Tag Archives: words

You Who Read Me


In fledgling days
when I obeyed the angle of light,

my sky side
woke at night,
describing lives I had never known,
written on stolen pages torn from school notebooks,
secrets and stories to be stored
deep in the left hand drawer.

My earth side
spun in the sunshine,
spilling glee over barn yards and fields,
dousing in streams, trailing wet jeans up beckoning trees,
and I believed that never-never land
would never ever cease, and I
would never leave,

it began
to recede.

And oh, how I led them,
but how flippant to treat them like geldings;
slyly watching them watch me walk a tightrope
while they safely crossed the bridge that spanned two planets,
hanging from brittle branches while they squinted against the light,
plotting to test my agility,
looking for rips in my frills while I climbed high,
slinking through twisting limbs,higher still,
rising into the pit where nothing
is green.

Slow-dancing in quicksand
until I couldn’t feel my feet.

Still, there was the writing;
words that stretched in flair and length,
eager guests in a world of turned-away faces,
approaching from nowhere, blowing kisses on my brain,
reeking of grace and sensitivity,
wafting a fragrance of sociable escapee
from false imprisonment in coventry.

In between wording times
I covered my coffin with noisy achievements.
Builders’ merchants gulped, scowling at the cheek
of this mis-gendered heretic constructing fireplaces,
mistrusting any feminine figure who fiddled
with timber and drills.

Fighting exhaustion,
I carried on weaving rainbows from straw,
filling my space with a haberdashery of tools and scrapings,
an art school of paint,
a caterer’s larder.

Neighbours sprayed my surface with praise,
hailing my zest, my skills, asking how I found the time.
I smiled enigmatically, failing to say that it kept me
from what dwelt in my head,

that nobody listened,
nobody heard.

In search of fresh cities of silence
I rented a retail space in the main street, where strangers
reached to be friends. I hid my pretence,
letting them sketch my silhouette,
splotching in the colours they could see
and tinting my flesh with wild shades of misconstrued fame.

Still, there was the writing;
words that strolled into phrases, willing to stand in line,
matching their pace, that they might aptly describe
the flight of a dust mote,
the puffball of pride.

Yet the words were unread.

I found flowers,
pressed them neatly into my smouldering heap.
Healing herbs dug roots through every layer,
my hungry space feeding their blooms.

And still, there was the writing.
Words danced quicksteps in my chest,
spinning fiction, facing facts,
linking arms to make a metaphor that said:
The best way to break free from ice
is to melt it with sweat.

Even the warmth of soil could not sway
my mental creativity.

I was told I would crash.
Years on, when collapse came,
they suggested it was age;
a natural process of winding down.

I recognised it more as a grinding down,
a sign that too much breakage had occurred,
a need to curl around the cuts.

As I kicked off the covers to roll myself tight,
my sighs rose to cries, then dwindled to whimpers, receding
until you could think it was the whisper of an overused wind
fading into the distance until even the echo
grew indistinct, leaving me
with little to fear, and nothing
to hide.

Anxiety, like concrete,
is a heavy weight to lift, but changes of life
can chip swathes of it away.

Just as I have written for survival,
I write every wrinkle of shame into history.

the writing remains,
my first passion, a myriad of faithful words that float with love unending,
requesting no return, begging only
to be poetry.

It is these that saved me,
finding me, offering unfailing constancy,
giving breath where air was thin,
and finally delivering me
to you,

you who read me.


Written  for the Word Of The Day Challenge: Sensitivity

©Jane Paterson Basil

Another Late Night

sleep dep. and my obsession are gripping me again
there’s an ache within my body and a buzzing in my brain
the words are flying round me faster than a train
tangling up and crashing til I think I’ll go insane
and I have to get them written as I know I won’t sustain
the ideas until tomorrow so I have to seize the day
I mustn’t lose the the meaning of the things I want to say
so I have to go on writing and to keep my sleep at bay
and you may think I’m silly or that I’ve gone insane
but sleep dep. and my obsession are gripping me again

I want to find an antidote for this silly need to sleep
I have a valid reason for these crazy hours I keep
I want to drown this somnolence as somnolence is cheap
it steals my poems away in its devastating sweep

sleep dep. and my obsession are gripping me again
Hypnos tries to rescue me, but Hypnos is a pain
though Morpheus backs him up with a lullaby’s refrain
I turn away from both of them with undisguised disdain
while the fire in my body fights the water in my brain
now the flames are winning and I feel the fluid drain
the words are making links and the links become a chain
they’re explaining the message I am wishing  to convey
and now I’m working fast and at last I’m on the way
to finishing my poem and calling it a day.

but I want to find an antidote for this silly need to sleep
because I have a valid reason for these crazy hours I keep
and I want to drown this somnolence as somnolence is cheap
it robs me of my poems in its devastating sweep

© Jane Paterson Basil

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Twenty-Five.”

Today’s daily prompt is to write a post that is missing one letter. As an extra challenge it can be a vowel that choose to send to coventry.

BeFunky_Alphabet splash.jpg

Twenty-six letters in the alphabet
free to take, no debt to pay
to shape into words and take away
in my head or on paper; however I wish
woven into a tasty dish,
of sentences, paragraphs and chapters divine
a thrilling nibble on every line
to entertain, to please or give pain
or even assist with calming the brain
zany jokes or razor sharp wit
in careless style or artistically clipped
fact or fiction, short or long
in prose or poem, in speech or song
Let’s celebrate letters and words on this day
for the gift of providing something to say.

all of the letters are in this rhyme
except two; one to save for another time
while the other one needs it to make a word
so proper spelling will be deferred.
I’ll qell my qalms to manage my qest
and with twenty-five letters I’ll pass the test.

© Jane Paterson Basil