Category Archives: poetry

I’m All Right

“I’m all right,
I’m all right, I’m all right,”
that tired mantra frequently uttered, repeated
until with sham faith, I’d stumble to my feet and act out life.

“I’m all right,
I’m all right, I’m all right.”
Recited each time my children tripped and I tumbled,
and, while I was not all right, yet the repetition
brought fumbling relief to the thundering danger and fear,
easing the hellish days and nights,
those weeks and years when the jealous witch of addiction
jigged a street-dumb death-wish into my drug-juggling offspring.

“I’m all right,
I’m all right,” I’d recite.
They didn’t die, and I have kept my sanity
in a wild variety of ways; oft in anger, raging, shaking,
weeping tears of horror, grief and fear of loss,
yet sometimes waiting patiently,
for my children to come back to me.

Now I can say it candidly,
I’m all right.

.

It’s been an emotional evening. My recovering daughter was here on a flying visit, dropping off some fabric for me to make into curtains for her. My son hasn’t come looking for me for almost two months, but – purely by chance – he showed up during the hour or so that Laura was with me. I wouldn’t have risked letting him in if she hadn’t been present.

I’m glad I did…

©Jane Paterson Basil

Here’s a fun one

The Daily Post’s word prompt for today is RECITE. It’s a good word which inspired a poem using anagrams.

(With) ice
I erect Eire
Ere I tire,
I retire.

Done. Now onto the important business of the day, which is:

king-vulture-1574180__340

What kind of quiz are you?

Yes, I’ve found another personality test, but this one doesn’t take itself seriously. It told me nice things about myself, and I suspect it will do the same for you. It’s refreshingly light and humorous, so I don’t have to be.

It told me:

For you, life is carefree! You manage stress well. Also, you like it when things are laid out for you and you can choose which one is best. Rather than always knowing the answer, your strength is figuring out what the best answer is from the options. Sometimes, your friends and family aren’t exactly sure where you’re going, but you know that, whatever the future brings, you’ll handle it with ease. Best pet: Goldfish. No, vulture. Wait, piranha. Hold on a minute… Best home: An RV with at least two entrances and plenty of gas.

See? It’s fun, although it’s not entirely accurate (I don’t like fish), it’s halfway there, since I’m quite keen on vultures.

For those of you who feel like spending the next  five minutes of your life smiling, here’s the test.

Now I’ll write a sensible  poem….

maybe.

I won’t link this post to the word prompt 😉

©Jane Paterson Basil

Character Flaws

characterflaws-a-

The secret with character flaws is to broadcast them
………………before they’ve been noticed.
……………………………That way,.folks will consider you
…………………………………………..quirky and adorable,
………………………whereas if they discovered them by chance
….they may think you fake and deceitful.

©Jane Paterson Basil

Stirrings of the Mind

My thoughts have been a bit disordered lately, with the result that I keep starting poetry and not finishing it. None of it seems good enough. This morning, I woke up feeling insignificant. After doing a few things around the flat, I switched the computer on and decided I’d do a bit of reading. The first post I came to was written by Reena Saxina, and it changed my outlook.

Just like that.

I couldn’t miss the opportunity to share this lovely poem on my blog.

I hope it has a similar positive effect on my readers.

Reena Saxena

The incessant buzz

of thoughts that shatter

thoughts that inspire

thoughts that pass unnoticed

unnerve me.

My ideas are raw,

unfinished, unsophisticated

likely to be scorned

or laughed at.

I silence the voice.

The bees in my bonnet

have multiplied

they do not let me sleep

threatening an explosion

if not released.

Expression helps sanity

I am not God, but

it is nothing to be scoffed at

I have a sane voice

amidst loud, ungodly creatures.

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Message to Saturn

saturn.jpg

Waking,
wondering why or where I am on this weighted planet.

Breakfast waits
while I bring to mind the shape of yesterday
and my cause for tomorrow.

Light that once burned with promise now fades
into a child’s fairy tale pages,
whose favourite rhymes are yellowed by the worn thumbs of time.

Jaded by the world’s repeated spin
an aching stiffness plays in wintering hips,
bringing hints of grief to be shaken free, unstirred by memories
which clamour to be heard.

Saturn looms in wait
to hang new rags befitting of increasing age.
I cannot know the nature of the cloth he brings to me;
He holds his dim-lit secrets close.
I will not see till richest jewels embed red velvet robes,
or humble sackcloth meanly coats my modesty.

Yet he may choose to steal away my mind,
taking every gleaming gem and cleansing all the dirt of my design,
to leave me naked,
staring blindly through dementia’s whitened eyes.

Should this be my dusty fate,
if I can find whatever courage it may take
to face the kingly bringer of old age,
maybe I’ll be bold enough to beg one small request,
and this is what I’d hope to say:

Saturn, through the changing milky way, you have viewed my every inch of life, my ant-like triumphs, my small mistakes, my deepest suffering and my utmost joy.

You know I’ve borne three daughters and one boy, and with their children we have built a family that is more than life to me. If you insist, then whip away those cherished memories, and those from childhood days when love for mother reigned supreme.

Rob me of the lifelong passion I have carried hidden deep – the one enduring dream which freed my breath and eased my nighttime sleep. Take the trees I climbed, take my friends and my possessions, my ego and desire.

Take the earth and take the last remains of smoky fire.

Hack away the tangled rope of sanity.

But please
leave the one perfect moment that my life contained —
you know the one I mean:
That simian day beneath a beating sun;
a silly prank while in midst of friendly fun,
Russian-marching down the road, kicking high, grinning wide.
He grabbed my ankle, held on, made me hop.
Humorous indignity multiplied by unbridled hilarity
ached in my sides,
while occupants of passing cars laughed; became part of our antics
and I held a fine balance beneath a magic sky.

There in the eye of the mad storm of chortling glee,
I felt the peoples of the world reach out in quest for peace
as the earth briefly spun into line.

You remember it, Saturn, bringer of old age and senility —
who could forget the moment when eternity stood still,
and for an instant,
pain, suffering and death did not exist;
nothing remained but love,
and love was the funniest thing.

You and your sibling Planets froze in space,
awaiting that moment —
that quintessential moment —
to pass,
that you may resume
spinning.

Please,
let what little I have left
be the funniest thing.

.

©Jane Paterson Basil

All Of The Pieces

Only four days after posting John T Wood’s ‘Poem for Everyone’ I’ve stumbled on another rare poetic treat. Written by Carol J. Forrester, it contains echoes of Wood’s poem – purely by chance, since Carol wasn’t aware of its existence until today – but tells a different story.

Writing and Works

I’m far too good at handing over pieces of myself

and it’s a wonder that there’s any of me left to give.

Each time, I held my heart with both hands.

Shattered it with a white knuckle grip

and offered out the fragments like bon-bons,

melting and sticky in my palm.

I should have kept them closer,

away from those who saw only wrappers

and threw them aside without thought.

Others tucked them into corners

or placed them on shelves out of sight

out of mind.

No one realised I’d become a jigsaw.

Not until you.


Daily Prompt: Delivery

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Charred remains

forest-fire-424

You delivered him in pain,
yet with his emergence, pain eased
and love took its place.

His innocent face,
his little boy’s embrace –
they were sweet life to you,
and you trusted that nothing he would do
could take that away.

Slowly he grew.
You heard rumours,
but you didn’t think they were true;
each time he looked at you,
you got lost in his eyes;
taken in by his lies.

When deceit comes easy to a child,
danger can ensue,
and though he later rues his wayward ways,
he is not wired for change.

Thrills burn bright, making sparks fly;
they alight on those he claims to love the most.
When storms rage, the fire dies
leaving a lonely hole,
dusted with the charred remains of all your hopes.

You delivered him in pain,
and through the tender, loving years,
you tried to teach a better way to be,
yet failed to keep him safe.

Blackened by the flames,
flattened by the falling rain,
still you would willingly risk any pain
if you could only make him well again,
but you have no potency to deliver him
from the grip of his sickness.

.

The Daily Post #Delivery

©Jane Paterson Basil