Tag Archives: fantasy

In Peace

When my parting breath 
  has exhaled all etchings of pleasure and gain, 
     releasing them to the blind breeze -
         when the milled shards of speckled pain 
           have quit my cooling heart, my leaden limbs, my stale brain -
           when no trace of shame or self remain - 
         build a pyre, pile it high,  
       roll my remains in a reclaimed sheet. 
      Weep if you will. but not for me:
       when you kindle the fire my ashes will fly:
         let them go as, barren, they float away:   
             think only of my freed soul
                  as it traces a trail along a veiled lane 
                    between river and trees 
                  home of our long-gone cloaked roams.
                In the dip where our arms reached,
                there shall I settle, 
                   there shall I lie, 
                           and there, in peace
                                          shall I rest for a while. 
                                                        
                                                   
 ©Jane Paterson Basil

My Friend Johnny

Devon rolling hills nr Bickleigh
(Image Credit: Euro Cheapo)

Drenched by clotting dregs
of a cold-custard day,
too sluggish to juggle saucepans,
plates, food,
I watch cars, and muse,
thinking of armour,
of armies,
of uniforms marching
in single file as if in practice,
yet each with its own destiny.
Some face battle, others flee,
while a few
have been granted
official leave.

Monotonous shades of grey,
white vans, showroom red, more grey.
Sighting the next white van
I rise from my seat; this one
is unique;
embellished with wide wheels,
custom headlights,
boastful
tribal
decals.

“Johnny!”, I cry,
waving like one who welcomes
the first sunrise.
tenderness fills me
as this childhood enemy
who became a friend
drives by.

From this reach
he cannot hear or see me,
but “Johnny”, I whisper with a grin
thinking of how we meet
in the street to speak
of everyday things with an ease
that contradicts distance, remembering
the time he stroked hair from my eyes,
the sweep of his fingers
behind my ear;
intimate, yet more easy
the touch of lover; more like
a brother.

As Johnny’s van rolls out of sight
the evening sun escapes a bluffing cloud.
Effervescing rays needle light
through maple leaves,
seeking
to burnish an oasis
that grows between me
and the road.

The oasis swells.
Trees rise through concrete,
meadows stretch; nature’s blankets
woven in hues of gold and green
whose wild-flower hedges
stitch the patchwork of Devon together.

I burn fifty-five calendars
and race through fields.
Reaching the bank of a stream, I leap,
hair flying, feet finding purchase,
toes curling around smooth rock,
cool water a shock
that soothes and surprises.

Johnny waits on the other side.
No more do I despise his fear of drowning
or distrust his efforts to survive.
In turn, he doesn’t mind my wild eyes.
Like me, he is a child,
we are each ourselves;
He holds out his hand, wraps it around mine
and pulls me to his side;
I am home with my family,
ambling with Johnny,
Johnny, forever  my friend.

.

©Jane Paterson Basil

Fiction Planet

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Fiction Planet is a crazy place
unknowingly created by the human race;
with it’s ever increasing wish for fiction,
there’s never the risk of dereliction.

It’s a world that never fills to overflowing,
constantly stretching, endlessly growing,
while every writer throughout age and time;
in tales long and short, in prose and rhyme,
creates more protagonists to join the throng
of fictional characters, both weak and strong;
carelessly scribbled or seamlessly drawn,
old as the hills or recently born.

Every character in every tale
is instantly despatched, without fail,
to a rocket-ship, soon to be hurled
onto the surface of a far-flung world,
complete with their views, their histories and lives,
the secondary characters; friends, foes and wives.

Thin personalities with watery expression,
written with no talent in a hurried session,
travel with oddballs whose unlikely obsession;
unusual habits and peculiar repression,
are fascinating foibles to make them more real,
your interest to excite, your faith to seal.

Misfortune and cruelty, joy and pleasure;
every kind of fiction is here by the measure
There are ‘orrible murders by the score,
ghosts, fiends and zombies, blood, guts and gore.
Stories intermingle, tangling inextricably;
they change and distort and whirl inexplicably.

Sex scenes steam on rain-speckled streets.
Car chase leaves tyre marks on black satin sheets.
Oldies cry “Ahoy!” as their creaky hips
limp across storybook pirate ships.

Oily business men stroke local cheese,
cheesemakers in markets sell secretaries knees.
Spaceship doors open and wives appear,
husbands break rules that their aliens hold dear.

Alice is trapped in Arabian nights,
little boy blue is winning fisticuff fights.
Tommy Tucker bravely climbs up the spout
when along with Bo-peep he gets washed out.

Baa-baa-black sheep is pulling out its thumb
and finding a spider as big as a plum.
Flower fairies wander in the city of angels,
Jack and Jill have fallen into Aesop’s fables.

A dragon has eaten the princess with the pea,
and the mad hatter’s buddies aren’t coming to tea;
they’re sitting in rows in a Dickensian school,
while Peter Rabbit rolls out the golden rule.

The whole mad planet should be overflowing
since hoards are arriving and not a soul is going,
but day by day, the planet keeps growing
and there’s no indication that activity is slowing.

When the last living writer has ceased to breathe,
there’ll be no new arrivals, and nobody will leave;
no joy of birth on that planet in the sky –
and no final grief; storybook folk can never die.

.

©Jane Paterson Basil

That Shrinking Feeling

Fly-ride

.

“Mum!”

She told me it would be dangerous to use my power lightly, but when I saw the insect just standing there in the park, I couldn’t resist shrinking so I could take a ride on the back of the fly. It was exciting, like the best fairground ride, but without the predictability. It was fun watching mum wondering where I was, and getting scared.

“Mum!”

She can’t hear me. My vocal chords are too small, and although she’s frantically looking for me, I’m too tiny to see.

I wish I’d listened when she said I was not experienced enough to reverse the effect without her help.

“Mum! MUM!”

Mum, please come and set me free, before the spider reaches me.

.

Written for Michelle’s Photo Challenge #101. Click the link to join in.

©Jane Paterson Basil

Chocolate

chocolate5

.

I like

chocolate buns;

chocolate pudding; chocolate mousse;

chocolate cup cakes; chocolate fudge cake; chocolate cheesecake;

strong hot chocolate with full fat milk, a spoonful of coffee, another of cocoa, extra sugar to take the bitterness away, a few squares of chocolate melted into it, topped off with swirls of cream and finished with a generous helping of grated chocolate;

anything that contains the words, “chocolate” and “double”;

or better still, the words, “chocolate” and “triple”;

or simply the one word, “chocolate;

and chocolate, chocolate,

chocolate.

chocolate5

A guitar-playing, rainbow-winged, triple-tailed red kitten
flies around my kitchen, whispering:

“Fat is an illusion”,
in sing-song rhythm to the strumming of his strings,

but much as I would like to trust him,
I know the truth;

The cat is an illusion.

The fish-tailed, pixie nosed, six-legged, twin-horned pink unicorn
that swims in my sink
told me so,

and
he wanted me to know
that chocolate is slimming.

Fish-tailed,
pixie nosed, six-legged,
twin-horned pink unicorns
generally tell the truth,

so I believe him.

chocolate5

The Daily Post #Illusion

©Jane Paterson Basil

Some time away

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Dedicated to my dear friend Calen.

*

“Live in the moment,” they say,
but when each moment weighs you down
breaks your back and bends your bones
you need some time away.

*

I’d like to take you on a break;
a holiday from this harsh place,
to a haven where we can be children,
if only for week,
where the sun shines directly on us
– not over in the distance, offering promises
too soon broken;
but where wishes come real for you and me.

We’ll breakfast in a zillion-star hotel.
Well dressed waiters will pretend we are respectable
– ignore our giggles as we point at their penguin tails,
then we’ll kick our heels and run, squealing,
to the beach.
We’ll collect coloured shells, look for strange creatures and crabs,
chase the sea as it recedes, eat icecream and not feel sick,
bury our feet in the sand,
then lie on our backs and dream.

After a few days, we’ll awake to find Autumn
has arrived in its russet glory.
We’ll wrap up warm, and walk down cool corridors
of maple and oak,
throw fallen leaves to the breeze,
and watch them fly one final time
before they sink into the soil.

We’ll play dress up in big high heels and floppy hats,
and whisper the secrets of kids.
I’ll talk about the funny lady that lives next door
with seven cats, one of them black,
and looks like a witch,
while you’ll tell me what your brother said he saw.

We’ll do all these things and many more;
maybe we’ll even shed a few childish tears,
but most of all,
we’ll throw our heads back, and we’ll laugh
uproarously.

And when the week is done,
we’ll go home to find time has been frozen;
everything will be as it was when we left,
but our short rest
will have given us the grit
to face tomorrow,
with a grin.

©Jane Paterson Basil

A mystery

smoke-1615177_1280

while
cities sleep
I sneak into his arms

feel his heart
beating
for me

who
is
he

is he
really here
with
me or

is he
a misty
lingering
spirit

who
but me
(and maybe he)
can say if this is
fiction or
reality

is it a
dream or do I
creep to his room
while cities
sleep

to
you
who read
my truth or fantasy
it’s a mystery
but not
to
me
who
holds this
secret close
and never
lets it
go

©Jane Paterson Basil

The virus that saved the world

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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

The adventurer and the teacher

The Adventurer speaks:

dragon-1111

You always stayed on dry land, swimming through arid sand. Never got your feet wet. Salt sweat sticking to your vest, grit chafing your delicate creases, sun peeling your blistered body.

You feared the lick of the waves. You though they may may like the taste of you, and, wanting more, slip through your cringing lips, invade your lungs, steal your breath away, replace it with filthy brine bitterly flavoured with the flesh of a million stinking fish and thickened with slivers of ancient shipwrecks.

You feared the towering breakers may crash over your head and drag you to the bottom of the sea . The ocean may feed you to sharks and the sharks may eat you.

“Swim where you will, but leave me be. I will not live my life in peril,” you said.

So I leapt, alone, into the sea.

I cannot say the sea was kind, but it was real. Oft-times I had to fight its sudden moods,
struggle to survive its angry storms. Though battered by its rage, I knew I was alive, and as I age, memories of every rising dawn; when calm seas were lit with sun, will ease my mind, and cheer me as I prepare to fall asleep that final time.

And where will you be? Dried to a husk, with nothing but memories of an empty life
to haunt you through eternity.

<> <> <>

The teacher replies:

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You were always digging for thrills, wading through weirs to find the eye of the hurricane, scrambling up crumbling cliffs, potholing without a rope, gazing into volcanoes to watch them erupt.

You said “What is life without excitement? Share my adventure. Let us rescue damsels, slay dragons, conquer swashbuckling pirates.

“Let us find danger. We will fight with teeth and fists and knives, and seek out many lovers, leaving every last one of them aching for our fickle embrace, while we hasten to the next city; the next castle or port; the next victory.

“Come with me.”

I said “I see more interest in a grain of sand than in the life you recommend to me.”

I watched you go. While you supped – and often choked upon – your chosen flavour of freedom, I read, finding the world weighed so little I could hold it in my hands. I leafed through it and found:

a platoon of long-dead soldiers in obsolete uniforms, saluting me;

an oak tree describing its seasons;

an amoeba magnified several millionfold;

the city of Rome in all its ancient glory, and the remains which stand today.

Fascinated, I studied further. It was the beginning of a lifelong love affair with learning. I selected a subject in which to specialise. I married a kind, intelligent woman, fathered a daughter and a son, and took pleasure in domestic life. I enjoyed a job in education, and I was successful – inasmuch as the majority if my students liked my lessons, quite a few used what they learnt from me to their advantage, and I was enriched by the experience.

I ate healthy food, had the occasional glass of good wine, and when I holidayed with my family, we stayed in average hotels in Germany and Spain. We walked well beaten paths, but they were new to us, and therefore interesting. In my younger days I played squash, but in recent years I’ve switched to bowls.

I often grumble, I have had a few misfortunes, but I have been happy.

My lifestyle fitted the type of ordinary orderliness that you dispise, but I chose it and delighted in it. It suited me, and has served me well. I will be sorry to die.

Most of your adventures were viewed through the distorted bottom of an ale bottle. You lie in a hospital bed, paralysed since that last inglorious drunken street brawl. You lived your life in fantasy, never accepting that knights have been consigned to history books, and highwaymen hung up their spurs long before you or I were ever born. There are no pirates, and dragons only breathed fire in fairy tales.

You have no family. I am your only friend, and you don’t like me. Will you be sorry to die?

©Jane Paterson Basil