Category Archives: metaphor

New Horizons

ship unmoored.jpg

Built well,
but not yet strong enough
to take the heartless weight of dark cargo
dumped deep in her unready  hold,
the beautiful boat became unmoored
from the harbour of her home.

Her anchor slipped through shifting sands
as the ship’s sails were buffeted
by each errant gust of wind.

The rudder broke, the bowsprit split,
the fo’c’sle ghosts awoke and moaned
whilst helplessly she floated to and fro,
sometimes so close that her landlocked crew
had high hopes that they may reach her —
but each time the wild waves beat them back,
leaving them treading water, and her bobbing on the sea,
growing smaller as the winds ripped her sails
and whipped her away.

Gails attacked her lonely deck.
Sea brine ate her failing timbers,
cracked her weakened keel, and seeped into her hull.

At the stroke of doom, a miracle occurred;
drawing her to safer waters.
The tainted cargo began melting away,
and her anchor finally held sway.

When the big ship sailed her way,
its kindly captain saw this brave, but ailing boat.
Throwing her a lifeline, he led her to a safer shore,
where he forged a golden anchor,
replaced her broken parts, reinforced her base,
and painted her in brightest shades,
that she may proudly sail again.

Dedicated to David. You rock!

PS Love to Laura. I see you sail and I’m proud of you. xxx

The Daily Post #Unmoored

©Jane Paterson Basil

Ocean offspring


I watch the balmy sea unceasingly pull from distant haze,
its baby ripples shimmering toward the sand
and as they build to pregnant swell
I still my breath, anticipating
a growing wall of hushing water,
which holds its shape, then
breath-taking seconds, before
its apex breaks to foaming white, and,
like a raging child, it rains those sprays of angry brine
onto the parent sea, which shushes out a lullaby
soothing its spuming loved-one home, to continue its thrilling odyssey,
ever forgiving the offspring’s sins
however great they may be.

©Jane Paterson Basil

Golden warmth


glittering night-time lights illuminate living rooms
fireside flames lick the air into radiant heat
seen from a distance the women
seem to beckon, suggesting a warm welcome
for a grubby, ragged little match seller
but don’t be fooled, those tables groaning with food
are not a feast for the likes of you
when respectable folks see you they won’t let you stay
even the servant girl will turn you away
so strike your last matches
illuminate your face with golden warmth
and when the last one flickers and burns out
a soft angel will carry you to a place of peace
where the weather is always temperate
while upon my head it will rain forever

©Jane Paterson Basil

Full house

Writing 101: Day 5.

Today we are asked to select a tweet and write a post inspired by it. I have chosen:


Once, she was small and innocently alone. As she grew, they moved in, singly, at intervals, wafting the intimate fragrance of their existance. They never aged. Many years passed before she noticed them.

She asked no questions. There was just the freshness of each budding experience. She absorbed, but didn’t recognise the changes. On wild days she inhaled sunshine, ate up the wide grassy tracks with her feet; her eye on today’s exciting target, tomorrow invisible, the previous day less than a memory. Thrilled with her athletic skills, she sometimes felt as if she could fly.

In school, other children milled in distant circles. Bewildered by their otherness, she stared at the sky and dreamed herself different. With her first unseen shadow behind her, she smiled and pictured a future.

Now ageing, she sits by a west-facing window and watches the sun set. Thinly veiled women and children jostle, banging into her, craving rebirth. Each has her little circle of familiars.

She feels pulled in different directions. Briefly she embraces a three year old tot who is making a cake, beating it with a little battery-run mixer. She murmers soothing words to a young woman with a black eye, who limps towards her, needing to be heard. She speaks fondly to a mother with similar features, who cradles a baby.

She tries to ignore the woman with the friendly face who is timidly waving from the corner, concealing her secret misery while she patiently listens to a teenager’s anxst.

Turning back to the window, she spies the boy, leaning against a tree, staring directly into her eyes. He is always there, imploring to be let in, and she finally realises that he is not a boy after all, just a girl who wants to be free.

She is tired. She needs to put her past to bed.

©Jane Paterson Basil

You tell me I am beautiful

Dedicated to my wonderful, supportive readers – I hope you know who you are – with an honourable mention to weirdawesome, who inspired this poem.


like scuffed matchboxes
filled with char-blackened slivers
whose historic flames lit a thousand hidden acts
my tarnished psyche hid in dusty corners
exuding a hallucinatory obsidian gleam
dimly seen through the gaps
between my splitting seams

shimmering and difficult to read
concealing the realities
it hinted at unseemliness
iniquitous dealings
ill-concealed secrets

the roads I walked had seen my every move
the foolishness of my tarnished youth,
the weighted lead so casually assimilated

with shoulders drooped I hung my head in shame
envisioning scorning eyes: the sear of disdain and disbelief

layer by layer I unpeel the tattered shreds of my past
fearfully flattening the folds to reveal each faded crease
every blot of unease, the rips and the holes
made by those wicked souls who abused me
the original pattern, stained and distorted by age
the casual embroidery of my mistakes

I stand raw, nervous, sure I have erred
while you study each flaw in my fabric
you desipher my weave and understand

you tell me I am beautiful
you are beautiful too.

©Jane Paterson Basil