Category Archives: tribute

Addiction,Recovery, Relapse

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Addiction, recovery, relapse; it’s a loop which grips you like a noose. That first step to recovery is painful and frightening. Many addicts are in two minds about it when they take the first step, so it comes to nothing; in no time they are back on the street scoring. It’s claimed that you have to hit rock bottom before you’re ready for recovery, but rock bottom can be an awfully long way down, with untold dangers on the way.

It’s unusual for an addict to go into permanent recovery at the first attempt. They often get into that familiar pattern: addiction, recovery, relapse, addiction, recovery, relapse. This is traumatising for everyone who cares. Each time the addict relapses they are at high risk of overdose, as their tolerance for the drug has gone down. Family and friends often give up on the addict, but they need to know that with every attempt, there is more chance of success, just as every time a learner driver takes a driving test, they are more likely to pass.

So, addiction, recovery, relapse is a loop which grips you like a noose, but a noose can be untied. The circle can be broken, placing the addict in permanent recovery, though only time can tell if this has occurred.

Addicts get clean every day, and stay clean for the rest of their lives. Some of them go on to work tirelessly to support other addicts through recovery, though their hearts may be torn over and over again. I have great admiration for all recovering addicts.

Today, I pay tribute to recovered addicts everywhere; in particular, two brave young women who will remain nameless (it’s enough that they know who they are); a local man called Jimmy, who has become an inspiration to many in this town; Adam, at the Bideford Lighthouse project, and, of course, my daughter Laura.

I live in hope that I may add my son’s name to this list at some point.

With Grateful thanks to Sumyanna, whose thoughtful suggestion has given me new hope, and who may be pleased to learn that she inspired this post.

The Daily Post #Loop

©Jane Paterson Basil

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Anton

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Anton,
you did so much for my family,
your faith never ceasing to light the way,
despite medical evidence of impeding fatality.

Those warnings about your mortality were spoken
in words that confused doctors had to eat
each time the hungry tumour weakened, and retreated,
deferring your end.

Hard though it may be
to believe that my daughter and me gave you a reason —
or that your deity gave you strength to cling to this life
for a little more time — yet I accept it as true.
I’ll never forget how you thanked us
when it was we who owed thanks to you.

I wish you could hear my good news;
I wish we could meet,
so that my daughter and me could speak
our humble words of gratitude,
but I fear it may be too late.
You ceased communicating with this ethereal web of words
at the point where her speed increased
along the road to health,
and, for selfishness’ sake, I fear what that may mean.

But for the sake of you,
may wherever you are
be the place where you wish to be,
and may the atheism my father forced into me
be cruel falsity,
at least for those of true goodness and certainty, such as you,
so that, should you finally have left this terrestial plain,
you shall be making heavenly music on a celestial piano,
accompanied by the sweet harps of angels,
while other great peacemakers
listen and appreciate,
in the high place
where you deserve to spend eternity.

Anton, you did so much for me,
for more than this crude poem can explain.
I will always think dearly of you,
and I hope that someday, somehow, we may meet again.

xxx

©Jane Paterson Basil

Catalyst for survival

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Image credit, Wikimedia

all these years
my reasoning poet
my rhyming priest
you held me

hid beneath this keening ache
beats the rhythm of your sweet profanity
the shades of your rainbow passion,
the elegant grit of your reality

rivers of words drifted from your lips
inviting me to swim in your vicinity
they caressed my wind-bleached skin
sinking in, making my body sing

you have been
my catalyst for survival
all these years

droplets
collect in the cold air

all these tears
I rinsed from your guitar
drip into rippling pools around my feet
radiating Leonard-energy

worlds of love
that will never end

Leonard Cohen.
September 21st 1934 – November 10th 2016.
R.I.P. xxx

Today, I grieve. There is a void where my words used to be.
Maybe tomorrow I will be ready to celebrate his life.

©Jane Paterson Basil

To define you

to define you
I could write a thesis
study your life, your metaphors and their meanings
fill a million pages with puny words of praise

to define you
I could cup my tears in thankful hands
and offer them up,
dripping from my fingers, as an unfinished description
of your beauty

to define my love for you
I could cut my wrists, and with the blood
paint your lyrics across my skin
I could set your famous blue raincoat in stone
and kiss its hem

but you are unique
and only one definition will do

to define you
and all that you have been,
are,
and will be to me
I only have to say your name:
Leonard Cohen

©Jane Paterson Basil

Hiding in the dark

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It feels like a little adventure, sitting in my dim-lit living room, hiding, out of reach of all but my caring WordPress friends in distant climes.

My neighbours thought I’d gone away, but now they’re not so sure. Maybe they can see a little light, but I don’t care.

I hear them outside, subdued by uncertainty and a trace of guilt.

Someone’s knocking on my door. I sense their bated breath as they listen for a clue to my presence.

There’s a second knock, and then a third.

Maybe they heard my kettle; well, let them wonder.

I don’t have to answer to those who expect me to listen to everyday tales I’ve already heard several times this week;

those who must be the centre of attention even when they have nothing to say;

those who are so blinded by ego or whatever makes them that way that they have no time to see my pain, or the fear writ clear across my face;

those who break in when I try to speak; greedily competing, citing swollen feet, headaches, self-made, half-invented, grossly exaggerated health scares to which I listen each evening.

This terrifying week, it would have been nice if someone had noticed me, instead of looking for a reflection of themself, and reached out to help.

The other night I described a terrifying image which had flashed across my vision. One of my erstwhile friends told me not to be so stupid, and without a pause, asked me how to delete a message from his phone.

All I could hear was him saying “Me me me.”

I stood up and said I had things to do, and without another word, I walked indoors.

He must have noticed I was offended, because yesterday he apologised. It was too late; it’s happened too many times over the past few days, and he would not have troubled himself if I hadn’t displayed my anger.

I hear another knock on my door.

I ignore it.

I prefer to spend the evening with you, my true friends; my loyal, supportive, WordPress friends.

©Jane Paterson Basil

Equals

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In ’61 I fell in love with words;
their multiple shapes;
the way they taste as they escape from the mouth;
how different combinations calm or excite.

And I have practiced
to make small musings sound big.
I take a secret or open truth and expand it;
throw it into the sky;
this offered gift may land on your head,
bruising like heavy metal
stinging like skittery nettles in spring
or tickling like a brindled feather,
depending upon what mood I am in.

So, you are younger than me
with further to journey,
but we are equal.
Your truth is told as if to a friend,
calmly, clearly, without gimmicky bells or whistles,
in the beautiful words you were born to speak.
Your voice will be heard and some day
your ethical wisdom may prevail.

We reach across the generations;
across lonely deserts, burning wilderness, mountains, oceans;
across festive towns, weeping cities, peaceful protests, war zones;
across diverse rituals and customs,

and as two poets,
in mutual respect;
in sisterhood;
in sincerity;
we meet.

Written as a tribute and a gift, to my lovely new friend over at The Grateful Dead.  I heartily recommend  a visit.

I’ve been rhyming lately, but this couldn’t be written in rhyme as it would have lost some of its meaning.

©Jane Paterson Basil

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The Green Man

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Image of Laurie, The Green Man of Pilton

Such a gentle celebration of the gentle life of a gentle man,
who eased himself with dignity into his restful sleep.
We cannot see him now; but when grief recedes
we may feel his spirit, watching over the seasons,
a smile across his generous lips as he regally presides
over the ever-present cycle of birth, death and regeneration

The Green Man of Pilton, emerald life grows from him.
The Green Man of Pilton, heralding each new Spring,
with its budding colour in woodland, meadow and hedge
The Green Man of Pilton, Lawrence Hilton Wedge.
I wept when they told me that he had died,
but theGreen Man‘s immortality will not be denied.

©Jane Paterson Basil