Category Archives: poetry

I Will be Safe

I built my mansion from moonlit bricks,
painted it with pale rays of dawn,
created terraces and lawns
bordered by dwarves of nature’s ornamentation
to afford unscathed sight from here to the horizon.

I live in solitude,
play silent movies in my mind,
warm these tired hands on gaps between grey matter,
my muslin shroud
became a rippling gown
that flutters with grace.
My swish and swirl emulate a silvery darling
from yesteryear’s screen,
my hair rests in whimsical wisps,
the tilt of my chin apes inborn dignity.

Gleaming walls recede in awe,
trusting authenticity,
ignorant of my history.

Even beneath these palatial ceilings
I feel tall.

“I
am safe,” I tell the echoing rooms,
“no corners to cut me, no rugs on which to slip and break,
no stove to sear my skin.”

No fire, no ice,
no storm within these sturdy walls.

The drapes shiver;
their drifting folds whisper a warning;
“There is danger beyond our weft.”

A slight figure approaches;
this midnight ghost has tricked the sun into shining on him.
Cloaked in the clothes that he chose two decades ago,
he droops on the lawn, his false frame shaking,
his face describing hunger, grief.

“Mummy, mummy, please,
it’s cold outside,
please love me,
please don’t leave me to die.”

He looks like my child,
moves and sounds like my only son,
but an ogre has invaded his soul.

I try to say, “Go away,
leave me alone,”
but my throat closes, allowing only choked shreds
of ragged breath.

I cannot close the windows; their hinges stray,
leaving a gaping space
with no fingerhold, no latch, no lock
to keep them closed.

Like a lisping snake, he slips through the gap,
then, like a demon displaying its teeth,
his figure expands to the height of six feet.

I race through my tainted haven,
bare feet slapping smooth cedar floor,
course words chasing me, describing obscene hate.

I find no corner in which to hide,
no wardrobes, no outsized drawers.
No leaden bolts nor wooden weight
to press against the doors.
No clear escape
from the raging, shapeshifting monster who grows
with every step that he takes.

My only hope is outside.
I will plant my toes between roses,
feed the dirt with grated love
to cultivate my thorns.
In the garden, my organic armour will grow.
My dress will get torn. It will fall away,
but my petals will glow and fade to be replaced
in synchronicity with the seasons.
I will regain my freedom.
I will be safe.

.

©Jane Paterson Basil

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The Tears I Waste on You

You besmirched this mother’s love
with every chunk of scum that you could scrape up
from the murky lanes.
You crushed me with the weight of waste
until your insults filled my soul with so much pain
that I could no more bare to gaze upon your face
or glance into your eyes, or hear the lies
that dripped from lips whose smiles
once brought me mindless joy.
I’ve closed my door and turned away;
no more can you abuse, manipulate
or scream your dirty words of hate at me.
The tears I waste on you
will all be shed in secret and in shame;
I will never let you see them,
for if you did you’d use them as you do;
to stuff my shelves with toxic space and steal the gain.

I’ll dance in gardens where my finest flowers bloom;
admire their colours, breathe their sweet perfume.
I’ll tell my friends the sturdy stems have healed my wounds;
they do not need to know I ache for you.

The day might come when empathy sinks through your skin;
should that blazing dawn arrive
I recommend you pray that I shall be awake,
and furthermore that I
shall clearly recognise the change.

©Jane Paterson Basil

No Pain

Last night

rotted by toxins

the branch broke.

I would not have believed

that all these years of ache and tears

could be so briskly whisked away

by the last straw,

yet today

the wound

leaves no pain.

.

I haven’t posted here since the first of January; my depression has been so severe that I didn’t feel able to write. Suddenly, big changes have come into force. This post is to reassure you that I’m still breathing, and the air is clean.

©Jane Paterson Basil

 

 

The New Year Game

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Fat from festive meat
we rise from fusty beds
to saunter through the samey sales
displaying goods that we would like
and tacky trash that we don’t need
all for half of last week’s retail price.
We storm heaped halls with gastric greed
to raise our weighty store of treats,
selecting children’s food that children shouldn’t eat,
and children’s drinks that children shouldn’t drink,
adding trendy fizzy wine
in case a neighbour calls in by surprise.

As we display this toxic waste
on tables laid with paper plates,
we flick away mistakes we made in 2 0 1 and 8
and soon we celebrate the dawning of
the final slice of this decade.

Around the globe
at spaced-out times, midnight strikes.
While fireworks flash
and mobiles hum with messages of risen love
and bloodstreams pump with liquid cheer
we raise a long-legged crystal glass, and toast
the birthing of another year.

Another year, and still
next morning dawns the same as yesterday.
We wake with hopes defiled by stiffened bones and aching head,
to ascertain how easily our drunken vows
can be returned to barren dust,
to join the wasted lore of history
that sweeps,
ignored,
along the planet’s turgid crust.

Sober now, we recall
the calendar is just a tool
that helps us map the time and organise our lives.
The opening page contains no magic cure,
and yet we fling last-minute dreams
of global health and lasting peace
toward a blurry breeze each New Year’s Eve.

But if we eke out all our vows
freeing them to thrive throughout our lives;
if we strive each day to turn away from pricking pain
and reach for solidarity;
if we close our eyes to our own gain and focus on another’s needs;
if we try, at every opportunity
to make our world a kinder place,
I believe we will succeed.

.


<<@

My New Year wish for everyone:

May we all find ourselves in a kinder place in 2019 and throughout our lives.

May we all share the kindness.

<<@


 

©Jane Paterson Basil

Christmas Catatonia

Both day and night
I keep my windows opened wide,
inviting chill winter air
to reside in my bones.

Voices from outside break into my thoughts;
greetings, brief weather-based talk,
merry Christmas and goodbye.

Along the road beyond,
motorists consider last-minute gifts
they plan to buy,
While they whizz through supermarkets picking up too much food.
Soon they’ll scrape the waste into the bin,
saying that next year
they won’t get so carried away,
adding that everyone had a good time
and that’s the main thing.

In the distance, I picture busy shops,
imagine men choosing frillies and fripperies in an instant,
irate mothers queueing to pay
for Uncle Ray’s aftershave,
grandma’s pot-pourri.
While they grab extra chocolates just in case,
children wriggle,
itching for the big day.

In houses all around, parcels
pile high beneath Christmas trees.
Soon, floors will be festooned
with discarded ribbon and glittery litter.
Kitchens will be fragrant with rich flavours.
Kids will bounce and shout,
too overwhelmed to play with new toys.
Grandparents will recall when Christmas
contained both less and more.
Families will be cosy
behind closed doors.

Tables will be lined up in church halls,
serving turkey to the dispossessed.

The date for posting gifts and cards
has passed.
While there is still time
to buy gifts,
I cannot whip up a miracle
inspiring this hiccupping brain
to make it right.

With windows opened wide
I feel the winter air
bite my bones.
I focus on the cold,
noting that my emotions are not frozen,
only edged
with ice.

This year, all I can provide
is love, and a crossed-finger vow
that the ice
might melt
tomorrow.

©Jane Paterson Basil

Hell on Earth

sleep

It might be
the feeling of falling,
the expanding mushroom,
or the looming forms of the killing  gang
which triggers your  manic panic,
freeing the strangled scream
that brings you back.

In sleep
you cannot maintain that level of terror,
so you wake.

While you wait for your heart
to locate its resting beat,
you rationalise,
navigating the nightmare,
plotting its course,
hunting its cause.
You remind yourself
it was only a dream.
Reaching for reassurance,
you progress from chewed candy meditation
to itemising your brightest blooms,
plucking up jewelled previews
until you feel safe.

But when
every day
you wake slowly and late
your brain un-sieged by devilish make-believe,
yet you are the embodiment of dread,
you know your hell is real.

.

©Jane Paterson Basil