Tag Archives: reconciliation

Paul’s Words: 2

swallow- paul2

Just lemme fly, I’ll death defy.
I miss the bliss, regrets and lies.
I wished for this, I’ll testify to dish Death’s kiss
and let me die…

A change of plan please if I can.
I’ve spanned and scanned of all lands and sands,
and stand a brand new, handsome man,
with standing, standards and a clan.

I cannot stand those scams I ran,
I danced and sang, while ranting slang,
I sang my sting to land it in.
It’s branded in, I planned to win.

There’s more to this than meets the eye,
ignore the shit, the streets passed by,
the struggle and the drugs,
I’ve tumbled into humble love.

©Paul David Ward

Since the lockdown, I have strayed further than ever from my blog. My normal activities have been replaced by gardening; sowing seeds, watering them, pricking them out, and clearing space in a disorganised communal garden that had to be cleared of masses of montbretia, ivy, creeping buttercup, dock, dandelions, bindweed, wild garlic, three-cornered leak (often mistaken for wold garlic, but even more invasive and less useful in the kitchen) and several kinds of annual weeds. I’ve been moving – or dispensing with – ill-placed plants and pruning untidy or overgrown shrubs.

I am exhausted from the time I roll out of bed until I crawl back in. My back and my legs constantly ache. My emotions are released: I cry at the drop of a hat.

And… I am happy, filled with a joy that is far less tinged with fear than could be expected during this pandemic. My son and I are rebuilding our relationship

When I took out the restraining order on my son, I knew the risks and they terrified me, but I also knew that the risk of not doing so was greater. For years I had been losing the bright, funny son that I loved so much. I had watched him turn into a sick, drug raddled, destructive stranger. He had to strike out on his own; to do or die – perhaps literally. I had known for a long time that I couldn’t help him to survive.

He didn’t die. He suffered, and that terrible suffering brought him back to the fold. We have not yet spoken since there is a danger that my voice could be a trigger for him, so the only contact I have with him is through text messaging. He sends me his poems and tells me what he’s been doing (deep cleaning and decorating his flat, drawing… and writing, of course), what he would like to do (he’s looking for voluntary aid work, but his record could go against him).

The blood of the phoenix runs through his veins. In addition to having cut out drugs and alcohol, he’s also in recovery from an abusive relationship with a very damaged young woman. He says his poetry helps him to work through his issues. He’s agreed to me posting some of his poems, and I am honoured to do so. 


Nobody’s fool

If asked to describe himself, Billy would have said he had never been anybody’s fool. If anything he had been a leader, though where he led his friends is another question.

One deep velvet night he sleep-walked from the stillness of a boat into the silken waters below. His wet landing was as silent as the moon sliding across the sky. Treading water he saw that his canoe had disappeared. There was nothing but him and the huge, silent ocean, holding him in its cold embrace.

Knowing the way that he had come, he turned as if to swim to the shore, but it was more distant than he had thought it to be. The faraway beach was brightly illuminated as if it were mid-day. All his associates from former times stood together, at the water’s edge; the men who he had twisted into whatever shape fitted him, encouraging them to cruelty and crime and infidelity; the women he had seduced with promises, just to get them into bed, and then abused. Yes, he had been a leader of men and women too, and even from that distance he could see the proof of his leadership in the faces of his estranged children.

The effort of staying afloat was exhausting him. If he could get their attention he was sure someone would rescue him. He shouted for help and he waved, his arms splashing arcs of glittering diamonds across the dark, before disappearing like dampened sparks as they hit the brine.

All his old friends turned their faces his way, and each gazed at him coldly for a few moments, then turned and walked away from the shore, towards their homes and their loved ones.

Just one boy was left, staring out to sea, and it took a minute to trace the memory of the tale behind his face. Then he recalled the stolen car, telling Jim to get in, he was taking him joyriding. He remembered Jim’s unhappy look, and how much ot took to persuade him; his determination to terrify Jim and the surge of pleasure when Jim started screaming; his feeling of Devil-may-care, replaced by the fear that invaded the air, the sharp taste of tin, the explosive sensation beneath his skin, when the car went over the edge.

Billy couldn’t remember if he cared when he saw Jim’s bleeding head, but now he felt shame for his distant escapade. Jim shrugged and yelled into the waking light “Sorry I can’t help, but I’m dead.”

Billy turned away to hide his tears, and found he had drifted to a rocky island, with spiky trees that grew from the stones, and every tree had one giant leaf with a murky eye which stared as he climbed the beach, and although unease prickled beneath his skin, he was so tired that as soon as he reached a soft patch of ground he lay down, longing to sleep.

A fine white mist danced around him, it’s tendrils reaching into his mind, and as it thickened he examined the way he had led his life, the pain he had brought, the suffering he wrought with the selfish games he had played. With breaking heart he vowed he would change if it wasn’t too late. He would make up for all the wrong he did as soon as he woke from this illuminating dream.

Then into the mist strode Jim, arms outstretched; forgiving him everything, and at that instant he knew that he, too, was dead. Somewhere far away his cold shell would be discovered by a cleaner when she came to change the hotel bedding, and nobody would care, and instead of the feeling of dread that may be expected, all he could feel was relief.

©Jane Paterson Basil