Category Archives: The Daily Post

Conflicting Emotions

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Conflicting emotions cluster,
stumbling through grey matter, 
as they fight to be top of the pile.
Low thoughts, high thoughts,
where, how and why thoughts.
Grief and elation, hell and damnation,
botched conversations, recovered relations,
lost revelations, failed determination,
dead ideas and un-shed tears,
day-to day chores and clamouring causes
 all perspire
   while they battle for regard,
       colours blurring to mustard and rust,
               verity becoming encrusted
                           in the annals
                                         of my mind.



©Jane Paterson Basil
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Bus Driver

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Dear driver, you
don’t know me;

Maybe you dislike
your job and your wife,
you might even hate your life, but that
is no excuse for the fuming stare which says
“I despise you.”

You block my smile, your expression suggesting that you consider me a minor criminal. If you think this is not a designated bus stop just say so, or check with your boss. You’ll find you are wrong, while to continue in ignorance is an unwise mistake to make.

Meanwhile, why not try a compromise;
stop treating passengers like undesirable wasps
to be stomped on by your
callous eyes.

Don’t you know
that very day you make the world a little colder
for yourself, as well as for others?

Do you like being a lonely island?

Friendliness should be high on the list of priorities when hiring bus drivers. At the very least, it could be part of their training.

I used to insinuate myself
between the bars of barbed little fences such as yours,
persuading snickering scorpions to be
more amicable, but recently,
I’ve run out of energy.

It’s time for folks like you
to get wise to your public duty
and treat passengers more like friends.
.

©Jane Paterson Basil

No Place to Go

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When he enters,
his animal scent clears out the buyers and browsers
and the assistant exits in haste.

I wonder if other charity shops blocked him.
Few operate like Oxfam.

Smiling like he’s a friend,
I take shallow breaths though the nose,
keeping my mouth closed except to speak.

He tells me he got a twenty quid drop and needs to buy jeans.
I ask for his size, and pick out two pairs.

“I’m just a drunk,” he slurs, his eyes
clutching at mine as if to defy me to deny
a universal truth.

I refuse to be intimidated.
“Not just a drunk,” I reply. “At your core, you are who you have always been. You have your history, your memories, your moments of reflection. Once you played in the street, or climbed trees. Once, you laughed at your own antics and believed
you were free.”

“Don’t be pedantic,” he growls,
“and tell me where I can have a shower.
I shit my trousers and I need to get clean.”

He’s been waved away away by every hand I recommend.
Then I remember the leisure centre.
We both pretend to believe that he might receive help there.

As he staggers off along the street,
sleek and limber legs reject his presence. Even the pavement
hardens itself against his weaving feet.

From her place in the past, my mother looks askance.
Tears skitter in the sky as I speak to the breeze.

“I treated him like a human being.”

My mother agrees. That is true, at least.

“If I lived somewhere different,
I would have invited him back.”

My mother silently absorbs the lie;
her kindness inhibits her from lecturing me.

.

©Jane Paterson Basil

Like a Sister

My friend,
you are like a sister to me. I regret giving you
the impression that I’m pushing you away.
Please forgive me.

When we speak, the words
get shuffled and swallowed by my throat, so I’m
writing this in the hope that it will explain my difficulties.

At present, I have so little time between tending to my responsibilities and I need
private
moments
to breathe; to
listen for the clean

silence

that sits lightly beneath my clamouring brain. Lately, I yearn
to separate my clashing thoughts and
examine
each
one
in turn,
that I might extract
peace from this confusion.

Please be patient with me, yet
understand this; while I yearn to amass
an ever greater wealth of empathy, I am neither
lonely or deeply unhappy. I find myself in a position
of unlikely privilege, and will do what I can
to fulfil the duties which this
particular privilege brings.

Soon, I anticipate
calm.

Should you be absent
from my life on that day
it would be a tragedy, but I
have seen your loyalty –

you will not desert me.

Thank you for
embracing me with your friendship.
You are important to me.

.

©Jane Paterson Basil

Go Gently, old Friend

daisy

Go gently, old friend.

Leave only
sweet ashes, drifting
through minds that
sift away
the silt.

Memories
of confusion and pain
are the dust in our tears;
we rinse them away.
What remains is a
kind reminder
of the
best
times
of your life.

Gone is the child
who reached for hands to hold,
the child who hungered for a loving touch.
Gone are the fists that rained cold blows
on your bewildered sensibilities.
stealing away what might
have been.

Now
you are free.

Go gently, and rest in peace.

.

©Jane Paterson Basil

Where there’s Muck

 

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.

Patrick MacTaverty was brash in his depravity;
his habit was to excavate his every gap and cavity.
His shamelessness was infamous – sickening and unpleasant –
he dug away with mild disdain no matter who was present.
He was known in local restaurants, in the corner shop and library,
for ignoring every plea and threat and all attempts at bribery.

He shovelled at his eyes and ears, and in his mouth and nose,
he flung off shoes and smelly socks, to delve between his toes.
His heights of degradation would defy imagination;
there clearly there was no limit to his inner salutation
while he wiggled spindly fingers deep within each hollow part
as if to wave a greeting to his tonsils, brain and heart.

Aquaintances and strangers always gasped and were appalled
when he loosened up his belt and they saw his trousers fall.
His naval display was his greatest pride and joy –
a showcase for his dug-out waste from the day he was a boy.
The orifice extractions drove the viewers to distraction,
owing to the acrid odour,  rotting matter and compaction.

A dog appeared from nowhere – all claimed that it was mad
when it bit off Patrick’s fingers – but most of them were glad.
Furthermore, once he ceased collecting  murky treasures,
the mess turned sweet and friable by soft and silent measures,
and out of his round belly button mounds of flowers grew –
some were well-known species, but others were quite new.

Now Patrick’s makes a fortune from the sale of blooms of class –
which serves to prove the saying true, that ‘where there’s muck there’s brass’.

Brass = money.

©Jane Paterson Basil

Balance

Swaying like
a drunk weaving his way home,
I veer between the level pavement of truth
and the deep ditch of kindly
hypocrisy.

Mud on my left shoe,
a clean shine on the right,
my soul freed, only to be stifled
and freed again, while I stagger –
hanging on to what matters
as I balance the colours
of motherly love.

.

©Jane Paterson Basil