Tag Archives: dreams


When vile truth
shatters complacency, when his pupils
shrink to obsidian pins, he will refuse
to meet your eyes.

He will mutter:
It was only once or twice, just
for fun, just to try it out, just to find out, just
to know what it was like. You’re
too old to understand but I
can handle it. It’s not
a problem.

The years and the lies trundle by,
punctuated by multiplying shades of dread
until all that appears on each succeeding page
is smudged punctuation in black, brown
and blood red.

At night, drear bundles
slump in damp sleeping bags.
Bent heads sink. Limbs sag. Limp lips
beg change to spend on the devil’s silence.
As I pass the darkened bank, a man says:
Excuse me lady, have you got any…
I swivel my head, and see
my son’s face.

Outside Tesco Express
a second voice invades my space
and though I know he’s miles away,
again, I see his face.

To keep tears at bay
I formulate rhymes whose meter
matches my pace.

I despise my weakness
and hate the unbidden ache
that hides in my skin.

I need my bed,
but I fear the demon in my pillow
which won’t let me forget.

In sleep, my mind
plays playground games,
raging and grieving in turns.
For once I dream my son uncurls.
Washed clean of the streets,
he stands tall, his flesh
advertising vitality.

My joy negates all of the pain.

Yet when I wake
I know that nothing has changed;
the blood in his punctured veins
still stains my soul.

©Jane Paterson Basil

Not too Late

This one’s a bit experimental. I’ll probably nIggle away at it until it feels completely right – it was written quickly; posted before I had time to change my mind  – and dedicated to my sister, who is a wonderful artist, and has a WP blog which you can find HERE.


Let’s pretend we can start again;
pull our high-heeled dreams from the rusty trunk of ways we may have lived,
don our festive frocks of freedom,
our pristine raiment of wishes we will fulfill
in our re-invented innocence.
Maybe we can make it real – achieve those ordained successes;
we will reach, and, this time,
silken ribbons in rainbow shades will wrap around our snapping fingers
for us alone to weave.
We’ll leave the agony and angst behind,
forget historic sins which cut us to the core,
ignore our petty weaknesses and flaws,
we’ll make them go away, and think of them no more.

There is still time to believe we are great, and if we believe,
we can make the very grass beneath our feet
dance in time to new music.
Between us, we can paint the sky in colours never seen,
and write our way into the gleaming sunshine.

Please, tell me it’s not too late
to feed the little ones a feast of beauty,
which will carry them, gleaming, into the future,
breaking the tainted chain of feotid failure.

Tell me there is a way to erase those sneaky edits,
scratched throughout our early days
by our itchy father’s leaky pen,
sweep away the debris, and start again.

Thanks for the inspiration,  Chris.

©Jane Paterson Basil

Seeing you again


as each day fades,
electric specks of yellow
dab across the urban scene,
and pools of synthetic illumination
stain the streets like nicotine.

evening traffic plays follow the leader;
an endless stream of petrol-soaked metal
looking for an escape
from the ever-increasing concrete heaps.

as night spills ink on the greasy river,
and windows, one by one, cease beaming,
I lie in my bed and feel my way to dreamtime;
jumping on a smokescreen bus which speeds me
to a remembered green place far away,
where I can select the weather;
the time of day; my age;
and my company.

I always summon the same details;
sunshine, early evening, seventeen,
and you; king to my falling queen.

we sit beneath an oak tree bent with history;
our secrets hidden in the depths of its tactful trunk.
this year’s leaves discreetly absorb
this rising night’s intimate whispers;
as together we lean,
making believe it is the last time we will meet.

this is my perfect dream,
repeated endlessly;
I will always
see you

The Daily Post #Tree

©Jane Paterson Basil


Those loving words


...........................My love arrives
                          disguised by night
                         when daytime eyes
                        are closed
                        in sleep.
                         So soft
                            he breathes
                               that he may hear
                                 me as I speak
                                  those never-ending
                                  loving words
                                 to the rhythm
                                of his heart;
                               those words
                               he's heard
                                so oft' before.
                                   He strokes my hair
                                       and holds me close
                                          and whispers words
                                           into my ear;
                                         repeats those words
                                   those loving words
                           those long forbidden
                     loving words
                that only I
            may hear.
         He fills my
       yearning soul
       with love
        that makes
            me whole
                and though
                    at daybreak
                      he may go
                       his heart
                       will ever stay
                      and through
                     the night we
                    speak of love
                    'til sun's harsh rays
                     steal him away
                       and when I wake
                           I wake alone
                               but even though
                                   my heart may ache
                                     I know with no
                                      uncertain faith
                                      that when
                                     I go to
                                  sleep again
                              he will return
                        to kiss my face
                     and hold me close
                    and whisper words
                    of endless love
                     and he will
                         fill my

©Jane Paterson Basil

Did you die?



You are with me again, your eyes supplicating, then the skin of our spirits clash in a loving embrace which my body does not risk.

I love you. I will always love you. I want to cup your face in my hands, run my fingers down the lines in your cheeks, furrowed since last we met.

I crave to take back the years, change the pattern of time and live in you, thrive in you, die in you, and when our bones crumble to dust I want the wind to lift us, so I may fly with you

My daughter clasps my arm and my heart separates.

I chose my fate forty years ago and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Rather than break your family I made my own, but I beg for a short time with you, so she backs away as I drop a promise in her eyes. I will not uninvent my children.

Your arms wrap around me. Cheek to cheek we speak in single words representing sentences, paragraphs, chapters of our loss. Our mouths meet, eager for one final kiss, but as our lips touch you fall asleep.

The phone rings, waking me, and a voice steals you from me, calling me back from your cooling jaws.

Fear drags at me as the tears form.

Was this a dark dream or did you die in my arms?


©Jane Paterson Basil

Broken dreams

Sometimes when I look down from my window, onto the street below, I see Poppy unexpectedly, and I don’t immediately recognise her. She’s thirty-five, and even now she seems to glide a centimetre above the pavement, as she did when she was sixteen, her long hair rippling as if a balmy breeze is riffling through it, a faraway look in her eyes.

When she is walking with the two girls the three of them are enclosed in a bubble of love – gliding in a bubble of love – and I find it hard to believe that my matriarchy has resulted in such love, such loveliness.

I’ve suffered with her through all the bad times, and my soul has rejoiced when things have gone well for her, but I never felt that she had the life she deserved. Her school’s refusal to diagnose or even to admit the possiblility of her dyslexia – because they didn’t wish to waste the effort and expense – meant that she didn’t have a good education. When she found she couldn’t keep up she thought she was stupid, and her lowered self-esteem caused her to rebel, and stop making any effort to do what she felt she would humiliatingly fail at.

Poppy had her children while she was still in her teens – conceived by default, she wanted them anyway, and she has been an adoring and attentive mother, always patient, always doing the best she can for both Alexis and Lizzie.

Because she left school with no qualifications, the only work she has ever done has been menial, but she has always excelled within her limited sphere.

I think of my brilliant daughter, who has so much to give, and I wonder if she ever had dreams, and if so, what they were. She has never told me, and I have never asked. Maybe her pathetic education crushed all hope that she would ever do anything – be anything – but although she is not a consultant gyneacologist, or a big shot lawyer, or a star of the silver screen, she is something – something wonderful.

Poppy is coming up the path now. I let her in, and make a pot of tea. We talk about Alexis, who is currently rehearsing for the lead part in a school play, She tells me how pleased Lizzie’s English teacher is with her. I feel the familiar thrill of pride, in my daughter and my two grand-daughters.

There’s a moment’s silence. I take a deep breath, and she looks at me expectantly. She can tell I want to say something.

“What were your dreams? I ask her. “When you were a child, what did you want to do with your life?”

She looks out of the window, and I know she’s not seeing the cars going by, or the paint peeling from the Victorian house opposite. She’s staring straight into her dreams. She glances at my face and then away again.

“I always dreamed of being the mother of two lovely daughters, and my dreams came true” she says.

“Really?” I ask her incredulously. “That’s it?”

This time she looks unwaveringly into my eyes as she replies:

“Yes, really. I have all I ever wanted.”

That’s the thing about Poppy – she will lie rather than cause unnecessary pain to those she loves. My daughter will never speak to me of her broken dreams.

©Jane Paterson Basil



As I awaken from my sleep
And off my armchair nimbly leap
I view myself as from above
And as I watch I’m filled with love.
With coat so lush and smooth it gleams
The product of a thousand dreams,
I’m sleek and elegant and quite superior,
Though I’m not suggesting that you’re inferior.

Of course being human’s a bit of a bind
So I try to remember I must be kind,
Though I don’t really want this cluttered life;
Your friends and companions, your children, your wife.
The clothes and the curtains and TV and more
Lights on the ceilings and chairs on the floor,
Strange things protruding from every wall.
A car in the drive and shoes in the hall.
Why would you think that I want them there,
All of these things that you leave everywhere?

And although I may sit on my car in the sun,
And prowling along my bookshelf is fun
While you can watch and admire my beauty,
I somehow feel that it may be my duty
To try and explain it from my point of view
That although I consider it kind of you
To attempt to give me all I desire,
There are very few things that I really require.

Those coats that you hang on the hooks in the hall
Are not any use to me at all.
The expensive computer you purchased for me
Has no purpose at all, from what I can see.
The beds are comfy, but so big and so many;
Although I’d be sad if I didn’t have any.
And I don’t believe that there’s any advantage
In pictures and trinkets and flowery plantage.

Your wife is all right, and perhaps she can stay,
But I often wish she’d keep out of my way
And stop picking me up and cuddling me
When I’m stalking a bird behind a tree,
And making me sit upon her lap
When I want to enjoy a peaceful nap.

The kids aren’t too bad, but get rid of the tot
Who gets in my way when I climb in my cot.
He screams and makes a terrible noise
Pulls my tail and hits me with his toys.
I can’t be grateful for every present
And that one is really quite unpleasant.

I’ll keep the bowls of delicious food,
And the kitty milk is extremely good.
Please make the room as warm as toast,
Leave a sofa to use as a scratching post,
Scatter some cushions across the floor,
Then chuck the rest out through the door.

But as for you, I think you’re ok.
You remember to feed me every day.
Though it’s true you are a bit of a pain
You entertain me now and again.
You’re not very bright but I have to admit
That sometimes I like you a little bit.

Don’t bother me now. I’ll let you know
When to return and then when to go.

Wait a moment! Just come back here!
I want you to stroke me behind my ear.

© Jane Paterson Basil