Tag Archives: depression

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

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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

Pain

At
the apex
of pain, my spirit
slips  to  a  safe  place;
watches  curtains  billow,
plucks daisies, thinks about cake,
then loses its kindly grip.

Always, when I fall,
I land on the
k
n
I
f
e
.

Each slash feels like
the worst

~ the final ~

the killer
c
u
t
.

I stagger to my feet,
disguise the festering gash across my face
so it looks like a smile.

Each time
I tell myself it will never
happen again.

I
t
will never happen
a
g
a
I
n
.

.

I was going through my poetry with a view to polishing up the best of it so I can submit some to literary magazines – that old chestnut; anybody who knows me well will be aware that I usually end up getting my knickers in a twist and losing confidence.

Oh well…

This poem shocked me, bringing back the memories, although none of it seems real now. I’ve edited it slightly – changed it from 3rd person to 1st person. Was that a good or bad idea? I originally wrote in the 3rd person in order to suggest it wasn’t about me – to separate myself from it. My gut feeling is that my original idea was better. Any suggestions?

Am I nearly there yet?

.

©Jane Paterson Basil

The Curs

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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

Winding Down

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The day ends,
bringing a sense of surprised escape
from a jail fenced in by a towering jumble
of building blocks thrown from a toy box
by a blundering giant,
the bricks making jagged walls and dead-end tunnels
through which I crawled,
tucking panic under a laughing mask,
my consciousness screaming, the stubborn silence
of my brave face blinding my eyes,
showing me nothing but the next task.

I fumbled forward,
cuts and bruises blooming in the dark.
Distracted by my acts,
pain translated into mumbling ache
which I sluggishly shoved aside.

Now sanctuary melts the ice,
awakening me to the grazes that sting my mind;
in the shock of hindsight
I briefly see scarlet clots expanding
in harsh white light
that sliced between erratic shards
and sharply trimmed each blackened shadow.

A magnanimous evening
ambles in to wave an amber goodnight,
its travelling rays casually caressing carefully collected
reflections of nature,
highlighting details of prized pieces.
A slice of fresh air lifts and expands
the clean fragrance of lavender and beeswax,
banishing my ramshackle day
to the skittish world of was and maybe;
breathing deeply,
I relax.

©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