Category Archives: love

Threads

I humbly aspire to be
like mychorrhizal fungi
reaching for miles
in a symbiotic relationship with struggling life
feeding, interweaving, healing

I wish we all could be
like mychorrhizal fungi
with fingers that tie
and knit together the frayed ends of life
giving, interweaving, healing

If we could all be
like mychorrhizal fungi
we could fill the sky
with our threads, we would nurture every life
loving, interweaving, healing

©Jane Paterson Basil

Blue without you

BeFunky Collage Sock

Maybe I seemed to take you for granted,
maybe you always felt supplanted
by my oft and careless controlling acts,
but I thought you wanted to tread in my tracks.
I always loved both of you equally,
you and your sister were kind to me.
We walked about the world with pride.
the two of you marching side-by side
while with my feet I’d lead the way,
revelling in our intimacy.

I feel the guilt; was I to blame
for your twin sister’s grief and shame?
While wrapped around my toes she stares
at my left foot so stark and bare.
I haven’t the heart to put on my shoe
and cover that sad scrap of blue.
Friends may shake their heads and say
“y
You’ll have to throw that sock away –
it has no use with out it’s twin.
Put it behind you and start again.”

I haven’t the heart to forget the past,
I thought I’d found a love to last.
I should have checked the washing machine –
I blanch at what a fool I’ve been.
Two socks went in, just one came out
and though I’ve wept and searched about
the sock is gone, it is not there
and I am broken past repair.
Oh! blue cotton beauty, come back to me,
I’ll love you throughout eternity.

©Jane Paterson Basil

Adonis with a rueful smile

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When, at night
I curl to welcome sleep
behind wrinkling lids I see you
my Adonis with a rueful smile
flicking your head
an anarchic lock of flopping blonde hair
flies back to reveal eyes of steely blue
giving you a momentarily clear view
before the golden curtain falls again

and although
for many years I haven’t seen your face
the distance between those days and these
shrinks each evening at the setting of the sun
as again in disbelieved innocence
we whisper our forbidden love

you still remain and always will
my Adonis with a rueful smile
who with voice of wild silk
eases me sweetly into sleep

©Jane Paterson Basil

The Sandbox Writing Challenge — Exercise 3

This week, in The Sandbox Writing Challenge, my good friend Calen challenges us to explain; What is it that keeps you from being still?

Since I became a parent, I have always found it difficult to relax. My daughter needed me, so I had to survive. As a child I had thought myself indomitable – surely, nothing could kill me, but the responsibilities of adulthood forced me into a new reality, and suddenly I found myself walking carefully on slippery surfaces, avoiding climbing ladders, being over-cautious when I crossed the road. I became secretly nervous of sharp knives; fearful of inadvertantly cutting my throat as I was slicing carrots.

I knew I was not immortal after all, and that meant I had a limited time to do everything that needed to be done in this life. My obsession with work, of any kind, started gradually, but accelerated. Throughout my mid to late twenties I found it hard to sit and watch TV unless I had sewing or crochet in my hands.

At about the age of 30 I left a good, caring, non-abusive husband and father. I brought misery onto myself and my two young children by living with the man who became the father of my third and fourth child, even though I had quickly realised that I should get away from him fast. I felt tangled, unable to make the necessary break .

I got a nasty gall-bladder infection which wasn’t treated until one of my older daughters found me collapsed late at night on the stairs, clutching the bannister, weakly crying and groaning, unable to go back to bed because the pain was so intense. She somehow made my step-father accept that which he had so far ignored; my for urgent medical treatment. Up until that moment he had pretended that there was nothing wrong with me – that I was being a drama queen, and I didn’t have the strength to stand against him. I suppose Sarah must have shamed him into action that night. I expect that she and her sister thought I was dying, and I felt as if I was.

The doctor told me that his medical intervention had probably saved my life, but without the quick-thinking of Claire, and the courage of Sarah, in standing up to her intimidating step-father, I would not have been taken to the hospital.

I was ill for ages, bedridden and exhausted. I don’t know whether it went on for 3 months or a year. I was in too bad a condition to be aware of the time. Gradually I recovered, spending less and less time in bed, until at some point I regained some kind of normality.
I was more aware than ever before, that, like all mortals, my time on this earth was limited, and that is when my obsession really took over.

I could die at any minute. Any of us could. I had to decorate the bedroom, crochet a bedspread, build shelves in the kitchen, strip the paint off every wooden surface in the house – and then seal the timber, build a wall in the garden from vintage bottles, re-model the bedroom furniture we had just bought for Paul, so that it fitted exactly…

This went on for years, until I left that man, and lived in a series of tatty flats with my older daughters, who were teenagers by this time. They needed to get away from him. He wanted to keep the two younger children, pointing out that he was only two minutes away from the school. I agreed, provided I could have them with me over the weekends and any other time that they or I liked, AND provided he found a way to undo the damage that he had done them. He had turned my beautiful Laura and Paul into nightmare children, with his inconsistant behaviour as a father, bullying and creeping in turns, shouting and yelling, and then giving in to things he shouldn’t have. I thought, and still think, that his bad parenting was more an attack on me than anything. I said we must be consistant, so he just had to do the opposite. I really believed that once I was out of the picture he would sort his crap out. As it turned out, he made no effort whatsoever.

Away from him I felt safer. I didn’t have to be constantly improving things. This is a revelation – it’s only as I write it that I realise it to be true. I was no longer under his thumb, so the fear of death was removed. All of these years I’ve revisited the horror of the fact I could have died because he actively discouraged me from going to a doctor, but it never occurred to me that he made me feel endangered!

Life became more fun. I began to re-connect with Sarah and Claire, and to feel like myself again. They brought their friends back. I learnt to smile and to laugh again. Claire fell in love. Laura was very fond of her boyfriend, and Paul adored him. Nobody had ever treated paul in quite the way that Mark did. Time went on, and Claire became pregnant. We took this shock in our stride. She was young, but they wanted the baby. We’d get by. I was going to help them to bring him up. Everything would be fine.

When Mark died, suddenly and unexpectedly of acute pulmonary pneumonia – seven weeks before the birth, our lives spiralled. I had to take care of Claire, but Paul was devastated. He hadn’t realised that death could hit so cruelly.

A few months after little Mark was born, my ex-partner began a campaign to win me back. I was impervious to his serenading me, but he worked on everyone he could think of – every family who would listen to him, and my friends. He told them that he was lost without me. That Laura and Paul needed us to be together, as they were still reeling from the tragedy. That he loved me, and if I came back he would behave differently. Paul begged me to return. I knew he was crying himself to sleep every night.

I was torn. I wanted to be with Claire, but also felt that I may be stifling her, making it impossible for her to move forward with her life by babying her. She was a lovely mum, and didn’t need my support any more than any single mum does. I could give her what support she needed without living with her. On the other hand, while the thought of going back to my ex-partner was repugnant, Paul – and Laura needed me.

I went back to that man. Within four weeks he was telling me that he had fallen out of love with me eighteen months ago. That didn’t hurt me, but it made me angry. What on earth was wrong with the dickbrained dick?

But I’m straying from the point, which is that as soon as I went back to him my obsessive workaholic behaviour returned with a vengence. When my gardening obsession hit, I used to pull weeds by torchlight after it got too dark to see. I avoided going to bed until I was dropping from exhaustion, for fear that I would die before my work was finished.

Although I finally left him for good about seven or eight years ago, the need to keep going was firmly fixed by then. Lately I have taken to visiting family and friends as a form of relaxation, because if I don’t, my only moments of relaxation are those enforced on me by visitors to my house – when I don’t truly relax (unless it is a visit from one of my children, which is always a welcome pleasure) because I want to get on with whatever I’m doing, and I’m being forced to sit around doing nothing, and those times when I look up from my laptop as I am working, and watch the wind-turbine turning, or the sun setting. But even then my mind is obsessively searching for lines of poetry.

But sometimes I look up, and a blanket covers my mind. I stare at the metalic angel on the horizon, and the word Angel repeats itself over and over, and everything slips away; my awareness of mortality, my damaged children, the death and the pain and the sickness of the world. For a few moments I am still.

Angel, Angel, Angel.

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Please accept my apologies for the length of this post, and for any typos. I can’t edit it. I can’t re-read it. I can’t look for an image to head it. This is probably the most difficult, shameful, and painful post I have written since I started blogging. If I pause to think it won’t get posted. I promised you honesty, and I give all that I can offer without causing too much pain to those I love.

©Jane Paterson Basil

Mark, still alive in ’95.

For nineteen years he lived.

Just nineteen years.

It’s been nineteen years since his life ceased.

If he was still alive that would have been half his lifetime ago.

He didn’t know how ill he was. He was just tired, and thought he had flu. Peacefully he slipped into his terminal sleep.

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I will never forget you Mark, and this is my tribute to someone I loved as a son, although the feeling crept over me so slowly that I didn’t know it until you were gone.

You were such a large personality, crashing into our lives with your two opposing sides.

The victim of heartbreaking abuse, you had learned to find your own family, and for nineteen years I have felt honoured, that for what turned out to be the last phase of your life, you chose us.

I remember it all; the good and the bad.

The time I discovered you and Claire innocently sleeping side by side when the two of you
were no more than best friends.

The car you built. Like a child you collected up items from around the house, to make into a steering wheel, a gearstick… and then you sat on the sofa, driving your car.

The light in my son’s eyes every time he saw you, the way you spoke to him as an equal although he was only eight years old.

The times your anger and pain came out and you became drunk and offensive.

The times I was hurting and you scooped me up, making me smile and laugh again.

Your hugs. Those hugs like no other.

The time you threatened to hit a guest and I threw you out, not realising that the guest had done something which almost warranted your behaviour.

The night you shyly sang to me, and I had never guessed you had such a beautiful voice.

The three of us, Claire, you and me, walking the yellow brick road.

The way you could sometimes conjure joy from thin air.

The care you took over designing that tattoo for your wrist. Secretly I didn’t want you to get inked; as if you were one of my own, I wasn’t keen on the idea of permanent marks on your skin.

That line you wrote around town beneath your tag “Still alive in ’95.” You couldn’t think of a rhyme for the ’96, and tragically, you didn’t see that year out.

Those silly, loud quarrels you and Claire used to have, disturbing the neighbourhood
and yet at the same time, often entertaining us with your furious words and gestures, while she gave as good as she got.

That soft look on your face as you cuddled the blanket I had crocheted for your unborn baby, just two weeks before you died.

Two days later you and I fell out again and the next day my landlord said that I was not to allow you into his house.

The last time I saw you alive was in the street. We smiled and talked warmly, but I offered no re-assurance that our differences were resolved. I could have spoken up or if I had just put my arms around you there would have been no need for words.

You treated me like your mother. You gave love in so many ways. I wish I had returned that which you earned. I could never have taken the place of the woman who had turned from you so coldly, but I could have tried to repair the hole she had left in your heart, because deep down I loved you.

The truth hit me after the event, and it was doubly hard, because amidst the realisation of my feelings, my main concern had to be for my pregnant daughter, who was grieving the loss of her first real love.

Seven weeks later, in the midst of all of this sadness, your son was born, and named after you.

He has had trials in his life, and seen some terrible things, but he has had the advantage of being loved the way that you deserved to be loved throughout your short life. Although he is his own person, sometimes I look at him, and I think that he is a reincarnation of you. It is as if he rides on the edge of your experiences, taking on board the next stage of the lessons you learnt.

You would be proud of his efforts. You would be proud of his poetic and musical talent, and the way he works towards what he wants. You would be proud of his compassionate and understanding nature.

He will do well.

If you were here with us, when he became unhappy you would lift him and cheer him up as you did me. But you are not here, unless you are he, and if that is so, then everything is as it is supposed to be.

Nineteen years on I still think of you. I still miss you. In death you taught me lessons that may have passed me by, had you lived. Maybe this is because when you were alive the more frustrating side to your nature interfered with the picture, blurring the positive qualities.

You were never able to get a job, because people were too afraid to give you a chance. But your life was not without purpose. Although not in the ordinary way, you gave so many people so much, but like me, they probably didn’t appreciate it until you so shockingly left us.

I hope that you knew in life what some of us only learnt through your death: that you were loved by many.

I am only one of those. The legacy you have left is beyond measure.

© Jane Paterson Basil

3 Quote Challenge. Day 2

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I was chatting to http://patternsofsouldevelopment.com/  (unfortunately, I don’t know her name)  yesterday, about the traditional assumption that a woman who is raped must have been asking for it – yes, that old chestnut. I suggested that a woman who contrives to dress provocatively is generally looking for love in the only way she knows how – although I should have added that often she has such low self-esteem that she doesn’t believe herself worthy of love and is looking for the closest alternative she can get. But I didn’t say that because my comments were already a bit wordy. I find any excuse to rant.
In response, she said something very simple and very astute, and this is my quote for the day:

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We are all asking for love, in all our doings and undoings.

http://patternsofsouldevelopment.com/

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Again I would like to thank Fimnora at Quantum Hermit for inviting me to take part in this 3 quote challenge.

For the challenge, the rules are:
I – Post your favorite quotes or your own quotes for three (3) posts in a row.
II – Thank the person who nominated you.
III – Pass it on to three (3) other bloggers per quote, each time you post them.
IIIb – Or pass it to nine (9) bloggers if you choose to post all the quotes together, in the same post.

These are the three bloggers who I’m inviting to run with the torch today:
Deanne at Deane’s World
Janni at Janniestyles1
Michelle at Random Michelle

© Jane Paterson Basil