Tag Archives: beauty

Paul’s Words

sun-rays

Can it be our planet breathes?
It breathes through weeds and leaves on trees.
It seems to need to seed and breed
to please the needs of human greed.

So does it bleed through birds and bees
to feed our breed, bloodthirsty thieves!
The worst of fiends, the first to leave
and deemed to scream and curse and bleed.

©Paul David Ward

I’d have been proud to have put my name to this amazing poem, but alas, I don’t have the right, since it was written to my son Paul.

After a separation of almost fourteen months, we are now in contact again. He lives 45 miles away, and we agreed that at this stage in his recovery it would be safest for both of us if we don’t see each other yet – not that the current lock-down rules would allow it – but we text each other every day. He’s had a difficult time, but has grown from it. He managed to get several thoughtful birthday gifts to me in February, and even bought me a tree for Mother’s Day, but by then the restrictions were in place, so I haven’t received it yet. I feel proud of how far he’s come, and hopeful for the future.

Beauty and the Psychopath

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The earth’s surface
spans five hundred and ten square kilometres;

its Imperial reach
is one hundred and ninety-six point nine miles;

if every human stood still for one minute
and studied the scene
we might see hunger, iniquity, pain;

we might witness
every kind of suffering

~ this world is too complex to be forever kind ~

yet if we could gaze
with a cleanly aesthetic eye

devoid of empathy
for the frog crushed beneath the boot,

we might find beauty in every millimetre;

we’d envisage beauty
in every razor blade, in every frightened face,
in every tainted pool
that seeps through limp uniform
to sink into the rusting battle field;

it’s easy to appreciate a sunset
or the wavering boughs of a willow tree,

but tucked in a desert

in the arid waste where death exalts,
as, throwing back his cape

he rides the rays of  an allegiant sun
that roasts flesh from hollowing bones, leaving skulls to fade
in shifting hills and sandy vales

there is enchantment, whether scanned
from the height of an aeroplane, or gleaned
through a microscope
as we peek at the secrets of a single grain.

and on a motorway

on a wide tarmac trail
which breaks meadows in its wake,
snaking city limits, displaying the detritus of terminal mishap;
twisted metal, stains left by fractured death
and splattered brains

we find banks piled with riotous harmony
where flowers despised by tidy garden rules
are gems that shine on nature’s winsome breast.

In an iniquitous hidden room

in a bolted cell of jailor’s shame,
dank with acrid stench of psychopaths
intent on tearing sacred, private silk,
raping, molesting, shredding flesh in a hell
where madmen claim the purity of sin
where sadists taste their sour disgrace,
and relishing it, declare it sweet

the stolen one shudders,
her hair matted with filth and tears,
an innocent born with the essence of perfection,
a woman
who grew from woman’s womb.

.

This poem has veered a long way from its original intention, but I went with the flow – which suggests that I might be getting back on form 🙂

Note to self; it would require two people for it to work as an orated poem.  Stanzas written in black would be best spoken in a gentle tone; those on the right, by an increasingly threatening one. The purple line in the middle would be spoken in duet.

©Jane Paterson Basil

Forest

.  .  .  .  .  .  .   I love you. 
                The wet dips and the 
        dry crests of you. The wild living 
      heart of you. I love every part of you. 
        In spring you grow and deepen and in 
    summer you glow. In autumn I leave you. As 
    I walk  away weeping, you rustle and sigh 
   behind me, your extremeties dying. But winter
      is for sleeping and we have to part for a  
    while. When warmer weather returns you will 
      stretch and grow again. You will protect me  
     and caress my spirit with a floor of flowers.   
     You will welcome me into the depths of you.
           Again I will walk your verdant 
                 paths, and worship
                      beneath 
                       your 
                       ever 
                      expand -
                    ing canopy 
                of  green  leaves

The Daily Post #Tree

©Jane Paterson Basil

Beautiful

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Seen through your eyes you appear flawed; pimples
swell to fill the face
and the nose distorts to an odd shape,
unlike those pert sculptures deftly displayed by your friends.

Yesterday, the top looked just like
the pricey one you circled in a magazine.
Now all you see is a cheap copy,
but a little better than everything else you possess
so you throw a coat over it,
hoping last week’s indelible makeup stain doesn’t show;
fearing that boys may notice your flabby roll,

and out you go,
wishing you were anybody but yourself,
or at least that you were beautiful.

You don’t see anything but what the mirror shows you,
so,
as you walk down the road
practicing and failing at invisibility,
you miss the group of boys whose eyes
silently admire your countenance.
You don’t even see the one you dream of
as he steps out in your direction
then falters, convinced that you will turn away in disdain.

When Mrs Jones says you look pretty
you believe she speaks out of pity.

The old lady at number eight lives alone.
Since her sister died she keeps her mind busy
watching the street from her window.

She sees the boys kicking the pavement
flicking tissue balls to relieve their boredom,
talking small,
she senses the quiet breeze,
feels it whip out a concentrated whirlwind
exciting young masculinity,
and turns, catching the cause,
taking in your hair, your faraway expression,
your convincing indifference,
as you look her way.

You mistake an old lady’s wistful glance
for one of dislike;
while she remembers tea dances
wrecked by a stammer, a stumbling gait,
ugly plum coloured blushes that curtailed romance
and wishes she
had recognised and capitalised on her youth
as you seem to,

but after all, she thinks,
you are beautiful.

Written for The Daily Post Prompt #Youth

©Jane Paterson Basil

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Disgraceful

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We see them –
slim, clear-skinned, hair flying,
spewing vitality as they steal the streets,
gracing us with with the everyday beauty of youth –
a fleeting gift to each generation

As you take them in,
memory stirs a longing
and envy translates to anger.
Bitter words trickle from your folded lips:

Young idiots. look at them, running around like the world owes them a living. No respect. We would never have got away with it when we were young.

Which strikes me as funny,
because we did –
we got away with laughing and feeling free.

You spit,
your slimy filth spattering on the pavement to fester
until the rain washes it away.
Age gives me the grace to behave disgracefully,
you say.

aaMakingitwrite

©Jane Paterson Basil

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Those Ancient Hills

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Places.”

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Those ancient hills of Devon

carved and sculpted into wild beauty

by millenia of harsh and gentle weather

trampled by roaming sentient creatures

what have they seen,

those silent rocks

exposed above the rough ground?

what colours in the skies above?

what visual poetry have they witnessed

and what forgotten life forms

have died beside them?

should I never again romp those hills

should my eyes close without a final view

or my ears have no last opportunity

to hear birds singing in those English trees

the growl of a distant tractor ploughing a field

and the laughter of my siblings

while the church bells chime out their music

calling the faithful to church in the nearby village

still all of my senses will unfold to the memories

of a child playing and skipping, possessing the world

running up and rolling down those beloved ancient hills.

© Jane Paterson Basil

LIVING THE DREAM

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I am the most beautiful woman you have ever seen.

You all gaze at me with envy in your piggy little eyes. I know you all long to be as lovely as me, and as successful. You assume I have done nothing to earn my place.

Do you really think I was born like this?

I dispise your ignorance.

My voyage to perfection cost me a lot of pain and expense. I itch where scars lie hidden. Even my ears have been re-modelled.

I have to be careful what I eat, which means that I can’t have anything that I enjoy, but live on vegetables and fruit juice instead.

I had to leave my friends behind, because they didn’t fit in with the image I was trying to create.

I want to be loved, but no man can match my beauty.

Now you know the secrets of my success you may think you can try to replace me on my pedestal, but I warn you not to try. My nails are sharp, and my teeth are like daggers.

Before my transformation, I sat naked in cold classrooms while students sniggered and sketched my undercooked folds. But now, glossy magazines testify to my physical allure, as my eyes slant sexily towards you from the newsagent’s rack.

I sat in grubby pubs drinking cut-price lager, but now I put my lips to champagne in glasses which I never drain.

I went home to a scruffy flat which I had worked hard to make cosy. Now I have three homes; they are all light and airy, and full of extravagent emptiness.

I rummaged around charity shops and car boot sales, enjoying the bargains I picked up. Now I shop in exclusive boutiques, and yet nothing has the value that it did when I was poor.

My friends used to rush up and hug me. Now the people I lunch with air-kiss me.

I used to be happy. Now I’m cool.

I get lonely.

But I can’t find my way back.

© Jane Paterson Basil

Her Wild Boar Wood Adventure

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Always, in the past, she had known that things may be better tomorrow. She had known that in order to move forward she had to take a step. She had known that the cloying grey mud which seemed to engulf her was not a physical thing.

But now it just Was There…. as if it had always been and always would be.

Although it threatened to engulf her, like a burnt out actor she tried to continue to play her part, unable to leave the stage until, too weak to resist, kind hands led her away to an enchanting woodland far from the slurry pit of her unwitting, unthinking tormentors.

Blindly she followed, taking her battered brain with her, and looking neither ahead or behind, caught in an endless moment of dispair while her consciousness barely managed to attend to the rules of convention.

Although she instantly saw the beauty of the place, it took a while for her eyes to adjust to the light, but in that summertime haven she gradually sluiced off the filth.

She stood up and stretched muscles that had been crushed by the crash of a thousand thrown stones.

Hidden bruises healed and the sun warmed her skin.

People smiled and laughed, and her mouth and throat and belly opened to respond.

Strong trees of oak, birch and hornbeam offered up their beauty, and as their intricate patterns silhouetted the navy blue sky, she retired each night to enjoy sleep that had for so long evaded her.

Awoken as the dawn brought a cream glow into her tent, she would snuggle more deeply into her bed, luxuriating in the lyrics of a miriad of neighbourhood birds that seemed to sing of her escape to freedom. Gently she would drift back into sleep, until it was time to get up and start the day’s work.

Looking after the guests at this holiday campsite was a pleasure, as were most of the practical duties which needed to be carried out.

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Those unforgettable months were spent greeting and getting to know all sorts of interesting people. Pleasant evenings were enjoyed around their campfires, as she learned of lives so different to hers. There was the fun of helping guests to light a fire in the golden glow of early evening, and the thrill of seeing the excitement on the children’s faces, as together, they explored the woods. Dens were built and mock battles were fought between strangers who had so easily become friends.

With the generous blessing of the manager, when there were spare tents her family and friends sometimes came to stay, and she proprietorially showed off the unfamiliar lilac mushrooms which glowed as if radio-acive, and the wildflowers that were never seen in their home county.

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Every day she found a new treasure to add to the fast-expanding coffers of her heart.

Then summer ended.

She returned to the home that she loved. Everything was a little more crumbled and broken – everything except her.

She stood tall, with her head up and her shoulders loose. Her breathing was calm, her heart beat gently in her chest. She flexed her toned muscles, and then relaxed.

She was ready to mend her damaged world.

© Jane Paterson Basil

I offer up gratitude to all the people who helped me to lift my feet when they were heavy, and in particular I would like to thank my niece Heather for inviting me to apply for the shared job of campsite warden with her, and Hugh Sandie, who had the faith to employ me.

STREETS

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Amsterdam 2005.

It has rained, and gold-glistened streets poorly ape the dark canals where reflected light ripples.

Past dimly lit coffee bars and bright bakeries they wander; mother, eighteen year old daughter and son of sixteen, to the twilight tourist trap that they must not miss.

”You have to go there,” everyone had said.

They pass eerie side alleys where sinister cowled characters, almost concealed by the black shadows that they cast, furtively pass packages into desperate hands.

On canal bridges men lean, their bodies casually speaking of threat.

Turning back towards the crowds, plump pink skin glows warmly under the red light of the woman’s glass fronted display case, as on a high stool she sits in uniform.

Low-cut-black-top-short-tight-red-skirt-killer-heels-stockings-and-suspenders.

Her face is artfully painted and powdered to conceal her personality and leave you guessing about her age.

The mother looks sadly at this carefully illuminated package of sex.

The boy, uncomfortable, turns away from the brazen colours and bland cosmetic artfulness.

The girl is captivated, and seeing beauty where there is none, envies the caged meat, and speaks.

”She’s lovely. I would like to be a prostitute.”

Words lightly spoken and shrugged off, dismissed as a silly passing thought, when, alarmed, her mother voices disaproval.

Bristol 2015

She walks monochromatic pavements beneath a matching sky which reflects the grey ache inside her head. The muffled sounds of cars passing in the rain goes unnoticed.

All those years ago, in Amsterdam, it was the idea of being an exhibit in a window that had appealed to her. She would not have wished to sell her body for sex.

Along the side of the road she walks, stands beside a lamp-post, walks, stands beside a lamp-post.

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She has to raise enough money for a bag of heroin to heal her until evening falls and the pain returns.

© Jane Paterson Basil

THE ART OF BEAUTY

She gazes down with half closed eyes and a knowing look, suggestive of a secret shared between us alone. Her titian beauty captivates me all over again. Every day I come, and every day I return her hungry look with one of longing. She whispers words of love in the silence between the clicking heels and murmered comments of other visitors.

And now I sense someone beside me. I turn to see a beautiful woman, looking up at the painting.

”It flatters me, don’t you think?” she says.

”It certainly does,” I reply.

I walk away, never to return.

© Jane Paterson Basil