Tag Archives: anxiety

Hell on Earth

sleep

It might be
the feeling of falling,
the expanding mushroom,
or the looming forms of the killing  gang
which triggers your  manic panic,
freeing the strangled scream
that brings you back.

In sleep
you cannot maintain that level of terror,
so you wake.

While you wait for your heart
to locate its resting beat,
you rationalise,
navigating the nightmare,
plotting its course,
hunting its cause.
You remind yourself
it was only a dream.
Reaching for reassurance,
you progress from chewed candy meditation
to itemising your brightest blooms,
plucking up jewelled previews
until you feel safe.

But when
every day
you wake slowly and late
your brain un-sieged by devilish make-believe,
yet you are the embodiment of dread,
you know your hell is real.

.

©Jane Paterson Basil

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Mortal

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When I was four feet tall
I believed I was immortal;

that knives
could not scar me

oceans
not drown me

mistakes
not taint me

evil
not weaken me

age
not change me

pain
not
break me

and that strength
would never fail me.

I was confident I would shape
a sensational destiny.

Yet I am mortal after all.
No ogres quake at the sight of my face,
no lame man walked.
no blind man saw.
no orphans were fed,
peace was not restored.
I was somewhere else,
someone less;
not the giant
of my idle fantasy,
only a wind-blown flake, adept
at making a mess.

I do not scream
or beat my breast
yet I bleed.

Ignominiously,
I bleed.

I scrub at the seepage
but it will not come clean,
leaving an indelible stain
for posterity.

In recompense,
the forgiving flowers of my womb
grow over my stain,
creating a fertile garden
with fresh running streams.

They illustrate
that my bungled life
has not been
a waste.

Although this poem doesn’t contain to the wordSequester‘, it was inspired by today’s Word of the Day Challenge. I was going to give it the title ‘Sequestered in Fantasy’, since that is a good description for the way I was as a child. However, that title doesn’t suit the poem.

©Jane Paterson Basil

Stop

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Sleep, wake.
Eat, excrete,

Meet, part,
practice my art.
Sleep, wake,
eat, excrete.

Start, stop,
walk to the shop.
Meet, part, practice my art,
sleep, wake,
eat, excrete.

Thinner, fatter,
it doesn’t matter.
Start, stop, walk to the shop,
meet, part, practice my art,
Sleep, wake,
eat, excrete.

Starve, eat,
mildew or meat.
Thinner, fatter, it doesn’t matter,
start, stop, walk to the shop,
meet, part, practice my art,
Sleep, wake,
eat, excrete.

Work, play,
face the day.
Starve, eat, mildew or meat,
thinner, fatter, it doesn’t matter,
start, stop, walk to the shop,
meet, part, practice my art,
sleep, wake,
eat, excrete.

Sick, well,
I cannot tell.
Work, play, face the day,
starve, eat, mildew or meat,
thinner, fatter, it doesn’t matter,
start, stop, walk to the shop,
meet, part, practice my art,
sleep, wake,
eat, excrete.

Happy, sad,
shades of mad.
Sick, well, I cannot tell,
work, play, face the day,
starve, eat, mildew or meat,
thinner, fatter, it doesn’t matter,
start, stop, walk to the shop,
meet, part, practice my art,
sleep, wake,
eat, excrete.

Gashes mend
to rend again.
Happy, sad, shades of mad,
sick, well, I cannot tell,
work, play, face the day,
starve, eat, mildew or meat,
thinner, fatter, it doesn’t matter,
start, stop, walk to the shop,
meet, part, practice my art,
sleep, wake,
eat, excrete.

Stop, stop,
Please drop me off.

©Jane Paterson Basil

The Curs

Kiri's-scribbles.jpg

Some days
maybe for a week or more,
the curs sleep. I square my shoulders,
hold my chin parallel to the world,
point my nose
toward
the next
moment.

A jaunty walk, a go-getter smile –
both come easy on days like these,
yet I never forget;

inside me
the curs lurk.

I hear them snore,
my stomach lurches when they turn,
and always
I take
a deep
breath,
cataloguing my gems
until breathing is easy again,
blinding every sense to the sighs, the snorts,
the crawling taunts
of a disturbed cur.

If it retreats into still sleep,
I have succeeded in my quest for peace,
but too often
a cur’s
trickling
dream
leads into a curdling cry
and the pack wakes,
instantly absorbed
in its vicious intent.

Attacking the threads in my mind,
they tangle and snap the intricate design
whose painstaking lines
create a picture
of serenity.

As I am currently out of reach of the Internet most of the time, I’m unable to keep up with my reading, and my posts are sporadic, which is why my response to Kira’s Sunday Scribbles Challenge is two days late.

©Jane Paterson Basil

Chiaroscuro

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I soaked up a soggy sense of betrayal
each time I failed to find a toenail gap
between cruel cuts of shrapnel and scorched waste –
a haven where red-eyed ash and steely scraps
did not mingle or seek to compete,
where nature remained unscathed.

Whispering, I would inquire:
who am I, and why?

Feel like a downy feather,
 fallen from an eagle’s wing, floating
in a pool of happenstance dirt.

Feel like the cracked shell
of an oyster that shaped a pearl from
a grain of sand.

Feel like a blade of grass
waiting for chance to decide whether
I may remain upright, or be crushed.

Feel like a bee searching
for honey on the surface of a gilt-framed
landscape depicting summer’s haze.

I have been patient amid the chaos
waiting to find the silence that would allow a reply
and today my answer was delivered to me:

I am a dark and light animal,
shaded to reflect this chiaroscuro planet.

We all contain darkness and light.
These qualities make the patterns which illuminate colour and scale.
They allow us life and give us sight.

I will still try to give the light a brighter hue
and cast some warmth within the dusk,
even as my limitations become clear to me;
I am so much more than dust, but
so much less than deity.

©Jane Paterson Basil

Shhh…

Guess I’d forgotten the depth of low –
forgotten how far down I could go.
Winged creatures more sinister than simple butterflies
have made a home in my heart.
They’re boring holes and sending messages,
warning me to hide.
I know they want to eat me but I’ve run out of fight.
Even the urge to search for comfort
has flown.

I hold the phone a distance from my ear,
in the unfulfilled hope
that I won’t hear the voices talking, questioning, offering goodwill, comfort, meals, walks and company, company, company, then moving quickly on to what he said, she said, who did what and isn’t it interesting.

No.
When you are drowning inside,
discussion is low on your list of priorities.

I say that I’m hungry.
This is true, but my mutterings about supper are just an excuse
to escape another one-way conversation.
Food is an dull complication to be dealt with later.

Good people, I love you. Please leave me alone,
or rather, don’t speak out loud.
Can’t you see that the groan which issues from my throat
is a strangled scream?
Please, please don’t reach out to me with sound.
I’m hoping that silence will keep the monsters under my rib-cage at bay.
If you have something to say, I would be grateful
if you’d just write it down.

Note for my friends: Don’t worry about me –  if I was still feeling this bad, I wouldn’t have managed to write the poem… such as it is.

©Jane Paterson Basil