In long-gone days, the wraith came at my beckoning, materialising clear as a leaf in a clean running stream brightly clad in nature's hues With wings of light she'd flitter through fields greeting trees, spinning in whirling dervish twirls till balance failed and she fell helpless with glee revelling in endless freedom I watched her mount the Oak, childish fingers clutching ever slimmer limbs climbing high higher Taunting a fleeting theory of God challenging death placing her feet on the flimsiest twig willing the wood to take her weight even as she dared it to defy her credence that her breath would never cease Frozen in time, the child remains forever nine When the world growls and bites I call her and she arrives. She always shows consoling me through the years with her reminder of joy Time breathes mist over my eyes and leads my senses toward a vacuum, yet still from time to time my wraith twists through the claws of time lending me memories of crowning days. Her margins have long since blended into the landscape, her flesh faded to grey evaporating into smoke Her diaphanous wisp floats over fields and streams beside my childhood home; the ghost of the child who was me and I recall that once upon a time I felt immortal and believed I was free ©Jane Paterson Basil
He said the cracks admit the light, yet the fissure in my mind e x p a n d e d and as the split widened dusk dismissed the sun. -------------------- ©Jane Paterson Basil
A beautifully crafted poem penned by my guest poet, PW.
Abuse can take so many forms the worst of which a bitch that's scorned who shoots untruths from lips not hip each time her man takes stand or slips. Her hands hold grip around your throat and with her words she bounds and chokes. No room to breathe, your freedom gone and with it youth, the truth along with peace of mind and decent times - deceit then reaps to beat you blind. So blind in fact your tragic eyes can't see the traps or magic die. Imagine why, I can't, can you? She kills the thrill of love so true then blues come back with blackness too to swallow up and hollow you. On borrowed time, the signs were clear as years of tears had disappeared the hope you held so very tight to live and love and bury spite. My plight can't end, my friends are hers to bend and break, my mates dispersed and curse me now just how she likes while I bleed red on beds of spikes. She fed them lies and tied them well while hellish bouts of shouts and yells consume me still and fill my mind, an ever-growing hill to climb. So now I know, I start to grow and leave behind the crime and crows and start out fresh the best I can but torn, I warn the rest of man - don't be a sap, this patterns old. Be bold and brave, don't slave or fold and hold your head up high and cope, don't mope, just mend. I'm sending hope. ©PW
PW’s heartrending verse highlights the sad fact that men – as well as women – are sometimes subjected to repeated acts of abuse… yet their voices are rarely heard or listened to.
They stutter and creep along filth-ridden streets, tattered sleeves hiding the blood as it seeps, far from the arms of mothers who weep. Turn away, cover your eyes, blind to the shame of the crimes you perceive as you hurry away from the flesh-eating streets. They wade through the scud of society's greed, shuffling their feet, hungry for succour then numbed by fulfilment of lethal need. Turn away pretend you don't see, blind to the shame of the streets of pain or blaming the victim for all our mistakes. They're slipping through cracks between fleshly paving; our brothers and sisters struggle and bleed and end on those streets. Who finds the dead and where are they buried? Do we really not notice? How can we not care? How can we not weep as they slip between the cracks created from selfish greed. Few of us focus and few of us see that there but for fortune or luck of the genes go him and her and you and me. There but for fortune go we. ©Jane Paterson Basil
©Jane Paterson Basil
Written for Word Of The Day Challenge: Reflect
With apologies to the oft-disputed author of ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas
It's a dim little Christmas we're having this year, stranded from family and friends we hold dear. Factions are splattered all over the place, there is fear and denial, ragr and bad grace. World leaders sit haggard on prickly fence while scientists struggle to make them see sense. Conspiracy geeks prittle predictable prattle and the papers continue to treat us like cattle. Mother is shielding and father is fraught by the dreadful cost of the gifts that he bought. Business is failing, his debts are a-growing, since Covid put paid to the seeds he was sowing. His children are sleeping in confident bliss faithfully dreaming of generous gifts. Santa has packed up his sleigh with great care, he's padlocked his storehouse and fed his reindeer. He's flying up high on his usual rounds; although visits are tricky, he won't let us down. Since rulings preclude him from entering chimneys he drops down the presents and flies away nimbly, with a groan in his throat and a tear in his eye; he'd be glad of a drink or a lovely mince pie, to fill his fat belly and give his heart ease - but he cannot risk catching a nasty disease. As he smoothly directs his crew through the air, he's pleased to be giving but filled with despair. He reflects that it's been a difficult year: There's lots of goodwill, but damn little cheer.
©Jane Paterson Basil
Winter had clung, its bitter wrap of ice-flinted snow suffocating fleets of sunny seasons, clenching my gut. Fevered hope pricked me with uneven heat. Faith was feeble, thin; a hand-spun fishing line, plucked from the gleam of halcyon days; it frayed and broke, frayed and broke, to be knotted again and again; my fumbling fingers fighting in vain to cease their trembling shake. In the end, estrangement felt safer, less painful, yet when it came, it bit, it stung; as events remained uncelebrated and months mounted, it ate me away. Sometimes, change is sudden: as if on a whim, the world spun, whipping up a conglomeration of fear and isolation, an unheeding pandemic of sickness and death, yet grace was the gift this year brought me; banishment hit him, helped him to battle his searing addiction; his demons had scarred him but now they were bleeding, while his wounds were healing; I could see they still ached, but Spring had returned. Reunited with my child, with pride and relief I can see he carries the family genes: the blood of the Phoenix surges through his veins. ©Jane Paterson Basil
Over the past few months, I’ve found it difficult to write. I put this down to the fact that my soul is less tortured. So, last Friday I began a poetry course which was offered by our County Council as part of a mindfulness programme, to help people through the difficulties of Covid, so it wasn’t really designed for poets. However, I thought it would be useful as a kind of refresher. The above poem is the fruit of my first session’s labours. I hope you like it x
You can't beat addiction by beating the addict; it will hitch up their need to reach for a fix. Shame on your actions, you showed no compassion. You oppressed and tormented and drove her to drink, then you slammed her and thrashed her, but she didn't sink. Throughout your life and long after you died her beautiful spirit and body survived. ©Jane Paterson Basil
Nobody told me you say: no-one explained; it seems at each road you pay a toll. Where crossroad meet, signposts scribe lies, or mud smudges each destination, you claim. You've lost control: you never know where the next path will lead. Looks like a dead-end street. Your hands shake, shame numbs your brain. So many mistakes. Nobody told you, you say, then you heap blame on those who are blinded like you. Loved ones tried, their words blurred by your need, your potential curdled by wild hurtle into dim thrill of needle and sleep. Deep sleep just short of eternal. Mornings bring cravings, day follows day filled with theft and sale, theft and sale to pay for your sleazy escape again and again. Always the same peppered with desperate efforts and creasing failures and cramping pain and careless mistakes and fleecing arrests and imprisoning cells while your head forever screams to be clean, while your need to appease the clamouring beast that clamps your frame and grabs your guts and clings to your skin and kidnaps your mind and steals your very being rejects the thought. ... How times change: these days you clean my home, cook my meal. We share expenses and I marvel at your strength of will. I ask you: what was the defining moment that inspired you to strive for the light? This is how you reply: I gazed at the signpost ahead and as I wiped the mud which had blinded my eyes, I read where each of three roads led. the first was a dire, familiar trail, the second pointed to sudden death. I chose the third road, the hard road, the right road, the sane road, the safe road, the stuttering shock. It was a toll I had to pay: that searing act of cleansing agony. I'm glad I grappled through the pain which led me back to hope and health. ©Jane Paterson Basil
Just lemme fly, I’ll death defy.
I miss the bliss, regrets and lies.
I wished for this, I’ll testify to dish Death’s kiss
and let me die…
A change of plan please if I can.
I’ve spanned and scanned of all lands and sands,
and stand a brand new, handsome man,
with standing, standards and a clan.
I cannot stand those scams I ran,
I danced and sang, while ranting slang,
I sang my sting to land it in.
It’s branded in, I planned to win.
There’s more to this than meets the eye,
ignore the shit, the streets passed by,
the struggle and the drugs,
I’ve tumbled into humble love.
©Paul David Ward
Since the lockdown, I have strayed further than ever from my blog. My normal activities have been replaced by gardening; sowing seeds, watering them, pricking them out, and clearing space in a disorganised communal garden that had to be cleared of masses of montbretia, ivy, creeping buttercup, dock, dandelions, bindweed, wild garlic, three-cornered leak (often mistaken for wold garlic, but even more invasive and less useful in the kitchen) and several kinds of annual weeds. I’ve been moving – or dispensing with – ill-placed plants and pruning untidy or overgrown shrubs.
I am exhausted from the time I roll out of bed until I crawl back in. My back and my legs constantly ache. My emotions are released: I cry at the drop of a hat.
And… I am happy, filled with a joy that is far less tinged with fear than could be expected during this pandemic. My son and I are rebuilding our relationship
When I took out the restraining order on my son, I knew the risks and they terrified me, but I also knew that the risk of not doing so was greater. For years I had been losing the bright, funny son that I loved so much. I had watched him turn into a sick, drug raddled, destructive stranger. He had to strike out on his own; to do or die – perhaps literally. I had known for a long time that I couldn’t help him to survive.
He didn’t die. He suffered, and that terrible suffering brought him back to the fold. We have not yet spoken since there is a danger that my voice could be a trigger for him, so the only contact I have with him is through text messaging. He sends me his poems and tells me what he’s been doing (deep cleaning and decorating his flat, drawing… and writing, of course), what he would like to do (he’s looking for voluntary aid work, but his record could go against him).
The blood of the phoenix runs through his veins. In addition to having cut out drugs and alcohol, he’s also in recovery from an abusive relationship with a very damaged young woman. He says his poetry helps him to work through his issues. He’s agreed to me posting some of his poems, and I am honoured to do so.