frank Warren’s inspired mind. For those who don’t know, Frank Warren invited members of the public to write a secret on a postcard and send it to him, anonymously. Some of these secrets are funny and some are shameful, while still more are frighteningly sinister. Many of those who submitted their secrets said that it helped them to heal their hidden wounds.

Maybe Serenity wants to send Frank Warren a postcard, or maybe she sent one, and is wondering if it is included in his book; if so, I can understand why she doesn’t take a look while I am in the room.

I stroll casually over to the bookshelves, and peruse the spines as if I’m just looking for something interesting while I pass a lazy half-hour. When I reach the book in question, I pick it up, with a practiced air of indifference. I don’t want to make her feel as if I’ve been reading her mind.

As for Serenity, her gaze doesn’t falter – she remains looking at the gap that I’ve left. She doesn’t even glance my way as I take my seat at the table. I’m impressed by her determination not to give the game away.

I turn the pages. The first secret is merely a claim of many secrets, but none are named. I doubt that is her secret.

One says “I know you don’t really like me. Please stop pretending.” It could be that one; she certainly lack confidence. I read on, assessing possibilities as I go, dismissing the majority for a variety of reasons.

He’s been in prison for to years for what I did. 9 more to go.” It shocks me, but I don’t think it’s anything to do with Serenity.

I used to fertilize a ring on my lawn, and every time I mowed it, IT GREW. My parents still think it was aliens.” Amusing, but no.

I ate all the blueberries, and they were delicious.” Unlikely; she’s not interested in food.

I’m terrified of not existing.” I think she’s more terrified of existing, but I could be wrong.

I turn the page, and there it is, on page 61 – but to make sure, I pass it by and read on.

When I was a teenager I used to babysit my next door neighbour’s son. When he was asleep I would go into their bedroom and go through their drawers. I found a packet of condoms. I put a pin through the middle of each of them, and thus ensured myself another 5 years of babysitting.” No. I don’t think she likes small children, and she’s not that enterprising.

I once wrote an X-rated letter to my boyfriend who broke up with me before I could give it to him. … I gave it to my next boyfriend.” Nope. Serenity is a life-long celibate.

Income from teaching creative writing:$32,654.00. Income from writing creatively: $0.00.” No.

When my friends go on diets, I discourage them. This is because I want them to be fatter than me.” No. I’m her only friend, and she’s thinner than I could ever be.

I love having my period. It gives me an excuse to be bitchy and irritable and to take naps.” That’s not Serenity. She’s never bitchy and irritable.

I still believe my childhood bear is real. I am in college. I still talk to her… when no-one else is in the room.” Serenity doesn’t have a bear, and she’s not very talkative anyway, but this postcard begs the question; why would people think this girl’s bear is not real?

I stole your duck and took it to San Francisco.” No chance.

I read to the end of the book, and after a furtive glance at Serenity – who still remains motionless – I go back to page 61, to the secret which jumped out at me, and I feel sure that if she is the author of any of the words in this book, it is these:

I feel blank inside.”

I’m posting this in the hope that someone out there can advise me. How can I help Serenity?

I asked her if she’d mind me taking a picture to add to this post. She didn’t reply, but I sensed that she liked the idea. She has a certain style, and a penchant for scarves, which, with my help, she ties in unusual ways and wears as dresses. I know she’s proud of these creations – they seem to be her one real interest in life, and she always seems pleased when I bring a new one home,  but she gets few opportunities to show them off, since she never leaves the flat. Her latest garment is a huge scarf which I found in our Oxfam shop. Although she prefers rare hand-embroidered vintage silk and wool, she was thrilled with this one. I’m sure you’ll agree she looks beautiful in it.

She stands in the corner of the room, barricaded behind the arm of the sofa because she doesn’t like being touched. There was an unfortunate incident a few years back, when I took a  job which required me to live in a tent for six months. She doesn’t like camping, so she moved into the window of Oxfam until I came home. The incident occurred while she was there. It was an accident, but it left her mentally scarred.

Serenity-stares.jpg

 

It’s just occurred to me – maybe she wasn’t staring at the book. Perhaps she has difficulty with her sight. That may explain several of her problems.

I think I’ll take her to Specsavers.

©Jane Paterson Basil

Vanity

bigbum-tiledformat.jpg

I can’t believe I spent so long on this…

bigbum3

I hope you won’t think
that I’m fishing for pity, or some reassurance;
I could not bear the idea of that,
but a burning issue is seeking attention,
and it’s worth a mention,
so this is the thing, you see;
I just no longer like being me.

I hate to confess the breadth of my reasons,
and I can’t blame the troubles that came my way,
or the way my life has generally been,
so nobody else is to blame;
it’s only because I am me.

I will put it succinctly:
I no longer
respect myself.
So I will be brave
and straight to the point,
as I stand here before you…
stripped to the hips.

Does my bum look  pretty,
is it pert and flirty?
Do you think it is priceless
or simply  blown out and flabby and big?

It wasn’t a bad poem to start with, but I had to make all sorts of changes to force it into the shape of a woman’s body. Sometimes, wrecking a poem can be time-consuming and gruelling work…

©Jane Paterson Basil

Here’s a fun one

The Daily Post’s word prompt for today is RECITE. It’s a good word which inspired a poem using anagrams.

(With) ice
I erect Eire
Ere I tire,
I retire.

Done. Now onto the important business of the day, which is:

king-vulture-1574180__340

What kind of quiz are you?

Yes, I’ve found another personality test, but this one doesn’t take itself seriously. It told me nice things about myself, and I suspect it will do the same for you. It’s refreshingly light and humorous, so I don’t have to be.

It told me:

For you, life is carefree! You manage stress well. Also, you like it when things are laid out for you and you can choose which one is best. Rather than always knowing the answer, your strength is figuring out what the best answer is from the options. Sometimes, your friends and family aren’t exactly sure where you’re going, but you know that, whatever the future brings, you’ll handle it with ease. Best pet: Goldfish. No, vulture. Wait, piranha. Hold on a minute… Best home: An RV with at least two entrances and plenty of gas.

See? It’s fun, although it’s not entirely accurate (I don’t like fish), it’s halfway there, since I’m quite keen on vultures.

For those of you who feel like spending the next  five minutes of your life smiling, here’s the test.

Now I’ll write a sensible  poem….

maybe.

I won’t link this post to the word prompt 😉

©Jane Paterson Basil