Tag Archives: metaphor



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




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



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



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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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

Get in training



you ‘d better think quick, better get in training
cos’ you may find all manner of complications raining
down on your head
and you could be dead
if you don’t have the wisdom to build your strength
don’t forget you’re young and you’ve got the whole length
of your life to live
you’ll have nothing to give
if you don’t work out a lighter way to carry that load
cos’ you’re gonna find a year or ten down the road
bad luck or fate
will add to the weight
it could be any one of all manner of issues
and you won’t hold it back by crying into tissues
so do it today
practice every way
of dealing with any kind of troubles you may face
this is not a garden party, it’s the human race
life can get rough
so you have to be tough
to ward off depression, stress and anxiety
or you’ll end up with much more weight than you can carry.

A hurried one, written for The Daily Post’s One Word Prompt #Carry, while waiting to meet a friend…

©Jane Paterson Basil