Category Archives: hurt



at the apex of hurt
the spirit slips to a safe place
watches curtains billow
plucks daisies, thinks about cake
then loses its kindly grip

always, when you fall
you land on the knife

each slash feels like
the worst
the final
the killing cut

 but you stagger to your feet
disguise the festering gash across your face
so it looks like a smile

you tell yourself



. . .

©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

The words hurt

Today in The Sandbox Challenge (16), my wise friend Calen asks us:

If you could foresee one accomplishment in your future, what would you like it to be?

If I could only accomplish one thing for the rest of my life, it would be to get my memoir published.


when I began it seemed so easy
even when the words hurt
when the truth I had placed in those air-tight cases –
(lead-lined, so even the sour fragrance could not reach me )
escaped, attacking my face, my scalp, my
poor childish heart
felling me, bending me double –
even then I stretched my fingers again
removed my distant history
(I will harbour no excuses, no self-pity)
and continued with my woeful tale
of failure and threatening doom
until the full story was spilled

I rarely paused to think
until it was all written
I immediately began my first edit
but within minutes I wished I had
digital elbows
to electronically push away the grasping memories
which radiated through my eyes and into my gut

when I lived through those days, those years
each new terror turned a page on the last and
there was no space beside my fear for tomorrow
to meditate on yesterday
but it never went away
it just waited until I was ready to pull it all out
examine it
and although I wished I had never begun
still I continued,
through my second and even my third edit
even to my fourth
but with forty pages to go I am sore all over
and though eager to complete the healing process
I have slowed to a stop
I want to rest

but every day I delay
could take away an opportunity
to make a difference in some small corner of the world
my story could help someone
in some tiny way

©Jane Paterson Basil

She’s Done It Again


I have exercised my brain, trained it to take the pain
and learnt to stay well in spite of the strain
as they released the abuse with each fleeting caprice,
teaching each other how to steal a bigger piece of me,
to fleece my peace of mind
and my wallet and stability
I’ve increased my ability to lift my leaden feet
and stare steadfastly ahead of me
treading where it’s safe
delicately threading my way around the pain
and every time it’s easier to do it all again

But sometimes I take a tumble and I crumble inside
when she shouts and she mumbles and there’s nowhere to hide
from her unloving and unlovable drug touched madness
as she fills my aching soul with anger and sadness
the crushing heartbreak is too much to take
my knees start to bend and my body folds double
my head feels heavy and I know I’m in trouble
as I sink to the floor and roll myself tight
my heart is loudly pounding like it’s ready for a fight
to stop a choking groan I close my throat up tight
fog is roaming round the room and it’s limiting my sight
my skin is buzzing and there’s screaming in my ears
my brain is talking to my body but my body can’t hear

I find a soothing phrase and say it over and over
and with every repetition I can feel myself recover
I remove every inch of metaphorical slime
then I take up my laptop and I write this rhyme.

© Jane Paterson Basil