Covid secure poetry

The covid secure quiet of lockdown 1

Covid secure poetry – is it possibly the best poetry for these covid times? I create most of my poetry in times of emotional turmoil. I can write to order, but for an order – literally – at my web site Poetry for Lives. Writing about specific topics at set times, like the way they taught me poetry in schools. In drama you ‘act like a tree’ and in English, you write a poem about a tree! This is never my favourite way of writing my poem.

This year, however, I find that the times themselves inspire me to write. Who would have thought a microscopic creature could cause such outpourings? Lockdown 1 brought such an overwhelming silence, a different quiet, and one that echoed up and down the land. In the lockdown quiet of my covid secure garden, I wrote the first few lines of a poem that resonate the stillness around me. I end the poem by asking questions about how much we are learning from our experience:

The covid secure stillness of lockdown 1
Capturing the covid secure stillness of lockdown 1

As we carelessly collectively collect on corners.
Will we die of ignorance?
Or heedlessness ?
And as smoke rises from the ashes
of what is left of us
like a
mad mocking double helix
of the virus
that claimed
How we will move on?

The full poem can be seen on the Festival for Poetry website. It is part of a collection of really good poems on all sorts of topics (including one about a werewolf by my son Ben).

Do you miss the office but not the commute?

I also wrote my second foray into covid secure poetry in lockdown 1. This time, I echo the lack of social interaction that lockdown brings. This poem is a light hearted reflection on those ‘taken for granted interactions’ we have at work, that we suddenly don’t have any more. I think that there’s so much more to working in a team that you don’t miss until it’s no longer there. It’s the little things that count for so much. Little things like the informal, spontaneous meetings that we all have all day every day, without realising how important they were. Do you remember the catch up at the copier, the coffee in the kitchen, the chatting in the corridor?

I don’t think I am alone in taking these things for granted, and missing them now that they are not part of my working day. We’re now nearly at the end of lockdown 2, (the sequel?) but I can’t yet see a time when we will be fully back to normal – whatever that is going to be. So this poem is for people everywhere that are missing all those people you never thought you’d miss. You can find the full poem at Poetry and Covid, where it was published as part of a collection of poetry for an AHRC Funded project.

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