Tag Archives: isolation

Christmas Catatonia

Both day and night
I keep my windows opened wide,
inviting chill winter air
to reside in my bones.

Voices from outside break into my thoughts;
greetings, brief weather-based talk,
merry Christmas and goodbye.

Along the road beyond,
motorists consider last-minute gifts
they plan to buy,
While they whizz through supermarkets picking up too much food.
Soon they’ll scrape the waste into the bin,
saying that next year
they won’t get so carried away,
adding that everyone had a good time
and that’s the main thing.

In the distance, I picture busy shops,
imagine men choosing frillies and fripperies in an instant,
irate mothers queueing to pay
for Uncle Ray’s aftershave,
grandma’s pot-pourri.
While they grab extra chocolates just in case,
children wriggle,
itching for the big day.

In houses all around, parcels
pile high beneath Christmas trees.
Soon, floors will be festooned
with discarded ribbon and glittery litter.
Kitchens will be fragrant with rich flavours.
Kids will bounce and shout,
too overwhelmed to play with new toys.
Grandparents will recall when Christmas
contained both less and more.
Families will be cosy
behind closed doors.

Tables will be lined up in church halls,
serving turkey to the dispossessed.

The date for posting gifts and cards
has passed.
While there is still time
to buy gifts,
I cannot whip up a miracle
inspiring this hiccupping brain
to make it right.

With windows opened wide
I feel the winter air
bite my bones.
I focus on the cold,
noting that my emotions are not frozen,
only edged
with ice.

This year, all I can provide
is love, and a crossed-finger vow
that the ice
might melt

©Jane Paterson Basil

Distant Island


Beautiful she was,
though not
in a classic way; her eyes
might have been wider, her chin
was out of scale, her skin sprayed
with bigger freckles than her face
might have wished,
and she was shy,
yet those choked silences
foreshadowed mad acts of bravado
that tricked the eye.

We perceived a mystery
whose unpinned list of incongruities
expressed a vast forest
breathing beneath an ocean of leaves.

Boys reached, stretching
to scale the trees they envisaged,
thinking to straddle her misconceived branches,
to examine her seasons and keep count
of her rings.
They touched thin air
that felt like sun-kissed silk
which leads one into warm caress,
then melts and shrinks
and burns the flesh.

Girls snubbed her;
unnerved by the contest,
puzzled by her unerring and erstwhile
unwanted conquests,
they would have preferred to drag
her roots
from the earth.

Watching the confusion,
she sighed, knowing the sea was too deep.
She was a distant island; though waves
may lap at her slipping shore,
they rarely landed
at her core.


Word of the Day Challenge: Bravado

©Jane Paterson Basil