Tag Archives: poems



Physicists forge forward,
white coats flapping
like Messianic messengers’ wings
as they fly urgently around corners
racing to dine on Science,
masticating fact,
slurping maths,
spewing heretical pips and chips of maverick bone
into the spittoon of fools and false magic.
Caught within the limitations of scientific instruments,
they gloss over the cracks of universe and you,
yet still
insoluble mysteries seep through.


Word of the Day Challenge: Gloss

©Jane Paterson Basil




Viewed from the moon
I am helpless as a raindrop
drying on the African plain,
an invisible crease
in the slithering ribbon of history.
Yet next to an amoeba
I am a galaxy,
imperious as the sea.

in the eye of the universe, each planet
is a dust-mote, blown away in a moment;
to the neutron, a speck of dust
is an enduring planet.

Word of the Day Challenge: Imperious

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,

“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,
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

Seasonal Fruit


                             Green leaves
                        rise through the earth
                    unfurling from embryonic seeds
                   instinctively reaching for the sun
                      while  nature  nourishes
                           each blind need

         cavort in  a garden
          playfully pawing

                                    brighten  the  meadow
                                trusting their delicate wings
                               flitting to land on pink lunches
                                    as  they  battle  each
                                       rushing breeze
            alight on trees
       flying free, soaring high
        ignoring blossoms that
            bloom and die

                                         Tall trees
                                  broaden their branches
                                  preparing to reproduce
                                      before leaves

                      my  gaining  weight
                 across  transmuting  phases
             of embryo, kitten, butterfly, eagle.
             I have played out the part of tree.
              Finally  acknowledging  mortality
               I liken it to a seasonal fruit
                  whose roots must wither
                     to make room for
                       fresh plants
                         to bloom

While this poem has only a tenuous connection to it, it was inspired by something my brother copied down many years ago. I think he heard it on the Sonny and Cher Show. Maybe it was set to music, maybe not. Snatches of it often play in my mind, and yet I can find no record of it anywhere. It speaks of the ego of youth – the feeling that the world is yours, and you can do anything. Here are a couple of stanzas:

Look at you, look at me,
standing ten feet tall are we.
Look at them, look at us
wondering why they make such fuss.

Look at me then look again
and maybe you’ll remember when
you stood this tall and knew it too,
and the whole world turned to look at you.

Does anyone recognise it? It would make my day if I could get a full copy.

Also, I’d really appreciate an honest critique of my poem. I’ve been battling with it for days, and I’m still not sure whether it works. You can pull out all the stops; if it is weak, I’d prefer to know.

©Jane Paterson Basil

The Curs


Some days
maybe for a week or more,
the curs sleep. I square my shoulders,
hold my chin parallel to the world,
point my nose
the next

A jaunty walk, a go-getter smile –
both come easy on days like these,
yet I never forget;

inside me
the curs lurk.

I hear them snore,
my stomach lurches when they turn,
and always
I take
a deep
cataloguing my gems
until breathing is easy again,
blinding every sense to the sighs, the snorts,
the crawling taunts
of a disturbed cur.

If it retreats into still sleep,
I have succeeded in my quest for peace,
but too often
a cur’s
leads into a curdling cry
and the pack wakes,
instantly absorbed
in its vicious intent.

Attacking the threads in my mind,
they tangle and snap the intricate design
whose painstaking lines
create a picture
of serenity.

As I am currently out of reach of the Internet most of the time, I’m unable to keep up with my reading, and my posts are sporadic, which is why my response to Kira’s Sunday Scribbles Challenge is two days late.

©Jane Paterson Basil

Trick of the Light

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

Winding Down


The day ends,
bringing a sense of surprised escape
from a jail fenced in by a towering jumble
of building blocks thrown from a toy box
by a blundering giant,
the bricks making jagged walls and dead-end tunnels
through which I crawled,
tucking panic under a laughing mask,
my consciousness screaming, the stubborn silence
of my brave face blinding my eyes,
showing me nothing but the next task.

I fumbled forward,
cuts and bruises blooming in the dark.
Distracted by my acts,
pain translated into mumbling ache
which I sluggishly shoved aside.

Now sanctuary melts the ice,
awakening me to the grazes that sting my mind;
in the shock of hindsight
I briefly see scarlet clots expanding
in harsh white light
that sliced between erratic shards
and sharply trimmed each blackened shadow.

A magnanimous evening
ambles in to wave an amber goodnight,
its travelling rays casually caressing carefully collected
reflections of nature,
highlighting details of prized pieces.
A slice of fresh air lifts and expands
the clean fragrance of lavender and beeswax,
banishing my ramshackle day
to the skittish world of was and maybe;
breathing deeply,
I relax.

©Jane Paterson Basil