Tag Archives: rhyming verse

High Plains Drifter


I’m feeling destructively productive today – or to put it another way, I’m irresponsibly putting off doing all the practical things I need to do before going away to hold my daughter’s hand while she’s in labour. After all, why do today what you can regret not having done today, tomorrow? Oh yes, I’m in the grip of madness, alright.

Having already written one Terrible Poem this week, please forgive me if this little effort is no worse than mediocre; I seem to have used up most of this week’s supply of Terrible Poetification. This time, my poem is for the current Terrible Poetry Contest. Apologies to Chelsea for wasting her time; I know this rhyme doesn’t achieve the required extremes of cringiness, but I couldn’t resist…

This week’s specifics:

  1. The Topic‘s The Old West. Or, do The New West. Heck, do Midwest if that’s how you ride. Think of a song to sing on a campfire-smoke night, a shout to yell at those darn coyotes, or a rhyme to a cowboy from his sweetheart back home.
  2. Length is up to you, but many a cowpoke will doze off mid-ride if the trail gets too long.
  3. Rhymin’s up to you, partner.
  4. Most importan’ly, Make ‘er terrible. I don’t wanna see yer sorry hide back here till it is.
  5. Many a rough-rider can have a rough tongue, but sometimes lady folk read this blog. Keep yer comments to a civilized PG-13.


A drifter came whose hooded eyes
bore a hole through town-folks faces
and though the distant cloudless skies
revealed no darkening, shadowed traces,
and dusty streets withheld a warning,
the tides of change were set that morning.

Puffed up folks with secret past
came dressed up all respectable,
but in his soul, his truth held fast
he knew they were despicable.
They placed a star upon his chest
and paid him well to do his best.

He vowed that he would free the gang
of an opposing, greedy clan,
then chose a stunted, clownish man
as deputy, to serve his private plan.
Yet no-one but this man could see
the mist that held a mystery.

Though no-one guessed his hidden aim
his friend came close and boldly did say
“Stranger, you never spoke your name.”
The drifter squinted and turned away
towards the boneyard on the hill,
where recall held his gaze so still.

The townsfolk rallied to his call
to learn to shoot a rifle straight;
he fooled the people one and all,
and then he ordered scarlet paint.
They dipped their brushes when he said
that they should paint the buildings red.

A heavy gang rode down the hill,
and stared upon a scarlet joke.
They came to raid and maim and kill;
amid the mayhem, the foreshortened bloke
recalled the townsfolk’s shameful past
and recognised the drifter at last.

Some years before, one rain drenched night
a man was beaten in the square.
Although he begged with all his might,
he could find no mercy there.
Declared as dead, they buried him
beneath the bone-yard on the hill.

Corpse and drifter were one and the same;
vengeance was wrought by the man with no name.

high plais drifter

©Jane Paterson Basil

The Game of Life


Teachers say that it’s essential
to reach toward our full potential;
“Make the most of your credentials.
Re-define the providential.”

Life is a game that all of us play,
finding all kinds of dice on the way.
Some will be bright, some dull and grey;
brittle ones crumble and fade away.

They’re tricky blighters, the dice of life,
leading to bliss or riches or strife.
Some require sweat, others take time,
some promise dollars for less than a dime.

Kids blow dreams at birthday candles,
bones grows weak, flesh grows handles.
Ice cream drips from seaside hands,
beached eels writhe on drying sands.

Orang-u-tangs confront destruction,
Women pay for liposuction.
Councils order waste reduction,
Couples practice reproduction

Youths get drunk in ill-lit clubs,
killers shoot up schools and pubs,
Flash floods swallow humble huts,
arid sun cracks idle dust.

A trainee celebrates his rise,
another hungry baby dies.
Protesters wave their placards high,
Leaders whistle tunes and sigh.

Cryptic codes stain lip-sticked faces,
muscled athletes speed through races,
spiders clamber up a wall,
Governments rise, nations fall.

For silent death and wailing birth
cards pile high above the hearth.
Acquaintances and family friends
mark delivery at both ends.

History grows, inventing, repeating,
just as food precedes excreting,
just as farewell follows greeting,
ever creating and deleting.

Never-the-less, it’s preferential
to reach toward our full potential.
Make the most of your credentials.
Re-define the providential.


Written for The Word of the Day Challenge: Potential … a couple of days late. I’ll have to try harder.

©Jane Paterson Basil


cheese platter.jpg

Rigid in bed, glaring at ceiling,
belly-ache imparting ghastly feeling.
Hurt so bad, didn’t sleep all night
belly-ache brought on quite a fright.
Veggie bake was big mistake;
too much cheese brings belly ache.

Can’t pretend I didn’t know –
belly-ache gripped me weeks ago
from baking up delicious meal:
belly-ache made me squirm and squeal.
Swore back then that I’d forsake
cheese that served up belly-ache.

Once again I failed to resist
lovely cheesy belly-achy dish.
Guessed the cause; it’s not too sad
belly-ache’s inspired by rocky gall-blad.
Rich cheese sauce gave personal proof
when belly-ache shot through the roof.

Knew right then what I had to do –
take belly-ache to medical zoo.
Personable doctor prodded me,
gave me more belly-ache for free.
Nodding heads, we both agreed
ultra-sound scan was what I’d need.

Waited weeks in sober mood,
eating belly-ache reducing food.
cutting lovely cheeses out –
Don’t want another belly-ache bout.
Letter came giving me a date
for looking deep into belly-ache.

Crawled to bus-stop in heat of sun,
went to hospital, belly-ache gone.
Lay on the bed for friendly technician –
pleased with belly-ache’s brief remission.
She greased my belly and used her skill
to find the secret of belly-aching ill.

Technician told me her name was Nelli,
she made a movie of ache-free belly.
She was sweet and funny and quite kind-hearted –
this was the belly-aching news she imparted;
Belly filled with truckload of rocks,
Tying me in belly-aching knots.

Now I have to wait and see,
when belly-ache will be cut out of me.
looking forward to the glorious day;
I’ll throw my belly-ache diet sheet away.
Here is the reason that I’m so pleased;
Won’t get belly-ache when I eat cheese.

The technician really was called Nelli…

©Jane Paterson Basil

Where there’s Muck




Patrick MacTaverty was brash in his depravity;
his habit was to excavate his every gap and cavity.
His shamelessness was infamous – sickening and unpleasant –
he dug away with mild disdain no matter who was present.
He was known in local restaurants, in the corner shop and library,
for ignoring every plea and threat and all attempts at bribery.

He shovelled at his eyes and ears, and in his mouth and nose,
he flung off shoes and smelly socks, to delve between his toes.
His heights of degradation would defy imagination;
there clearly there was no limit to his inner salutation
while he wiggled spindly fingers deep within each hollow part
as if to wave a greeting to his tonsils, brain and heart.

Aquaintances and strangers always gasped and were appalled
when he loosened up his belt and they saw his trousers fall.
His naval display was his greatest pride and joy –
a showcase for his dug-out waste from the day he was a boy.
The orifice extractions drove the viewers to distraction,
owing to the acrid odour,  rotting matter and compaction.

A dog appeared from nowhere – all claimed that it was mad
when it bit off Patrick’s fingers – but most of them were glad.
Furthermore, once he ceased collecting  murky treasures,
the mess turned sweet and friable by soft and silent measures,
and out of his round belly button mounds of flowers grew –
some were well-known species, but others were quite new.

Now Patrick’s makes a fortune from the sale of blooms of class –
which serves to prove the saying true, that ‘where there’s muck there’s brass’.

Brass = money.

©Jane Paterson Basil

Indomitable # a poem

Filleigh - Castle_Hill_viaduct.jpg

Standing on the window ledge polishing the glass,
petrified pedestrians staring at my ass.
Don’t think about the pavement thirty feet below;
hang on to the window frame and don’t let go.
When the windows are clean, the battle is won;
you call it risky but I call it fun.

The disused viaduct is surprisingly high,
If I was to plummet I would surely die.
The protective fence is no wider than my shoe –
close your eyes tight if I am scaring you.
Ten steps to go, and I’m feeling driven,
you call it madness but I call it living.

Lying in the park in the middle of the day,
just around the corner from the kids at play.
Frankie is practicing his knife-throwing skill;
every near miss is giving me a thrill.
Watching his smile as he hovers above;
You call it dangerous but I call it love.

Image of Castle Hill Viaduct. At some point before I moved to the area – in my teens, a fence was built along each edge of the bridge, to make it ‘safe’.

©Jane Paterson Basil



In school, she dreams of giant leaps
…………so high that they bely belief.
Her hopes attend her as she sleeps
…………not knowing life, or fear or grief,
but as she grows the dreams are lost
…………beneath her stretching body’s needs
She pays no heed to future cost,
…………but follows fast where freedom leads.

Without a thought, she walks a trail
………..which leads to failures’s dark abyss,
her careless steps keen to travail,
…………and welcome each caress and kiss.
Behind her, childhood hopes are shed,
…………abandoned in the rush of will.
Before she knows it, she is wed,
…………to one whose heart she can’t fulfil.

She births two children, lacking base
…………for homely domesticity.
Her passion dead, she turns her face
…………toward a dank duplicity.
Another man steals her away –
…………a turncoat twisted to the core;
and though she rues her cruel affray,
………..yet she bears two children more.

Diminished by each subtle trick
…………designed to overthrow her mind,
she wakes each morning feeling sick,
…………too weak a brighter path to find.
Her mother’s death shakes her awake,
…………reminding her that life is short.
Determined now to make a break
…………she packs her bags without a thought.

She journeys long in dusty hope
…………oft tripped up by past errors,
holding fast a knotted rope
…………that’s tangled by her terrors,
whilst even as she climbs, she knows
…………she must unpick the troubles wrought
by all her childrens deepening woes,
………..and all the battles never fought.

If she had seen her fool’s lifestyle
…………would cause such trauma for her kin,
she may have paused in thought awhile
…………and not have let the evil in,
but she was young, and didn’t see
………..the harm her carelessness could cause…
The fool that lived so blind was me;
………. too cowardly to fight my wars.

I earned the grief, and every day, I aim to teach a better way.
Whatever kindly friends may say, I must try my debt to pay.


The Daily Post #Lifestyle

©Jane Paterson Basil