Tag Archives: metaphor

Trick of the Light

Standing
in groups of two and three,
they shuffle their feet, clutching
copies of the gallery catalogue. A few
might surreptitiously sneak a glance
at the page about me
to see
what the experts say
then with varying degrees of
pretension and sincerity
they speak of
my smile.
Many agree
that it is reminiscent
of the Mona Lisa’s so called ‘mysterious’
twist of the lips. They search for
meaning in this.

Warming to their game
where words are plastic swords
meant not to wound but entertain
the players babble blunt banalities,
clashing torn and ragged clichés
as they describe disparities
between our portraits;

the way her gaze
is constantly on every face 
– no matter where her viewers stand,
while I am caught in a faraway fantasy,
yet always, as they turn away,  my eyes
seem to swivel in their direction.

It makes them shiver,
but it’s only a trick
of the light.

My creator was
a visionary who believed
that I would evolve into my own unique design.
She drew my lines lightly in warm pastels that reflected
the promise of a Botticelli’s sketch, but
sticky fingers grabbed the canvas,
brushing their hues over me.

Scratch my surface
and you will discover
a dozen semblances of this face,
reflecting every school from cold realism
to the lily-fresh hope of art-nouveau.
Each illusion contains a
modicum of truth;
an inch or so
of me.

When I reached this gallery
I needed to be categorised. I look like
an English dreamer
an ethereal Pre-Raphaelite
yet they placed me amongst the Impressionists
since I was shaped with bright lines
creating a sense of reality
by employing
a trick
of the light.

If you were a painting, what kind of painting would YOU be? Any thoughts on this?

©Jane Paterson Basil

Advertisements

Words

words-picture1

Words which clamber for birth,
eager to cling to the page,
words which would raise to self-worth
modestly seeking a place.
Words which admit, words which deny,
words deftly-chosen, words misapplied.
Dominatrix words which try
to overpower a subtle punchline.

Words which have something to say,
each syllable tuned in its own way,
conciliating or armed for the fray,
screaming surprise or mumbling cliché.

Words that edge to the ideal mate;
working their way towards standing up straight,
shuffling their way into ship-shape phrases
like uneasy conscripts with falsified ages.

Words scrubbed out and aptly replaced,
jackets buttoned and shoes tightly laced,
a tidy battalion of lines and stanzas;
meter supplanting the weapons of battle,
bragging the spit and polish of rhyme,
till all might concur that the verse is sublime,
the meter is perfect, the message shines.

.

Yet words,
for all their courageous claims
of muscle, weight and girth,
often wither and fade
into an insipid blur

.

Written for Word of the Day Challenge: Insipid

©Jane Paterson Basil

Dragons

dragonslayer1

Childhood picture books
depicted booming ogres, looming giants, slavering wolves
and my favourite foe, the fire-breathing dragon
with ominous scales and arrow-tipped tail.
Red eyes glowing, jaws agape,
he salivated as he swooped from an ashen sky
anticipating a tasty treat.

Gripped by iron chains
which tightly tied her blue-veined wrists,
a doomed virgin cowered,
writhing to escape a burning demise.
Her ruby lips described refined agitation,
her face haloed by a loose- curled mane which retained
its gracious style despite a wild wind’s whip;
even simple village folk were au fait with fairy-tale fashion
which stated that the bedraggled look was reserved
for bare-footed beggar girls dressed in rags.
Furthermore, only ladies of refinement or station possessed
the required qualifications which enabled one to save a hamlet
or city or kingdom (for a brief month or a season)
by becoming a dragon’s lunch.

These were days of yore, long before women were deemed worthy of learning to read; they knew not the stories, so no maiden expected a knight to arrive just in time to prevent the singeing of her silky tresses, or for the sun to affect a gleeful presence, directing its rays in such a way to make his swash-buckling sword gleam.

The metal-clad hero always triumphed,
gallantly relieving the maiden of her anticipated fate,
leaving the beast beheaded at his clanking feet,
and as I read, I dreamed of being the victor;
valiant slayer of dragons,
benefactor of freedom.

Through the years, I have been thrown
onto many a sacrificial stone.
Now I am old, I know that a steel blade
is not the weapon for me; to evade a killing
I douse the dragon’s flames with ink;
I anaesthetise him with my needled pen of wit;
one by one, I loosen all his teeth.
When he wakes, in seething rage
he snaps his mighty jaw, and grates…
freeing his loosened teeth.
Confused dismay dims his formerly fearsome face
to see them scattered in the filth of his dank cave.

He will live, but is disabled.

.

©Jane Paterson Basil

Seed

lily-321

When a seed is conceived,
it needs a particular mix of commodities
in order to survive.

Should it germinate,
its list of requirements increases;
a list which is unique for each type
and every individual seed.

A few are weak from the start,
some weaken before they leave the parent plant,
nibbled by insects, or blocked from their feed,
while others take a premature fall.

Many swell with health, only to land on concrete or rock,
and be crushed beneath careless feet,
or scoffed by wild beasts.

The lucky ones find fertile soil,
but they’re all vulnerable to attack, accidents, lack of sustenance,

and so it goes, even as they grow,
a host of advantages and dangers can change their chemical makeup.

Later, sun and shade can stunt their growth or perfect their shape.

Water may kill them or help them to thrive.

Nutrients may be insufficient,
washed away by the rain or absorbed by strangers and siblings.

Every twist in their existence is indelibly inscribed in their history,
altering their strengths and weaknesses,
adjusting their needs.

Every day they’re in danger from parasites,
at risk of mishap of every kind.

If you see a weak lily
please don’t discredit it,
but reach out with kindness;
you may save its life.

The Daily Post #Soil

©Jane Paterson Basil

New Horizons

ship unmoored.jpg

Built well,
but not yet strong enough
to take the heartless weight of dark cargo
dumped deep in her unready  hold,
the beautiful boat became unmoored
from the harbour of her home.

Her anchor slipped through shifting sands
as the ship’s sails were buffeted
by each errant gust of wind.

The rudder broke, the bowsprit split,
the fo’c’sle ghosts awoke and moaned
whilst helplessly she floated to and fro,
sometimes so close that her landlocked crew
had high hopes that they may reach her —
but each time the wild waves beat them back,
leaving them treading water, and her bobbing on the sea,
growing smaller as the winds ripped her sails
and whipped her away.

Gails attacked her lonely deck.
Sea brine ate her failing timbers,
cracked her weakened keel, and seeped into her hull.

At the stroke of doom, a miracle occurred;
drawing her to safer waters.
The tainted cargo began melting away,
and her anchor finally held sway.

When the big ship sailed her way,
its kindly captain saw this brave, but ailing boat.
Throwing her a lifeline, he led her to a safer shore,
where he forged a golden anchor,
replaced her broken parts, reinforced her base,
and painted her in brightest shades,
that she may proudly sail again.

Dedicated to David. You rock!

PS Love to Laura. I see you sail and I’m proud of you. xxx

The Daily Post #Unmoored

©Jane Paterson Basil

The Wall

wallpaper-86

.

I thought that I had built a wall, but maybe it built me.
I reckoned I’d erected it from pure tranquility,
but it was fake and now it just illuminates the pain.
If I can’t climb around it, I may never write again.

~o~

The wall within my fantasy was built from pretty thoughts;
all sorts of handsome ramblings my idle mind had wrought,
re-arranged and written down, in designer verse with rhyme;
fond tales of winter madness, and dancing summertime.

~o~

The words stretched out like daisy chains across my living room,
I heaped them up in courses, to shield me from the gloom.
Each inch of clever phrasing became a brick in the wall.
Like blinds, they hid the daylight, and brought me to my fall.

~o~

I falsely thought I’d built a wall, but maybe it built me.
I reckoned I’d erected it from pure tranquility,
but it was fake and now it just illuminates the pain.
I have to beg my brighter self to let me write again.

~o~

I must have written this at some point over the past couple of months. I‘m feeling better now,  but it seems a waste to leave it rotting in my documents.

©Jane Paterson Basil

Autumn’s cruel joke

tree-9985

Beyond my window,
Autumn beckons with false promise.
Bare branches bend their beckoning fingers
before the blue beyond where cottonwool clouds meander.
Baby breeze murmers at fall’s command;
“See the beauty,” it seems to say,
“I’ve mended the weather.
Come to me and I will fill your dreams;
Let you live one remembered childhood Sunday.
Come outside, come outside, and breathe my carefree air;
run with me, prance with me,
spin and dip and dance with me.
Be a child again.”

But I hide behind my door where I am safe
from those autumnal lies which taunt me so cruelly;
I know if I trust them, the spell will evade me.

A trick of the light will lead me to wander
in search of the joy of yesteryear’s freedom.

The brow of the hill will pull me toward it,
and when I arrive the goal will be yonder,
down in the valley, then on to the river,
and still my yearned-for destination;
those faraway trees and lush green meadows,
will be around many corners,
long miles beyond me.

A storm will steal up.
Thunder will crack,
and darkness will cover
the land all around me.
Rain will pelt me,
and flood will drown me.

©Jane Paterson Basil