Tag Archives: poems

The Theatre of Life

Sometimes
I feel like a bad actor 
in a play I thought not to rehearse. 
fudging my lines, 
smudging the plot.
Sometimes  my mind slides to 
a distant place and time
and I forget I'm on stage.
The fans must surely 
perceive I'm a sham.

Sometimes it's like
I've failed an audition
for a part in a thing called The Human Race
and having been banned 
from the theatre of life
                                       due to some kind 
                                        of failure or something I lack 
                                        that no-one explained
                                        and I don't understand
I've broken through the roof 
and am watching the acts
with my back to a grey-blue sky.

                                        Sometimes 
                                        I see evil, destruction,
                                       hunger, need and corruption
                                       and I find myself screaming again and again
                                       Not In My Name
                                       Not In My Name.
                                       At least it was not me
                                      who stole a killers role in the play.

Sometimes I know I am inept with those 
who sprang from my womb 
and I think of the myriad ways 
in which I have failed, yet 
I see 
their wisdom,  insight and grace
and feel forgiven.
I am inept with friends 
yet they see me, understand, love
the why and what of who I am.
Even strangers like 
the incomplete face I display to the world,
so I leap from my peeper's perch,
my alien ship,
to embrace the living earth.

Sometimes I cognise, re-cognise
I belong.
I am real.

©Jane Paterson Basil

Trophies

The gulls cry to be fed
and the woman raises the sound on the TV.
Hungry for love, the gulls screech
and the woman preens her hair.
Desperate, they beg.
The woman 
slings slices of white bread 

They land just within reach

She straightens their feathers, takes 
them to a place where a man 
coils words around their beaks, their eyes
and shoots
framing their formal guise

The woman 
places the portrait 
on the living room wall.
The gulls see.
This must be love, they say.
The woman
Switches on the TV
to drown out their squall.

The gulls grow.
 raise families of their own.
Their polite poses  
crowd the woman's wall.
Not a hair out of place,
Many mouths saying “Cheese”
many obedient eyes gazing 
into a stranger's face.
He clicks, and it's done.
He clicks.
He clicks, and the children - for
they are children - stretch their muscles,
appreciating release.

The proud matriarch of three generations
turns from the TV
and and reaches to make space 
in her spick and span home
                                            for another trophy.
©Jane Paterson Basil

Agoraphobia

Jacket on, my fingers 
reach 
for the latch 
which leads me 
to the other side of the door
which would take me outside.

Its arrival is always 
sudden,  
sometimes a surprise, yet 
routine as the seasons, 
pumping through my veins like
a sullen child dragging me back, like
a whining child unwilling 
to go outside.

Out loud, I say
you can do this,
it's just laziness, 
but the tainted blood 
           shoots 
      needles 
through my heart.

I call myself a coward, 
recall the feats of my youth,
the heights attained, 
the dangers faced and erased, yet
my feet refuse to move and 
my hand is stayed inches 
from the door.

I say to myself,  I can do this
can't I?
Silence but for the hard beat of my heart.
I repeat:
Can I do this today?

No, yet 
I trip over the reply, doubting 
my level of intent, feeling shame, even 
as the shudders wither my brain - even
as the room sways.

I need milk and a dozen other things. Please 
let me do this today.

No. The reply comes from deep inside.
No no no.

I back away, 
back to safety,
back to my lair, 
my table, 
my chair. 
Defeated, I glare at the cars passing by 
beneath the grey horizon.

Milk, vegetables and eggs
will wait another day.

©Jane Paterson Basil

One Bright Hue

You twist the cube,
try for one bright hue to fill your eyes, 
fumbling to build a blue wall 

that shines 
like a clean childhood sky, 

but the fingers fail and the cube bleeds, 
refusing to comply, its fuming patches 
bragging bitter truth,
describing the sickness that grins 
between the seams.
You drop the cube,
close your eyes 
and dream.

©Jane Paterson Basil

Written for Reena‘s Xploration challenge #196. Sorry, Reena, my WP editor has a glitch: hard as I try, I can’t get it to highlight the whole name of your post when creating a pingback.

Come into Oxfam (re-hashed)

Don't diss me sister; I'm a cool fashionista,
running with the times, an Eco A lister.
Dressed by Oxfam from my head to my toes,
elegant in every stitch of pre-cherished clothes
and feeling pretty nifty in my vintage hat --- 
fifty years more stylish than this season's tat.

I never understood; it's always been a mystery
why people steer clear of raiment with a history,
but the world is changing and the wise understand
it's grand to to be strutting in second-hand.
Our over-production will suck the planet dry ---
we cannot halt the damage unless we all try.
.
If you buy less new, it'll slow production down,
saving precious energy the world around,
so come on into Oxfam and rummage with me,
you never can tell what treasures you'll see.
It's better than the High Street shops in town ---
come with me to Oxfam and look around.

Labels lack soul and the prices are steep,
those showy little tags make folks look like sheep
or mannequins standing in a window display
trailing the fashion victims rags of the day.
Change your look, show your personality ---
come into the Oxfam shop with me.

When you learn about the projects that Oxfam holds dear
I hope that you will sign up to volunteer,
giving up a portion of your time for free,
learning new skills while you work with me
or any of the members of our friendly crew
who'd surely be delighted to get to know you.

If you ain't got the confidence I'll hold your hand,
and when you walk out the door you will understand
the reasons I spend my time like I do,
and buy pre-used instead of brand new:
I'm runnin' with the times, I'm a cool fashionista,
don't diss me sister, I'm an Eco A lister.  

©Jane Paterson Basil

Seems I’m all out of poetry. so I’ve been messing about with this one, which I wrote a few years ago... still not entirely happy with it.

Fairer Sex

A beautifully crafted poem penned by my guest poet, PW.

Abuse can take so many forms
the worst of which a bitch that's scorned
who shoots untruths from lips not hip each time her man takes stand or slips.

Her hands hold grip around your throat and with her words she bounds and chokes. No room to breathe, your freedom gone and with it youth, the truth along
with peace of mind and decent times - deceit then reaps to beat you blind. So blind in fact your tragic eyes can't see the traps or magic die.

Imagine why, I can't, can you? She kills the thrill of love so true then blues come back with blackness too to swallow up and hollow you. On borrowed time, the signs were clear as years of tears had disappeared the hope you held so very tight to live and love and bury spite. My plight can't end, my friends are hers to bend and break, my mates dispersed and curse me now just how she likes while I bleed red on beds of spikes.

She fed them lies and tied them well while hellish bouts of shouts and yells consume me still and fill my mind, an ever-growing hill to climb. So now I know, I start to grow and leave behind the crime and crows and start out fresh the best I can but torn, I warn the rest of man - don't be a sap, this patterns old. Be bold and brave, don't slave or fold and hold your head up high and cope, don't mope, just mend. I'm sending hope.

©PW

PW’s heartrending verse highlights the sad fact that men – as well as women – are sometimes subjected to repeated acts of abuse… yet their voices are rarely heard or listened to.

Butterfly Kyodai

You can't think straight. The reins 
were always slack. They slipped 
from your hands again. You can't 
remember when; could've been 
in your sleep or while you  
escaped into butterfly flight, 
clicking: once, twice, watching  
colourful wings flit...
as if 
they 
could save you...  

anyway you let go or maybe 
those reins were stolen and 
now there is no escape from 
the claw that clamps your flesh,
forcing you 
back into the cold  
of an echoing cave. 

©Jane Paterson Basil

Oak




This brave beauty
has been buffeted 
by autumn's steely breath,    
robbed of its faded cape.
Not one thread clung 
to shield it 
from winter chill. 
Twigs snap, strained limbs 
creak and break, 
yet victory is gained; the tree 
remains staunch,
tall and erect. 
Vanquished 
by harsh wind, 
leaves crumble 
and decay into mulch 
to feed next season's 
stunning display.

©Jane Paterson Basil

Poor Old Santa

Written for Word Of The Day Challenge: Reflect

With apologies to the oft-disputed author of ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas

 It's a dim little Christmas we're having this year,
 stranded from family and friends we hold dear.
 Factions are splattered all over the place,  
 there is fear and denial, ragr and bad grace.
 World leaders sit haggard on prickly fence
 while scientists struggle to make them see sense.
 Conspiracy geeks prittle predictable prattle
 and the papers continue to treat us like cattle.
 Mother is shielding and father is fraught
 by the dreadful cost of the gifts that he bought.
 Business is failing, his debts are a-growing,
 since Covid put paid to the seeds he was sowing.
 His children are sleeping in confident bliss
 faithfully dreaming of generous gifts.
 Santa has packed up his sleigh with great care,
 he's padlocked his storehouse and fed his reindeer.
 He's flying up high on his usual rounds;
 although visits are tricky, he won't let us down.
 Since rulings preclude him from entering chimneys
 he drops down the presents and flies away nimbly,
 with a groan in his throat and a tear in his eye;
 he'd be glad of a drink or a lovely mince pie,
 to fill his fat belly and give his heart ease -
 but he cannot risk catching a nasty disease.
 As he smoothly directs his crew through the air,
 he's pleased to be giving but filled with despair.
 He reflects that it's been a difficult year:
 There's lots of goodwill, but damn little cheer.   

©Jane Paterson Basil