Proof of Love




Detail of photo by Philipp Sewing on Unsplash

There are myriad ways
to display true love;
a simple kiss, a blooming rose,
a bashful smile, a frilly note.

I appreciate
you raised me from the floor
to staunch the flow of blood, but
it is inappropriate
to coo like a solicitous dove, as if
the punch which broke my nose
was in any way
proof of your affection.

©Jane Paterson Basil

My Son


were I
to measure
the depth of my love
by the dread Gehenna of loss
each time the wind blows your image across my tired eyes,
the ocean could not contain it.
A great tsunami
would rise up;
The world


my child.
let  this  be
the last lager can
I uncover while I’m cleaning.
The last drunken can that ever you concealed from me.
I don’t require such reminders
of our broken ties;
that I


A  fibonacci poem…

©Jane Paterson Basil



Be mine.” he whispered, ”You are my chocolate coated limousine, my deepest bungee jump, my highest schoolyard leap-frog, my cool breath in a heated discussion, my hot water bottle at the frozen peak of mount Everest, my best cheese grater, my tastiest salt-lick, the cog around which I rotate. Your caress is cricket to me, your kiss is pink concrete.

Open me, live in me; crush me with the weight of your sub-atomic love bomb; your over-exposed throat; your forked knife sharpener; your ready whittling and all the utensils that you hide beneath the tittle-tattle of a million silences.

Take me, let me teach you to ride on the back of the butterfly that flits from gullet to lips; to scale the heights of fishes which fly in the sand; to extract kettle fluff from photographs of Mona Lisa; to build an atom from an elephant, a mousetrap from a mighty dam, to ignite the stars armed only with a broken toothpick and an excerpt from Handel’s Water Music.

Let me show you the truths I stole from centuries of reading rotting carrot heads and studying the birth of synthesis.

Come, share my bent nail, take the lonely word-processor from my fluted heart. Be my new burnt bread, my ocean of sky, my everything reduced for one day only, again and again, for ever and ever ’til death do us part. I’m begging you in B minor; express a quiet acceptance of fate. Let me love you.”

(He wanted to win me)

I don’t like your tone!” I cried.

Do not try to win me, or I will extract your teeth with a sledge-hammer. I’ll destroy your father’s estate. I’ll make the tax office refuse your rebate. I’ll tear down your house, drive your Mercedes into a wall, kill your computer with a rash of vicious viruses, burn your books, shatter your faberge eggs I’ll break your bed with my plastic passion. I will trifle with your affections and I will leave you raw and heartbroken.

I will undo you.”

(I told him that I liked things the way they were)

But we could be a perfect match, like Morecambe and pistachio nuts, like strawberries and the little plastic blocks that you screw on to hold modern kitchen units together when you buy them from places like B&Q, like bread and hair remover, like a hammer and all kinds of items that pair up nicely.

We could tie the tangle, dance the fandango, slide into sheets of satin on a brave raft of reality. We could build a barn, raise the roof, and fill it with glass and china and soft furnishings and small sharp metal objects. We could make tiny things with ten little fingers and ten little toes, that grow and go. We could wave them goodbye and turn to each other and say It’s just us now,’ and You go and sit down in front of the telly, while I make us a nice cup of tea.’ We could relax. We could retire and grow old together. And when the moment was right, we could die in each others arms.”

(He was just an ordinary bloke really)

Oh, I see,” I said. ”That puts a completely different slant on it. It sounds very nice. We’ll get a sensible semi-detached property in the suburbs. We’ll have quiet nights in, playing tiddly winks and tic-tac-toe. You’ll have to remove your shoes as soon as you come home from the office; can’t have you getting the carpets all dirty. When the babies come along, my mother can stay, to help me out until I get on my feet again. I expect I’ll need a nanny. They’re so useful, don’t you think? When you retire, we can move to a cottage in the country, and grow roses around the door. You could take up vegetable gardening, and I could join a bridge club.

Yes, I’ll marry you.”

(I was seduced by his offer of security)

When we wed, he expeditiously discarded the word-smithery with which he had won me, preferring practicality and rationalism, sprinkled with roses and romance. He lay carpets at my feet, regaled me with tasteful trinkets and household requisites. Furthermore,he tucked surprise gifts in hidden places: rank, balled-up socks under the bed. In the bathroom; twisted tubes, sticky globules, opposing odours. In the kitchen, crumbs and citric smears in the butter dish. At breakfast, grunts and unkissable stubble scumbled my serenity. In the evening his T.V. killed my creativity. At night the heat from his body chased sleep away.

(However, he soon irritated me)

I extracted his teeth with a sledge-hammer. I destroyed his father’s estate. I caused the tax office to refuse his rebate. I tore down his house, drove his Mercedes into a wall, killed his computer with a rash of vicious viruses. I burned his books. I smashed his faberge eggs. I broke his bed. I trifled with his affections and left him raw and heartbroken.

I undid him.

(We parted company)

When nights draw in I keep myself warm with many layers of thin clothing and thick blankets. In the musty swill of my tent I sleep easy, letting fickle seasons lead me. In spring I wake each morning with the dawn, eased into sense by light which pricks the skin of my tent. Overhanging trees dapple a caramel silhouette on the canvas of the tent that protects me.

My passion is consumed.

(I prefer to be alone)

Sorry Paul; I couldn’t resist tweaking my poem a little before publishing it on this site.
I left the original version untouched.

© Jane Paterson Basil

The First Rehearsal



April and me
reckon we’re every chef’s
recommended dish of the century.
Arms linked, skirts swishing,
breasts jiggling, legs on display,
heavy on the body spray but light on our feet,
we’re dancing to an inner beat,
heading for the first rehearsal.
No-one would guess
we dread
the opening show.

Promenading through the park,
snooting hooting cars,
big blues slanting, spying our pray
like we don’t see them looking our way,
daring brave souls to prick holes in
the arty bubble that circles our skin.

Sloshing Cider,
smoking stolen ciggies like pros,
noses pressed against a future we think has arrived,
music in our ears, eyes wide closed.
We’re subtle as a scream,
cool as pyromania,
a fool’s wet dream of creamy thighs and wild abandon.
Virgin blueprints of sin;
aces who play Queens of seduction,
we throw jokers over our shoulders
if fingers reach to hook our knickers, since
is our first rehearsal.

Flaunting our elastic youth
we queue to pay for chewing gum,
taunting tutting prunes
whose fumbling hands and tumbling brains
have trouble with the change.
They fix us with their rumpled glint,
then stutter home to water plastic flowers
and launder frowzy frills and worn-out frocks
and plump limp pillows on their beige divans.
Those fossilised flints were never fresh like us,
born too old to understand,
long before the script was even written.

April and me are both fifteen,
luscious, delicious, any chef would recommend us.
We’re poised to rule the Universe,
There’s no more you can teach us;
bring on
the dress rehearsal.


©Jane Paterson Basil



I watch,
as if this were a clip of a movie we made
how easily excuses and lies
can be silenced by a
in the sky.

I watch,
assuming a distant
yet letting the question drift awhile
on the blue horizon
until, resisting temptation,
I permit your image
to fade.

I watch and wait
while sorrow ebbs. The sky
rains beachballs, jigsaw pieces,
a lone, tumbling, soft toy,
describing all the fizz, all the love
you shrugged off long ago.
Leaden with memories
they drop, to be swallowed
by a nonchalant sea.

Feet firm on aged rock,
I watch, reminiscing,
yet separating,
releasing the wisp
of the fruit of my womb,
clawing the ache.

Defiance rises within me:
mettle and muscle contain me.
The waves cannot take me.

Weight recedes,
leaving nothing to see.
I am air, air is me.
I sleep.

Written for my delightful friend, Paul Sunstone, who challenges us to write a post on the subject of Defiance.

©Jane Paterson Basil

Back to my Mother’s Womb

mother's womb2

If a demon
donned in silver frock
offered me the chance to start again,
promising that I may retain
a select portion
of the wisdom of sixty-four years,
would I?

Would I return
to the workish warmth
of my mother’s hearth? Hear
her sing again, revel in recitations
of Wordsworth, Rosetti, giggle at the rhymes
of Edward Lear, Spike Milligan,
enjoy stories and small talk
as we cook and clean.
Sit on her knee while static
crackles and a voice fit for kittens
simpers through Listen With Mother.

Playing in the rabbit’s pen,
feeding scraps to the hens, waiting
for my brothers to come home, my small heart
filled with the only love I know, my flesh
as yet untouched by the unholy.

Would I try again?
If I could evade the mistakes,
the fast and false breaks,
the arms of pale ogres and odius fakes.
The ache of living for living’s sake.

If I could relive
my pre-school days,
correct my dwindling years –
would I do it all again? Build a castle
of amethyst bricks, fill it with laughter,
let the children bounce and leap
on furnishings picked
with impeccable taste,
live the high life
’til I die.

Would I –
if I could evade all the pain –
would I choose to be born again?
I’m tired and I want to go home,
back to my mother’s womb, yet
would I give it a second go?

Hell, no.


©Jane Paterson Basil