Tag Archives: compassion

Paul, at Café Philos says:

Please seriously consider spreading this poem — spreading it to your site, to the social media sites — in an effort to make it go viral. We need it viral well before the next war, we need folks mulling over the idea of rebelling against the violence. Spread this poem and then you too write — write about the ideas presented in the poem. For you, for your brothers and for your sisters, for your children after you — stop the wars of aggression!

Please click on the link and lets do this together!

via Against the Next War

Not to Conquer

They come —

not to conquer;

not with guns and bombs,

or greedy eyes that

seek to steal our

forefathers’ land

and conceal it beneath

steel and concrete monstrosities

squeezing the people into

arid corners, as our




They come —

not to conquer,

but to escape the

place of death

and hate.

They come —

not to conquer,

but simply

to live.

They come —

finite bodies

suffering and dying

that some may find

a better life.

They arrive

hungry and broken —

so let them in.


<> <> <>

©Jane Paterson Basil





Creeping vines
twist around bloody roses,
encasing her body like armour;
circles of thorns, like a
silent threat
decorate her brave flesh
in a failed bid to protect her.

If you think she is dangerous
you’ve misread the signs.
Witness her numbing pain;
feel the white space that surrounds her.
I could say I’ve known her to break
but she was broken long ago,
and the cracks were never erased.

I want to find a way to make her whole;
dissipate the gaps in her soul.
I don’t know if this is love
or compassion or both,
but her sudden laughter is like a gift,
like the sunrise,
like a child’s kiss, like a hug from my sister,
giving me a lift;
making me feel worthwhile,
but when her eyes fade to the distance
I am bereft, knowing she has slipped
into bleak self-loathing.

I tell her she is a success
and  she can think I’m crazy
as long as she trusts what I say.
It’s true she hasn’t slayed all her demons,
but they have sharp teeth and strong defences.
Bravely, day by tiring day
she fights to keep them at bay,
and to me
she’s an Amazon.

I would like her to know
that although we only meet in passing,
I am her friend.

Written for The Daily Post #Witness

©Jane Paterson Basil

The virus that saved the world


When the virus first hit, nobody knew what was going on. The characters of certain hard-nosed bankers and ultra-right wing politicians changed overnight. One of the early “victims” was Nigel Farage, who opened his house to a family of vulnerably-housed immigrants, suggesting they invite their friends to stay.

Office workers and shop assistants who’d previously turned their morning faces away from the homeless men and women sleeping in doorways, dashed to the cafes to buy them breakfast in a bun, thrust Lattes in cardboard cups into their dirt caked hands, and pulled little packages of sugar of of their pockets, asking “Do you…?”

The country was thown into chaos – those who had not yet been infected struggled to maintain the status quo, while their families, friends, neighbours and colleagues, were carrying out uncharacteristically good works. If they were rich, they ran around giving their shares to the poor, and their money to good causes. If they were poor they invited those even more unfortunate than themselves around for dinner and hugged strangers in the street.

As you can imagine, the economy collapsed, but it didn’t matter, because the movers and shakers who were infected – and there were more of them every day – lost interest in amassing yet more truckloads of money, insread turning their attention to taking care of the populance. The richest and the most intelligent got together to finally make the country work. All our services improved dramatically, and the nation became happy again – happy as they had never been before. Crime ceased to exist, hatred became extinct, and anger became a rare emotion which was easily dispelled.

Everybody in the country had caught the pandemic, and it’s currently spreading around the world. Donald Trump kicked up a fuss, screaming that an antidote needed to be found quickly. Naturally, as soon as he contracted it, he changed his tone. Now that there’s no need for a President he keeps himself busy carrying out charitable works in developing countries. It’s rumoured that he’s currently working with orphans somewhere in Africa, but nobody seems to know for sure. These days he’s a modest man who likes to keep a low profile.

Who would have thought that compassion was a virus? And who would have thought that a virus could save the planet?

Written for The Sandbox Writing Challenge #49. This week Calen says “Imagine yourself floating among these clouds in harmony with everyone and everything. What can you do to make that happen?” My answer is that I can try to create a compassion virus which is so virulant it’ll infect everyone on the planet.

I’ll need  a chemistry set…

©Jane Paterson Basil


fire and water
Image Gwen Magog ‘Breaking Waves’

Your arms reach out from the flames
in self-obsessed supplication
a foreigner to compassion
you implore me to burn
while beneath your melting feet
dead wood crumbles to grey
and even the scorpions scatter.
Above your thrashing form
the oak tree gives shade
to your blistering body,
yet bends a rescuing branch
for me to catch and to climb.
I curl amongst fungi and flies
as vultures, snakes and rats
clamber to be part of the story.

Rain feeds and nourishes
teasing young buds to green
extinguishing the deathly pyre.
You are wet ashes
and so I live again
leaping across meadows
spinning a freedom dance
until the flood re-captures me
enraptures and distracts me
with fish flapping foolery
it sucks at me and sinks me
mocking my mis-spent emotion
and when I plead for amnesty
it shruggingly slings me aside
speaking sly words in my head
“You only had to ask.” it said.

Face down
mud choked
foam gathering around my parched mouth
grit grating the skin between my toes
I lie thirsting for salvation
to slake my parched and swollen throat.

At the first swallow
I know I am alive

© Jane Paterson Basil