Category Archives: psychosis

She left me snowdrops

she sends
innocent looking texts
begging my attention, with
overblown love, extravagant kisses
and oft repeated claims of how she longs
to see me,of how greatly she misses me
her words sometimes timerous,
occasionally belligerant
but more often with
faint humility.

she left me snowdrops

however her words sound I need to ignore them,
sincere they may be; I know she adores me, but I also know she wants to destroy me
and as the months stretch, my grief for her recedes an inch
as if she were already dead

but she left me snowdrops
fragrant snowdrops, promising spring
and fresh beginnings

I get regular reminders of her damaging acts,  her statements
to the cops, exempt from facts, false allegations of rape and abuses,
directed at any man who flatly refuses to satisfy her single important aim
by feeding her collapsing greedy veins, and anyone who’s careless enough to care,
will quickly fall into her snare. her former beauty has long since fled,
so she sells ugliness and shame instead. there are plenty
of men with degraded tastes; there are plenty
of men with a longing to abase.

but she left me snowdrops
snowdrops, shy, downcast, not quite meeting my eye
fragrant snowdrops, promising spring
and fresh beginnings

I know her serenade is designed to trap
once she’s lulled me to sleep she’ll bite and snap
she has a dangerous ability to drive me mad
stealing my mind of all the sense I have

but she left me snowdrops
snowdrops, my greatest floral weakness
snowdrops, shy, downcast, not quite meeting my eye
fragrant snowdrops, promising spring
and fresh beginnings

she is broken, I am ripped
I understand she wants to slip
beneath my skin, and break me apart
so she can sink her teeth into my heart
thinking it will finally make us one
tie us in a death-knot
that can never be

so she left me snowdrops
my beloved, lost child left me snowdrops
tiny, dripping tears

©Jane Paterson Basil

Proof of Death

image adapted from Walking Away

when you die
and you see my tears
do not give me
that gleeful smile
don’t flatter yourself
years ago you
took my daughter from me
but in firm denial
I reserved my grief
hoping to save the
one who was
lost to the world
even before you
entered her heart
and devoured her brain
I look at you now and
I know she is dead
but the child in me still
believes in magic
I will not let go
until I see the body

but you don’t die
you just enter another victim

I chose that image because the original looks eerily like my daughter when she was a child. It’s hard to believe that it’s not her.

© Jane Paterson Basil

Frightened and Alone

A gaunt stranger came knocking at my door. She looked a bit like Laura so I let her in. Eyes blank but for a haunted hint of some unknown horror, and with an aura of absence, she stared ahead and remotely she spoke.

I can’t go back to Pete’s, I have to get away

Please tell me where it’s safe for me to stay”

I asked her if my answer would suffice

because she rarely acts upon my advice

but she told me again that she had to leave

I looked at her face and I didn’t believe

that she really intended to carry it through

but I gave her the advice which she already knew

you’ll be safe with you father if you mean what you say”

she told me she’d ring him straight away

that she had no heroin and was ready to cluck

she was staring at the wall in that distracted way

as she stood up and told me that she couldn’t stay

because she had to go back to Pete’s and apologise

because he was probably feeling traumatised

so you’re not getting clean.” I heard myself say

no, I don’t really feel like going away.

I’ll go back to Pete’s and I’ll go to bed.

I’m not getting clean,” my daughter said.

Half-an-hour later Pete rang me. Laura had climbed into his bed and started trying to kiss him. He turned his back on her. She stabbed him in the neck with an 8 inch kitchen knife. She was trying to kill him. He didn’t want to ring the police because he was afraid she may go to prison for attempted murder. In addition to that, some weeks ago she made erroneous statement against him to the police, and he is out on bail. One of his bail conditions is that he is not to have any contact with Laura. She kept going round to his place begging until he let her in. I explained that he was unlikely to get into trouble over that, because the police understand the situation with Laura.

I told him that if he didn’t make the call, I would, and I have done that. I consider that she is a danger to herself and others, and this was the only safe thing to do. I have never seen her looking quite the way she did tonight. During the brief time she was here, it wasn’t Laura but a monster. I think she has found a new legal high which is even more devastating than the previous one.

These days I don’t scare easily.

I’m frightened, and I feel very alone.

© Jane Paterson Basil

The Bottom Of The List

image adapted by Jane Basil from Wikipedia

“Is the sickness within
caused by street drugs?”

the sickness within
resulted in her use of street drugs.
which increased her sickness within.”

“She was already broken…”

“Yes, they all are.”

“Will you mend her?”

“No, she has to mend herself.”

“But she has become more sick
because you failed to treat the sickness
You left her at the bottom of a list.”

“She’s a drug addict now. It’s no longer our responsibilty.”

“But you just admitted….”

“It’s no longer our responsibility.”


If someone you love is endangering themselves with recreational or prescription drugs, you shouldn’t have to suffer alone. These are some of the UK organisations you can contact for advice and support:

© Jane Paterson Basil

Plucking at Something

Here is my take on today’s assignment for the Writing 201 Poetry course: a prose poem about hands, incorporating assonance.


You come to my home uninvited, unnerving me, and although I’m uneasy I silence my tongue, because today your subdued air of submission gives me unaccustomed trust in you. I don’t want to shun you, my unravelled daughter, though my love seems redundant and unkindly used. The cuts and the bruises are ugly and telling, starvation and pallor are are hard to ignore. Your fingers are busily plucking at something under the rubbish in the hub of your bag

And now you are urging for news of your brother, a worrying subject, for one so unwell. I have nothing but good news, which shouldn’t unhinge you but unhealthy thoughts could worry your skull. I plunge the memory of our last discussion under my consciousness as must be done.

He walked out of prison anxious and wary, he was clad in mis-matched minimal garb, because everything he had worn upon entry was already filthy and ripped and marred.His feelings were mixed as he breathed semi-freedom at the side of his case-worker and walked to the car, because under the fear of a failure at freedom, was excitement at the thought of the fun he cound have.

(From under subversive eyelashes I watch you, and see my reluctance was undeserved. You unreservedly absorb every morsel; your abundant joy is undisguised. But still unremitting your fingers keep picking, plucking at something inside your bag.)

When he arrived at the re-hab the staff and residents all reached out a welcoming hand. He was overwhelmed by strange emotions and the push and the pull of feelings within. But he knew that very soon he would settle to a new routine in this friendly regime. He was longing to see his sisters and nephews and for trips to the city during weekends. When we visited him there within hours of his entry we brought him fresh clean jeans and tee shirts, and it was easy to see that he was intending to be a good brother and uncle and son.

I conclude my tale by re-asserting how pleased I am and how terribly proud. I re-assure you of his desire to see you, as soon as an appropriate day is arranged.

And although your fingers still pluck and worry at whatever is lurking inside your bag, I can see that you needed some news of your brother, and maybe his freedom will help you get well.

© Jane Paterson Basil


Laura poem image for blog

sometimes I can't pretend
        (with fraudulent smile
           and counterfeit jollity)
            expelling misery caked carbon dioxide
             grappling with fresh clean oxygen
           looping it around happy happy speak
         to bluff-tumble all around
        sometimes I can't pretend
        as her falsehoods
         assault my crumbling walls
            as conspiracy theories replace responsibility
               as accusations curl around lunatic lies -
                  today I am a victim of her inconsistency
                   tomorrow her absent shrug will not heal me.
                   sometimes I can't pretend
                  (though the knife feels blunt
                 and her nails are clipped)
              that my best foot is alive and well
            you may see me walk is if I were living
            expansively naming my blood-warmed jewels
            writing false futures with a dried-up pen
                 sometimes I can't pretend
                   when softly she steps
                     with white feather wings
                     when she strokes my brow and bestows stolen gifts
                   and tries to suggest that the demon is dead
                   while robbing my soul to sharpen her rage
                     to cut me open when I'm lulled to sleep
                            sometimes I can't pretend
                             as the demon expands
                            biting chunks from my mind
                        as giggle-groans echo beneath my ribs
             and with stained talons she crawls a smidgen deeper
     sometimes I can't pretend 
    that she is not burrowing back inside the womb
      where I lovingly formed her so long ago
                    (daily she wept at her exile
                                from that moist-hugged cave within me)

© Jane Paterson Basil