Tag Archives: dishonesty

Fairy Tales

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We were children, trapped in coddling innocence.
Our future a blurred dream,
our expectations reflecting limited experience:
dappled shadows dancing beneath sun-lit trees,
daisies on a fragrant lawn,
icecream on the beach,
flares that burnt fast-fading holes in our sight,
leaving scars that would not be discerned
until we reached a certain age.

Avidly, we absorbed oft-repeated bed-time stories
which left us believing
that evil was easily recognised,
since it arrived in ugly shapes
and was always defeated.
Only the good were beautiful;
all aches rinsed away by the chaste kiss
of a handsome Prince;
all kingdoms gained by betrothal.

Sometimes
injustice was perverted
by the person who pushed the pen.

Jack trespassed in the giant’s den,
following up his crime with killing and looting,
that he may live out his days
in tainted luxury.

Dick Whittington was assisted by a sly cat,
thereby obtaining his elite position
through deceit and lies.

The unfortunate daughter
of the silly miller who issued false boasts
was locked in a cell
by an avaricious king who wanted more gold.
Rumpelstiltskin offered a tough deal, but the girl
agreed to give him her first-born.
His mistake was in singing out his name, thinking
that no-one was listening.
In retrospect,
the entire cast behaved in a shabby way.

As for Goldilocks,
at least she learnt to steer clear
of burglary.

Not all the stories had happy endings.

The Babes in the Wood were buried beneath burnished leaves
by grieving birds and beasts, their lives curtailed by starvation,

The Little Match Girl was taken to a better place when she died,
yet I decry the shuttered eyes that caused her suffering in life.

So many fictions to pick through
in our sheltered realm
where parents swept salve on every wound,
our consciousness trusting that we
were charmed and good.

We would win the Prince;
a Kingdom we would rule.

We never knew that corruption
had mingled with truth
and sullied our very bones.


P.S.

Let’s scoop away the fairy tales
that recommend a life of greed
and justify the crimes we sweep
beneath our rusting thrones.
The whole world knows that children weep
while mothers die in hungered sleep
and thieves will feed on living flesh
engraving teeth-marks in the bones.

Don’t feed on living flesh,
don’t scrape away the bones.
Live an honest life of peace,
and leave the fairy tales alone.


©Jane Paterson Basil

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Thanks for nothing Yasmin

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You tell and retell the same tired old stories
about your family’s shame and your vain past glories.
It doesn’t matter that you know I’ve heard it before
you have to tell it at least ten times more.
You’ve never been discreet and you don’t really care
about a small exaggeration here and there.
For thirty-eight years you’ve never let me speak
you cut me off almost every time I squeak.
I’ve always been polite, I always had a smile
though I’ve felt like slapping you once in a while.

Now and again your verbal domination
has been squashed by me for a short duration,
and over the years you have learned
of my hatred of drugs and how I’ve been burned
by two of my childrens’ predilections
for self medicating and picking up addictions.

My son’s in prison on the brink of release
and if he stays straight I will have some peace.
It’s his fourth time out and I’m hoping this time
he’s properly recovered and will tow the line.
As for my daughter, she’s been driven half mad
by the complex cocktail of drugs she’s had,
and even an optimistic soul such as I
has to accept that pretty soon she’ll die.

My own drug history is pretty bare;
I smoked a bit of cannabis here and there,
forty years ago for a month or two,
as it seemed like the sociable thing to do,
until I found the confidence to turn my head
and concentrate on getting on with life instead;
I turned down speed, coke and LSD;
It wasn’t the right kind of life for me.
My friends disapproved, said I wasn’t cool,
but I reckoned it was better than being a fool.

I try try to keep in a healthy state,
but I can’t help worrying about my offsprings’ fate.
I’ve fought the effects for the past ten years
while my kids’ lives were crashing around my ears.
No-one know the dark places I have travelled;
is it any wonder I’m becoming unravelled?
My doctor and psychiatrist both agree
I’m suffering from a bad case of anxiety.
As soon as I relax I fall to the ground
no matter who happens to be around.
I’m not asleep but I can hear their talk,
I’m just unable to get up and walk.

For thirty eight years I’ve called you my friend,
even though you’ve driven me around the bend.
I’ve always been loyal and I got used to it
but I no longer like you one little bit.
I could take your nonsense and your self-obsession;
I could take your ignorance of my depression;
I could take your blagging and your dirty con tricks,
but what you’ve done now has made me feel sick.
You say I’m doing drugs though you know it’s not true;
I wouldn’t take a pill if I had the flu,
I’ve even been offered opioids in the past
for raging toothache, but I stuck fast.

I don’t take drugs because it causes strife,
I don’t take drugs because I want a life.
I do all I can to look after myself,
I don’t care for money but I care for my health.
I could think of a lot of hurtful things to say
about all of your crimes, but I’ll call it a day.
I know you just couldn’t stop your yakety yak
but you’ve said it now and there’s no turning back.
I don’t take drugs Yasmin – understand this;
I’ve removed your name from my Christmas card list.

©Jane Paterson Basil

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