Tag Archives: selfishness

The End of the Line


Valentine’s day
Pre-planned passion
hangs in the balance



He lopes home
hugging a rain-drenched
bouquet to his frame, hunching
keep rain from staining petals, hoping
the beauty, the ruby hue, the perfume
of these hot-house blooms will halt
the drift. He’s humming a tune.

He walks in, singing
Roses are red

my love

He presents the spray
She feigns cat-lick surprise, yet
her greedy eyes betray



the end of the line.
Cheapskate flowers again;
hints for a cruise, or at least
a long weekend in Spain
were in vain.


©Jane Paterson Basil

Where Charity Ends


The cash
scorched their pockets,
so they drove to the shops.

They bought
silly hats for Ascot,
nifty jackets to match the fashion,
trainers imported from dim Asian sweatshops,
nasty plastic bracelets for no special reason,
dresses that hungry children had studded with beads
so secretaries could look like hippies when they hit the festival fields.

They slurped greedy treats
while on TV screens, malnourished children
struggled to breathe.

“Charity begins at home,” said mum,
speedily switching to BBC where a documentary
displayed equally disturbing images. “We can’t
let the kids see this,” said dad,
and switched channel again.

“We have no money for a third holiday
since the kitchen extension was so pricey,” said mum,
“and we can’t afford to improve our second home
as we’ve just had to pay for your shiny red
penis extension in the garage,”
she added.

They ordered oodles of takeaway
and ate chunks of cake while they waited.
When the food arrived they shovelled a few bites
then rudely shoved their plates away,
complaining that they were full.

Mum scraped waste into the obese garbage bin,
wondering why
she had so little appetite.

Meanwhile, in Somalia,
mothers held their breath, hunger forgotten as they watched
the struggle of small chests, hearing not their own wails
when deathly silence fell.


©Jane Paterson Basil

Tailored to fit



Victor Silverspoon-Pinke thinks my three rooms
would be far too mean to fit his needs.
His kitchen could swallow my entire space,
yet still he complains;

I need new units, my carpet is wearing thin, this neighbourhood is becoming too dingy for my liking. Why can’t my life be tailored to my requirements? Am I not deserving? My stocks started sinking the day that I paid for the landscaping, and now my top-of-the-range coffee machine has gone to meet its maker. It would be cheaper to replace it online, but I can’t wait for days, so I’ll have to sacrifice an extra sixty and drive it away.

Watching from my window,
I see the nameless stranger whose many faces we all know,
as she crosses the road, trudging toward her concrete bed.

Toting tattered ‘bags for life’ – only ten pence each from Tesco
she totters on in stained and torn, oversize trainers.

Her knees ache, her heart has forgotten what it feels like to be full,
but her eyes are dry;
she gave up any expectation that her life would ever
be tailored to her requirements
the day the debtors took her home away.

The streets offer no relief from the sniping chill,
bones freeze and stay frozen, until
you learn to survive
by evading the pain of sobriety.

So who are we to criticise and blame?
If such misfortune snatched us up,
we may do the same.

The nameless stranger’s smudged frame is engulfed
by a fringe of leafy trees,
swallowed like a guilty secret.

I rise from my seat, walk the short space from room one to room two,
brew a cup of tea to sweeten my thoughts,
but fail to shake a lonely image from my mind,
as somewhere beyond my sight,
the nameless woman shuffles on,
into the brief obscurity of gritty sleep.

Tomorrow I will wake in room three,
stretch languidly and lie awhile in peace,
saunter to room two, prepare my favourite breakfast,
step into room one and savour it,
shamefully faced away from the street, lest I should see
something too disturbing
for so early in the day,

 Victor Silverspoon-Pinke will rise dissatisfied with his mass-produced life, irritated by the instructions that came with his sleek new coffee machine, added to which, it makes his six year old, bespoke oak cabinets look yet more inappropriate for his distinguished name and his expectations high. He’ll dread the moment when he checks the price of his shares. Frowning at the framed vista of his freshly sculpted acres he’ll complain that the contrived landscape leaves something to be desired,

and the nameless woman will have risen at daybreak,
silently packed up her bedding and trailed away,
head cast down, scanning the sodden ground,
searching  for small change.


The Daily post #Tailor

©Jane Paterson Basil

Honouring beauty

It’s day 3 of the 3 Day, 3 Quote challenge. Thank you Sumyanna for this interesting challenge, which has given me a chance to stretch my imagination. I repeat my apology for not passing it on.



If you wish to honour beauty
do not decorate it
nor claim possession
of the smallest piece
but gaze at it, then turn away
cradling it in your memory

This quote was inspired by my visit, yesterday, to a Cornish waterfall. If you read the post I wrote on the trip it will show you why.

©Jane Paterson Basil

Fortune of birth

Who are we to close the gates
and refuse you entry?
who are we to claim this land
we have borrowed by fortune of birth?
how can any of us say it is our inheritance?
It belongs no more to us than to the wolves
and wildcats we anihilated so long ago,
or the crow circling an abandoned pastry in the gutter,
carelessly dropped from the hand of a man
who took more than he required.
I hear him now, whining about greedy seagull antics;
wailing that he can’t afford a holiday
because he’s just had a new kitchen fitted;
whinging that immigrants are parasitic.
His indignant belly threatens to break the zip
separating the word Ever from Last,
as he grinds a sodden fag-butt beneath his Nike shod toe
and slinks to the jobcentre with his sick note,
before slipping to work where they pay cash
and no questions are asked.

You arrive, hungry and confused,
your status robbed by cruel circumstance,
in need of some human kindness.
The government knows it can make
a tidy profit from your citizenship,
but it admits you in the name of charity
and in the name of charity you are herded
into asylum seekers’ hell;
grey prisoners in grey prisons, with no rights
and often no grasp of our language,
treated like criminals;
your only crime being misfortune.

The man collects his dole
and goes home to his cosy life,
to read the lies the tabloids tell,
while you try to settle in a de-humanising cell
in a country that tells you to go.

Who am I, and who is that man,
to say we should close the gates
and refuse you entry?
Who are we to claim this land
we have borrowed by fortune of birth?

This humble offering was inspired by M. Zane McClellan’s wonderful poem Captcha ~ I Am Human

Also please check out Not Me My Friend by Gbolabo Adetunji,

©Jane Paterson Basil

Greed and hunger


far away
a child starves
while the fat ones
bemoan their perceived poverty
filling their faces with too much food
covering their vain tattoos with the latest fashion
before going home in their fuel-guzzling metal monsters
to rooms so stuffed with luxury goods
that their essential electronic toys
have to be produced in

tinier than
the starving child’s

<> <> <>

Written for The Daily Post #Miniature

©Jane Paterson Basil