A Basket Case

with his unfurled umbrella
this strange little fella
perches in the park
just before dark
and occasionally sings
fluttering his wings
he was first seen
late in 1915 –
just another basket case


BASKET CASE – in WW1, a basket case was a soldier who had been so badly injured that he had to be carried from the battlefield in a barrow or basket, usually with the implication that he had lost all four of his limbs. This poem was inspired by that sad description together wih this photo from:https://www.pinterest.nz/sheilarose1/art-statues-sculptures/

ScreenHunter_1409 Nov. 21 08.47

Summer Magic

The outhouse, such a magic place
to hide away in and pretend,
we’d set up house in that small space
when summers seemed to have no end.

Evicting spiders with a broom,
brushing cobwebs from the walls,
contents piled high to make more room
we’d crouch evading adult calls.

Our favorites sometimes joined us there
– wizards, or kings and underlings.
We the princesses tall and fair,
our robes old curtains tied with strings.

Fair heroines from tales of old
invited us to join them dine,
serving fine worms and garden snails,
sump water making finest wine.

Candles in jam jars giving light
where daylight could not penetrate.
We kept weird potions out of sight,
the recipes on a piece of slate.

Fairies one day, witches next,
by giants, trolls and elves beguiled,
we guarded secrets, muscles flexed
– imaginations running wild.

Summers of fun behind that door,
we’d set up house in that small space.
As children who could ask for more?
The outhouse, such a magic place.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

(Outhouse: a small building attached to a house or very close to the house, used, for example, for storing things in)

Behind the door

they hide from me behind the door
then whisper in the night
for them the darkness is a friend
but I yearn for the light

I feel their touches to my face
they call with soundless sighs
sharp fingers tracing on my skin
each time I close my eyes

no rest for me when black night brings
such visits before dawn
eyes peering, straining in the dark
while longing for the morn

at last as daylight fills the room
night terrors seem no more
as fear retreats into the shade
and waits behind the door


though sticks and stones may break your bones

hateful words are cruelly perverse

they fly through the air like arrow heads

and can injure you even worse

no armour exists that will stop the hurt

as they splinter into your heart

no salve has been made to ease the pain

as their meaning rips you apart

with hindsight you’ll suffer again and again

reliving them in your mind

but though memories fade the injuries made  

are not of the healing kind

so it’s silly to charm and say words cannot harm

they can scar you even worse

than those sticks and stones which may break your bones

but don’t stay in your mind like a curse


When casting off we have no fears,
with youth and strength well fortified,
inside we’re older than our years
with dreams as yet to be denied.

Flags flying we set sail at speed,
horizons beckon far ahead,
of compasses we have no need,
forgetting all our parents said.

Foul winds may blow us far off course,
yet breasting powerful waves with zest,
no time to stop or feel remorse,
we tell ourselves it’s for the best.

We hit the doldrums now and then,
time hanging heavy on our hands.
Such stagnant doleful days are when
we feel no other understands.

But then a fresh new breeze will start,
and ease us forward carefully,
as gladly we again take heart,
and launch ourselves against life’s sea.

Yet over time strength fades away
until at last there is no more
and inwardly we spend our days
just drifting to that unknown shore.