Tag Archives: suicide

Ask Me Why



When we were families,
grandma’s house was a shared nest, and her attic
held history’s secrets beneath
dust that had caressed generations of kin.
Fingerprints revealed the smudged sheen
of an oaken music box, broken
by children’s rough love.
Though empty, it retained memories
of seamed silk stockings and a mother’s kiss.
Buried in a leather trunk an unworn
wedding dress told a musty story of domestic hope,
its promise stolen by the guns of war;
beneath the yellowed crepe-de-chine
lay mothy remnants
of a bridal bottom drawer.

When we were families,
most of us had somewhere
we could call our family home.
It may be humble, rough-and tumble,
with crumbling bathroom walls,
but it was many times better than no home at all.
When cold weather crept through our vests,
we’d pile into the kitchen through a welcoming door
and nestle next to a warming fire.

   * * *

Beyond my window, rain splashes passers by.
A billowing wind blows them forward, to where dry warmth beckons .

Half a mile away an encampment of flimsy tents
does little to protect our homeless friends.

At night they crawl inside their sleeping bags, fully dressed.
Curling up tight, they pretend to themselves that their nest is safe,
while council officials continue their plot
to rob the dispossessed of what little they’ve got.

©Jane Paterson Basil

The Lighthouse



Inhibited sky
hides day’s naked light
behind a blushing veil of cloud.
Bashfully, it dons its night time hues.
Below the sleeping beacon, dark ocean cools,
murmering its merciless melody
of endless, incidental

Saline spray
lingers on skin and lips,
like the memory of a million kisses;
signposts on a highway to heaven or hell.
She wishes that she could pinpoint them all;
rinse away those that were planted by force,
retaining only the imprints of pleasure –
but thinks it too late.

Her eye
measures the drop,
the sharp surprise of rock.
Oh, to be taken by the reckless sea
 {{{ – enveloped in its fluid caress – }}}
not this ignominious nosedive onto stone,
bequeathing her decomposing carcass
as appetising fast food
for carnivores.

In such a ferocious place,
to be quick is to be too harshly dead;
not her imagined romantic dissipation,
but yet another beaky invasion.

She considers;
shall she precipitate
this cheapened technique
to attain irreversable decay?

With a final, longing glance,
she steps off the catwalk,
her spiral descent
no shocking



©Jane Paterson Basil

Living by numbers


She lived her life by numbers, expecting good luck on days which were multiples of six, weeks which were multiples of four, months which were multiples of two. The best luck of all arrived on days which involved all three factors, so Sunday April 24th – falling on the twenty-fourth day of the month, the 26th week, and the fourth month of the year, should have been a very auspicious day – the first of only three this year, counting Friday, 1st January as the first day of the first week of the year. She had woken up that morning to find her dog, Loopy, dead on the kitchen floor. The post mortem found that he had suffered a massive heart attack. He’d been sixteen (four squared) years old, his sight had been going, he was diabetic, he had athritic legs, and some kind of digestive problem which often resulted in her having to scrub and disinfect carpets, so dispite her grief, she looked upon his death in a positive light; he had died suddenly and relatively peacefully at a point where his life had been becoming a chore. Furthermore, he had saved her having to make the decision to have him put to sleep. All in all, it had been a good end for her old companion.

The second super-lucky day was Saturday, 18th June. A lorry lost control coming out of the junction opposite the front of her house, and ploughed through her wall, grinding to a halt with its wheels in the centre of her living room. Her bedroom was above, and her bed was pushed across the room, while the ceiling collapsed on top of it. It was 6am, and she would normally have been in bed at that time, but a bout of indigestion had made her unable to sleep, so she was in the kitchen pouring milk of magnesia into a cup. She considered herself extremely lucky to be alive.

The council moved her into another house, and she was just getting settled when the
third especially lucky day arrived, on Friday, 12th August, which happened to be her 50th birthday. She wanted to take stock of her life, as this was her half-centenary, so for the first time ever, she looked through her diaries. She had begun keeping a record on her tenth birthday, which was the day she had begun her system of numerification. The only entries she had made had been on her lucky days, both minor and major, but she skipped the minor ones (written in gree) and only read the major ones (written in purple).

The first entry told her that on Tuesday, 24th April 1976 she had ridden a horse for the first time, but had fallen off and broken her leg. She had spun it into a happy result – the nureses were very kind to her at the hospital – but her leg had become infected, and had never healed properly.

On Thursday 8th March she’d still been in hospital. There was a brief mention of the news that her father had left her mother, but a long description of the gifts he brought to make his daughter feel better about it.

Already she was beginning to see a pattern. She read about fall-outs with friends, the death of her cousin, her sister and her mother, several attacks by a group of three bullies who had made her life miserable over an eighteen-month period, a car crash, two burglaries, ambitions crushed by failed exams… the list went on and on in this vein, and yet she had put a different spin on every entry, so determined was she to believe in her lucky dates. She pictured herself, a poor, lost child who had taken up he needle and darned fantasies over her hollow life; whose only consolation had been her faithful Loopy, and now even he was dead.

She remembered how he laid his head on her lap when she was feeling low, how pleased he was to see her when she returned from her cleaning job, or from shopping.

She lived her life by numbers, always planning to end it on a lucky day, a tidy day, a day with round numbers, She was a round, tidy, fifty today. It was a very lucky day. She had fifty pretty little pills and she was going home to Loopy…

Written for The Daily Post Prompt #Fifty

©Jane Paterson Basil


Hey Daisy

Hey Daisy, come and have a drink
never mind what your parents think.
Look at that guy with the dreaded hair,
and how about the cute guys over there.
Daisy have a drink and have some fun
get yourself laid before the night is done.

Daisy Daisy you have to go to church,
you can’t leave Jesus in the lurch.
Tell those friends you’re busy today,
it’s better for you if they stay away.
I wish you’d see the risk they pose
when you let them lead you by the nose.

Hey Daisy there’s a party down the road.
Forget about your mother’s moral code,
snort some coke and smoke some green,
dance on the table and make a scene.
Daisy have a drink and have some fun
get yourself laid before the night is done.

Daisy Daisy, come and meet Troy,
he’s such a sweet and pious boy,
he never hangs around on the street,
he’s so much nicer than the people you meet.
I wish you’d see the risk they pose
when you let them lead you by the nose.

Hey Daisy, what an earth is the matter.
You’re throwing up and you’re getting fatter,
looks like there’s a baby on the way.
Sorry mate, I would love to stay
but I want a drink and to have some fun
I’ll get myself laid before the night is done.

Daisy Daisy, what have you done.
So this is the result of you having fun.
You’ll have to abort it and we won’t tell Troy,
you don’t want to lose him, he’s such a nice boy.
You should have seen the risk your friends posed
when you let them lead you by the nose.

Poor little Daisy stares at her shoes
with a razor in her hand and nothing to lose.
She never did play her false friends’ game,
and she cowers when she hears Troys name,
the note by her side tells the terrible truth
of a girl who wasn’t trusted with the choices of youth.

She was raped and beaten and threatened with death,
if she ever dared to breathe a single breath
to her mother who tried to force a match
with somebody she thought was a perfect catch,
psychopathic Troy whose pretty little prey
was taking her life in her own chosen way.

©Jane Paterson Basil



He is seventeen. As he stands upon the chair the rope around his neck mocks him, listing the things he will never have:

The shy girl whose hazel eyes flashed with helpless compassion while towering boys pushed and punched him, shrinking him into unbearable shame.

She will grow into womanhood never having been wrapped in these arms that will soon become limp, or kissed by lips that will cease to speak.

Their unborn children will weep as their never-to-be father takes a deep breath and kicks the chair away, thrashes in mid-air, and vacates his life.

Behind them, four designated grandchilden will stare in horror to learn that futures can be disposed of in such a final way.

His future friends will never meet this beautiful caring soul. The love he has earned will never return to him a hundred fold.

His final breath will not be a glorious farewell to a life kindly lived, but a tragic end to one cut short by his inability to realise that he was worthy, and that he was loved.

He thinks he hears a manic giggle as the rope gets ready to stretch and tighten, as it pictures the triumphant moment when his parents enter the room to find their son’s body dangling, purple faced and absent of soul. He feels the knot itching to hear the music of their grief.

He smiles as he releases himself from his bonds, carefully untying the rope and removing its accompanying hook from the ceiling. Later he will fill the hole that it made, rendering these last hours invisible.

He will go downstairs and hug both of his parents. Tomorrow he will stand tall and look the bullies in the eye, and then he will find words to say to the shy girl with the hazel eyes.

© Jane Paterson Basil