Category Archives: Writing 201 poetry

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

How it Felt


Ten thousand night terrors
                         s t r e t c h e d - o u t
                        when I found you
               before your
                     it was
                           that culmination
                    of ten thousand night terrors
               was filled with lifetimes of grief at my loss
  that dread eternal instant
then adrenalin drove me to action:
a message surged into my brain
demanding that you live again
I needed you to be alive
I needed you to survive

heroin was the heartless whore
that held you in her needled claw
and though I feared her murderous might
I wouldn't let her win this fight
the weight of my love gave a beat to your heart
as I gave you the massage of life
and matching my pulse was the chant in my head
you can't be dead you can't be dead
my body became a machine for survival
rhythmically working for your revival
and when the paramedics came
 and tagged me in my desperate game
  they had to fight heroically
    to finalise recovery
            that night
         extended outwards
to become the core and the crust of my existence

© Jane Paterson Basil

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Just a Dream.”

This poem describes a recurring nightmare I used to have.


They’re crawling at speed

and my leaden feet

are letting me down

while their chemical needs

fill their minds with treason

which blinds them to reason

and feeds them with fervour,

making them faster than me.

As they chase me

the weight of the air all around

is pressing me down

and all I can hear is

the sound of my fear;

my laboured panting

and heart-beat pounding

as it tries to escape through my ears.

The end of the alley is darkly looming

and I see no escape

from death’s grinning face

as the figures draw nearer

disturbing the air with their

fetid breath and their skin-flaying cries.

And then I see three doors before me,

and hope of escape

floods through my veins,

bringing adrenalin forth in its wake

to help me select

the correct door to take.

The first one is fakely fashioned and fancy,

foolishly aping the noble oak’s grain

The second is painted in pink plastic gloss,

and I know that an entry would offer no gain

the one that I choose

is ancient and flaking

and chipped, with the dust

of long years overlain

I grab at the handle,

it opens with ease and

welcomes me in

then ceases to be.

It’s served its purpose

and sealed me safely

away from the drug crazed,

desparate faces

that sink from my mind

as I survey this place.

Before me a corridor stretches and curves

and the walls are constructed

from industrial shelves

with broad sheets of metal

which tower around me,

above me so high I can’t see the ceiling,

and the shelves are stacked

with miriad treasures and trash

and boxes and cases of leather.

Though I feel a desire to stop and examine

the curious curio stacked all about,

I know I must hurry and find an exit

as the grumble of thunder

is crumbling the ceiling

and pieces of plaster

are dropping on me.

While I am racing

to find an escape route

I see that the treasure is all from my past.

The bagatelle board

that I loved as a child

is tucked at the back

behind an old dress

and further along looking

fresh and un-used

is a bottle of perfume I lost long ago.

There are dolls and fossils

and fairy tale stories

and memories of glorious days in the sun.

And preserved

in this heart-space I finally find

the fetish that’s held me

through all these years.

It was lost in the dust of

a moment of absence;

a rose from my lover so long ago.

Now the rain is seeping

and soaking the ceiling,

damping and swamping all that I was.

I redouble my hunt

to discover an exit,

and as I am running

I hear my possessions

collapsing and crashing

through the floor,

Then I turn the next bend

and I see the old door

which welcomes me warmly

so I quickly step through,

onto a platform

with the sky overhead

and a drop deep beneath me.

If I fall I’ll be dead

but the platform leads

to the top of a stone wall

where I will be safe

from destruction and death

I step from the platform

onto the surface of the wall so tall

and high above ground.

Surrounded by sun

in the wake of the storm

the place I have left growls

with ground-shaking sounds

as mortar is beaten

by deep-seated moisture,

subversively slipping its devilish drops

into my heart-space,

and breaking it down.

The building collapses,

and within it my history.

The bagatelle board,

the perfume, the rose,

are swallowed up

as the ground beneath opens,

covers, encloses them

leaving no trace of the past behind

Now looking around me all I can see

is a deep flooded landscape

with the tops of some trees

which remain bravely standing

with their trunks in deep water,

awaiting the moment

when their roots will lose hold.

And now I know

if you run from the danger,

you lose all of the good things

both hidden and clear.

They come as a package,

a mistery gift

in rainbow ribbon

soaked through with tears.


I awoke from this nightmare

and wished that the darkness

had eaten me whole

and left my shell,

to let others know

that I’d finished this lifespan,

my life on this earth

which seemed more like hell.

But I kept stepping forwards

for the sake of my family,

and my family sustained me

while my rose kept me well.

Enriched by kindness

I am finding my future,

and my steps are guided by love and goodwill.

I have many to thank

for the floods that have dried

and the trees standing

proud on every side.

The wall still stands

and I stand upon it,

the stones and the mortar

too strong to subside.

© Jane Paterson Basil

Love In Ten Sentences

I am proud to be one of 12 people selected by Rosalyn to go on a mission.  I am to share my thoughts on “Love” with an axiom of ten lines, using four words in each sentence and each sentence to include the word “love”, then give my favourite quote on love.

If any of you haven’t read Rosalyn’s words, I suggest you visit her spaceship as soon as you finish reading this post. Not only are her thoughts and poems a treat to read; she also radiates love and happiness, lifting the reader’s spirits and making them smile.

Strictly speaking, these aren’t sentences, but lines. I’m sure I will be granted poetic licence!


When love was born

love made no sound

a soft loving caress

the infant’s first love

a love that learned

to love family, friends

to love a man;

nurture a love seed

in a loving womb

rotating love’s sweet circle

© Jane Paterson Basil

I can’t choose between my two favourite quotes on love, so here are both of them:

Love -Mahatma Ghandi

Good things are to be passed on. So, I hereby nominate the following  bloggers to spread “love”.

A Poorly written but Sincere Note of Thanks

A speedily – and badly – written poem of thanks to @benhuberman and the Writing 201 poetry course community.

Look! I’ve even included a loud image!

BeFunky_Thank you.jpg

you brought food for the brain
and such conversation
in the midst of all the acclamation
with never a word of condemnation
punctuating comments with exclamation
bringing about a recalculation
now I’ve finally come to the realization
that the hardest part of my journey is through
and this is my poem of thanks to you.

© Jane Paterson Basil

Do Not Look At Me

Today’s assignment for Writing 201 poetry Tomorrow / Sonnet / Chiasmus. I think I’ve cracked it! It’s about the future, it’s definitely a sonnet – my first – and it contains chiasmus. Yes!

I’m really sad that this is the last assignment of the course.


Avert your eyes, do not look at me today
I am not fully formed, I am not as I will be
If you look at me now you will only see
A tortured soul who has lost her way
If you look at me now I may always stay
Lost in these shadows I wish to flee
Never to live the life that’s written for me
Ever doomed to a future shrouded in grey
A shuffling figure clad in cast off shoes
So turn away quickly and turn away now
To watch me fail would be a cruel abuse
I will transform in secret if you will allow
Because to lose my way is my way to lose
So I turn to success, and success takes a bow

© Jane Paterson Basil


Here is today’s completed assignment for the Writing 201 poetry course. The requirements are Landscape / Found Poetry / Enumeratio


spring will creep in
from around the corner
waiting for the
to annouce its presence
amplify the visual splendor
of this rich earth

first buds appear
trees and shrubs spot with green
beneath them
sturdy stemmed grape hyacinths
sprout and bud into blue
first daffodils open
into welcoming gold-glistened

our spring-time hope is fulfilled
winter fades
and colour cascades over the land

© Jane Paterson Basil

Everlasting Flower

A little bit of romance is my choice for today’s Writing 201 Poetry assignment. It’s an ode about a valuable item tucked away in a drawer, with apostrophe garnish.


forty years have flown since I devotedly fixed it
to the wall by my bed,
near where my head rested
its physical form has long since crumbled
but tucked in a drawer
at the back of my brain

far away from the everyday forefront clutter
still lives that
rose in its organic glory

cupping our story within its proud petals
which whisper
within me when, in the night
insecurities imprison me, impinge on my sanity
and knowledge
of evil keeps me awake

I did not forsake you my rose of devotion
though our love was outlawed
I’ve been ever true

and though to eternity we shall be parted
and never again
may I see your face
all these long years our love everlasting
has cradled me safely
within its embrace

© 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