Category Archives: poems

Peace #2

peace symbol

Posted for: Against the Next War.

One word,
spoken in hope by gentle folk,
whispered in prayer by meek souls of faith,
breathed into the air by those who hold out human hope,
sobbed and gasped and beseeched
by the oppressed.
One word, a wish issued
by imploring lips that speak for
you and me, its plea reaching across
the dipping curves and stretched flats of
our burdened planet as it struggles
for its next breath.
One word which will not
be choked back or swallowed by the
butt of a gun pressed into the
tender necks of the
persecuted.
One word whose meaning
we must never forget, whose need
we must understand, no matter
what language
we speak.
One word articulated
by each race and every loving creed.
One word that could
change the
world.
One word:
Peace.

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If this post strikes a chord, please click on Paul’s parent post and his significant follow-up to find out what we are doing and how you can help. You’ll also find pingbacks to related posts.

Join us, and Share, share, share.

©Jane Paterson Basil

 

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Climb Aboard

peacejoinus.jpg

Climb aboard;
all who wish an end to war are welcome;
we beg you to share our message of peace,
that it may reach across the wildest desert,
weave through cities, travel with the waves of the seas
that stroke our shores and soak into our sands.
Let it grow to encompass our nurturing planet;
let every peacemaker of every nation join hands,
and be embraced with love in return.
Let peace become a pandemic
the like of which we have never known.

My dad was a conscientious objector 
who was imprisoned for refusing to kill other men;
for turning down the opportunity to shoot holes in their heads,
to plant land-mines and blow humans to shreds.
He missed the chance to charge into villages;
to burn, rape and pillage.

Despite the claimed cause of our the war,
his decision seemed reasonable to me.

I learned of his humanist history
while my mother held me on her knee,
and, although I had too limited a vocabulary
to arrange the feeling into a neat phrase,
I understood the irony;
had he killed a neighbour in self-defence,
rather than refusing to kill with indifference.
he might have received similar punishment.

When I was a kid, I did a lot of thinking about war; I figured it would be more sensible to select the two best chess players in the countries of enmity and let the winning nation take all. I wondered why it was considered that killing was necessary; It seemed inefficient to me.

I concluded that it must not have occurred to the world governments involved in greed and hate to take such a practical stance.

I planned to write to all heads of state and trusted that they would be grateful, and put my idea into practice.

Non of that happened, of course.

More recently, I had another brainwave; We peacemakers could infiltrate all the places where soldiers are trained for battle; from guerrilla hide-outs to army camps. We’d arm them with cheesecake and fruit and all that is good to eat. We’d teach them to smile and offer food while chatting about their families.

Chocolate guns would be a boon.

That plot fell flat when my best friend said the next war will not be fought by foot soldiers, so I’m joining in with a better plan;

my friends and I invite you to

climb aboard;
all who wish an end to war are welcome;
we beg you to share our message of peace,
that it may reach across the wildest desert,
weave through cities, travel with the waves of the seas
that stroke our shores and soak into our sands.
Let it grow to encompass our nurturing planet;
let every peacemaker of every nation join hands,
and be embraced with love in return.
Let peace become a pandemic
the like of which we have never known.

This was written for our peace campaign which was dreamed up by my amazing friend Paul Sunstone. Yep – remember the name; that man has greatness in him. We want the campaign to go viral. Share his post (see link below) and/or write a post of your own.

Click <<<<<<<HERE>>>>>> to find out more

and find even <<<<<<<MORE>>>>>>>   <——— there

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©Jane Paterson Basil

Crossing the Street

crossingthestreet

“I’m sorry, I don’t carry change.”

That’s what I always say, though sometimes
it’s a lie.

From Goa to Mumbai
it is considered unwise to give to children who beg on the streets;
better to donate to charities that protect them from their tormentors.
I live by that principle on my forays through this English town
where the victims are adult, their tormentors
are chemicals to be melted on a spoon and injected,
and their habit can kill.

These days I rarely engage with them;
they don’t require sandwiches, pasties or practical advice
and I can’t give them a bed for the night, so I can do nothing to assist,
yet those eyes kidnapped me as she begged beside Tesco Metro.

“I’m sorry – I don’t carry change,” I said.

It was the eyes that detained me;
eyes that sang in the storm of cause and effect,
in the chaos what was and what might have been;
eyes that could not be silenced, that trilled above the din,
calmly revealing what she would have liked to conceal,
colouring in the thrill of travel, the regret
of roughened hands which once caressed,
rising to a crescendo to describe the hurricane
that threw her up, and flung her
in the gutter,

and as her eyes glistened,
I listened to the howling wind
as it echoed her dirge of the death
of a wolf of the Steppes,

If we are not all equal, as some believe,
she was much more than many I meet. When we parted,
I flirted with my purse, knowing my money would bring her
a pin-prick of relief, but I crushed the brief temptation,
since it could purchase her doom.

Her eyes watched me while I wrote,
and while I ate and read and slept. When I woke
I thought of her.

Spying from my hallowed side of the street,
finding third parties to relate her trials and treats,
I kept my distance to evade the pain of intimacy,

Just once, I fell again
into those eyes that had swum the skies
before sinking into the blood-flecked mud.
I asked her a question and watched her eyes
while they lied to me.

Her tongue was too noble to verbalise an untruth,
yet her eyes suggested a lie;
thereby giving me fake justification
for my evasion.

Yet I had openly lied to her when I had said
“I’m sorry, I don’t carry change.”

I can’t say I knew her, or that she knew me,
but she affected me.
It seems she touched everyone she met.
I wanted her to find peace, but not like this.

I’m on nodding terms with the other side of the street,
so the news has already reached me:
last night, her spectacular eyes
closed for the final time.

Today, two bodies lie in the morgue,
the tiny one tightly curled in the womb of its mother,
and I try not to weep for the multiple tragedy
of mindless heroin’s dumb victory.

Rest In Peace, Diane

Word of the Day Challenge: Spying.

When I feel inspired, I write a poem before checking out the word of the day. I usually find that it fits. Today is no exception.

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©Jane Paterson Basil

For Eric

First morning of Autumn term.
I’m in the crush-hall, slouching with Bett and Marion,
stuttering into “business as usual” mentality,
shrinking from school-house stink,
bitterly regretting the absence of a time-machine
to take me to last week and drop me in a tree,

when

a cacophany of cat calls;
a confusion of piercing wolf-whistles
rudely explode from 3C’s nuisance crew –
led by Bill, with noisy aid from sidekick Dick and the usual losers.

A wit who is in on the obscure joke
yells “Blossom!”

Clutches of kids spin
away from crude authors to their protagonist;
a casually-dressed grotesque strolling toward us
by way of the students entrance.
Nobody but schoolkids use that door; the teachers
flatten their own, hallowed lane.

 The man  is setting a precedent
which he alone will follow for as long as he can tolerate
hypocrites and foolish heads of schools.

Later, he’ll be known by all as Eric,
sports coach by day,
youth leader in evenings and weekends,
heroic defender of child-friendly themes even while he sleeps.
A man who accepts our weaknesses
as natural or pained stages toward our individual choices  
of growth or decay.
He’ll never trill the truths we know,
instead planting daisies on the paths we scrape,
to illuminate the better way,

In his presence, my self-disgust will shrink,
and forever, memories of his generosity will boost me.
In latter years we will meet by happy accident and chat in the street.
I’ll reminisce, while he will weave his wise philosophy
like an invisible thread, darning the holes in my head.
He’ll speak of his yesterday’s hockey game,
of next week’s holiday in Thailand,
where he’ll visit his adopted son.
He’ll promise me saffron when he returns.
I’ll want to detain him, that I may bask
longer in his company.

In morbid moments I will think of his age, and imagine
that the sky will collapse, the planets collide
the moment he dies.

The Saffron will never arrive; instead a final announcement;
“The well known hockey coach, Eric Gale, after a brief illness…”
for an instant, I will hallucinate;
see the planets crashing to earth, the sun dying,
then his voice will come to me.
saying that life is about giving; in death,
he will never take away.
Grief and abiding gratitude will engulf me.

but today,
I only hear a nickname, “Blossom”,
whose background will remain a mystery.

As he passes through the hall, the bravest rebels repeat:
“Whoa, blossom; drop ’em, blossom,”
yet he smiles benignly, nodding and hello-ing as if
his tormentors are friends.

My friends and I shake our heads,
disgusted by the hecklers,
fascinated even as we are repulsed
by this track-suited, rucksack hugging man whose face
resembles a mismatched collection of unkind jokes
crafted by a demented plastic surgeon.

We do not yet recognise his glory.

Eric passes by,
his smile open, my eyes averted.
I glance at Bill’s elated crew
for a trace of shame,
but that will only come later.

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Written in haste for yesterday and today’s Word of the Day Challenges: Blossom and Abiding

©Jane Paterson Basil

Piffle

naked-pun

Once

a pun a time

saved nine

~~!~~

 Written for the Word of the Day Challenge: Piffle, I present to you part 1 of a 1 part series of short poetry. Each part highlights a single aspect of the nonsense embodied by the word Piffle.

This is both the first and the last poem in a short series which is too sad to make a sandwich, or even to be buttered. It curls alone on the plate, drying to a crisp while readers glance toward it, then look away quickly, embarrassed to witness the shame of this small, tragic pun.

“Take pity,” croaks Pun, its eyes growing hazy, but Pity has changed its name to Party and is celebrating the excellence of metaphor, meter and rhyme. It’s drunk too much wine and has no time for humble Pun, who disconsolately chews a few crumbs of humble pie, a single tear falling from its eye. Just when I think it is losing consciousness, it catches sight of me. It points the withered tail of its P in my direction, and with its dying breath it cries:

“She’s to blame. She made me.”

Fortunately nobody is listening. They’re either at the party, enjoying great poetry, or this nonsense has lulled them to sleep.

I see my mistake now, but I think I’ve got away with it. The poem should say:

Once

a pun in time

saved nine.

THAT makes perfect sense.

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 ©Jane Paterson Basil

Miscalculation

Or

bad-idea-words

Inebriation
Flirtation
Assignation
Sensation
Titillation
Lubrication
Elation
Vibration
Gyration
Deflation
Cessation
Frustration
Castration
Prostration
Hospitalisation
Recrimination
Investigation
Litigation
Mitigation?
Erectile emigration vexation

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Written for the Word of the Day Challenge: Investigation

Inspired by Nestle Five Boys Chocolate

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©Jane Paterson Basil