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Corona Diary - April 2020

April was when the virus hit its murderous peak in the UK. Most of us were now watching the government’s daily 5 p.m. televised reports on ‘progress’ and planning. Johnson caught the virus and was hospitalised in isolation for weeks. This underlined the nation’s sense of being leaderless. MP’s awarded themselves two ten thousand pound expenses budgets (one for working from home, the other for extra staff).

NHS ACROSTIC

 

Now

Here’s

Something…

 

No

Help

Since

Nineteen…

Hmm…

Sixties?

 

Neglectful

Handouts

Sufficed.

Nurses

Hardly

Salaried.

 

Negative

Hospital

Support.

Numbers

Hired

Squeezed.

 

Nearly

Half

Staff

Necessary

Have

Scarpered.

 

Now

Hundreds

Suffocate.

Nobody

Has

Solutions.

 

Nothing

Happens.

Still

None

Harbour

Shame.

 

Not

Hierarchy,

Say

Nation’s

Hopeless

Statesmen.

 

UNSPEAKABLE

 

There is no truth.

There are no facts.

Just lies to hide the blame.

 

Press questions ducked

By spokespersons,

Their waffle limply lame.

 

Try asking why

So many die.

They’ll simply say the same.

 

Community

Immunity

And death’s a numbers game.

 

Procrastinate

Then act too late.

It’s wise to wait, they claim.

 

They got it wrong

Did all along

And still they show no shame.

WHERE ARE YOU NOW, YOU COCKY BASTARD?

 

We were once so confident.

We used to be so sure

About where we were going

But we’re not anymore.

 

We’d visions of tomorrow

Had faith in what we saw

With hopes and plans and places

We’d visit and explore.

 

And then came this pandemic

For which there’s no known cure

This dragon come among us

This unseen carnivore.

 

We were the western wealthy

Who grew up wanting more

And relished self-indulgence

And thought we knew the score.

 

But then this beast descended

Like life’s dark fatal flaw.

We thought we’d seen everything.

We’ve not seen this before.

 

We’ve cancelled aspirations

Deleted dates galore

And, now in isolation,

We hear the dragon’s roar.

 

So here we are in hiding

And who knows what’s in store?

We’re losing every battle

Led unarmed into war.

 

THE DEAD

 

We’ve journalists listing the numbers who go.

Their increase initially seems safely slow.

So, caution and concern remain fairly low,

With crowds filling tube trains, each school, pub and show.

 

When this weather changes, much colder winds blow.

The ‘yes we can mingle’ soon alters to ‘no’

And feathers of fear flutter, black as their crow

While daily we witness what rate these deaths grow.

 

Dear God, we’re now losing the people we know.

We’re all heirs to shares in Pandemic and Co.

We’re seeds which this virus has chosen to sow.

We’re crops in the fields that its grim reapers mow.

WISHES

 

I wish we all were less afraid.

I wish away these rules obeyed.

I wish this virus had decayed.

I wish no lungs let it invade.

 

I wish for life like lemonade.

 

I wish our colours had not greyed.

I wish attention had been paid.

I wish mistakes had not been made.

I wish for days less retrograde.

 

I wish for crowd and loud parade.

 

I wish this nightmare would now fade.

I wish it gone, not just delayed.

I wish to blunt its bitter blade.

I wish to wash away its trade.

 

I wish for where we’ve holidayed.

 

I wish no grave, no priest, no spade.

I wish the ferryman unpaid.

I wish a cure, not this tirade.

I wish my messages relayed.

 

I wish not mask, but masquerade.

REGULAR HANDWASHING

 

I stir. I wake. I wash my hands.

I snooze. Daybreak. I wash my hands.

I’ve food to make. I wash my hands.

I fry. I bake. I wash my hands.

 

I grill a steak. I wash my hands.

I eat pancake. I wash my hands.

A thirst to slake. I wash my hands.

I drink milkshake. I wash my hands.

 

I shop. Queues snake. I wash my hands.

We crowd. I quake. I wash my hands.  

A friend. Handshake. I wash my hands.

That’s my mistake. I wash my hands.

 

I need a break. I wash my hands.

A walk to take. I wash my hands.

The park. The lake. I wash my hands.

Feed duck and drake. I wash my hands.

 

Skin starts to flake. I wash my hands.

With life at stake, I wash my hands.

Come cough, headache. I wash my hands.

For heaven’s sake. I wash my hands.

 

ONLY THE VIRUS

 

Our planes are down. We’ve empty air.

And we’re not going anywhere.

We’re home and held by rare despair

With our own company to bear.

 

Only the virus doesn’t care.

The world’s become its thoroughfare.

It and can and does go everywhere,

No passport and it pays no fare.

 

So, where’s it bound? We’re unaware.

It could come here. It could go there.

Wherever it goes, we’d best beware

Lest our own lungs become its lair.

 

Only the virus sets this snare,

Broadcasting its disrepair.

A nomad with one gift to share,

This plague to which we’re all laid bare.

 

Corona’s grossly grown affair:

From Finisterre to Delaware,

Bonaire to Weston-super-Mare,

We’ve millions needing Medicare.

 

Only the virus roves elsewhere,

Enters bodies it’ll impair,

Steals breath and then injects nightmare.

Sheer chance selects which ones to spare.

 

THIS

 

This is the monster, the mythical worm.

This is more thick-skinned than your pachyderm.

This is the virus much worse than a germ.

 

This is not here for a limited term.

This is the permanent wave become perm.

This is where birth and death meet in the sperm.

 

This is the stuff that makes innocence squirm.   

This is what picks on the old and infirm.

This the pandemic which corpses confirm.

 
SYMPATHISING WITH THE TORIES

(In a Northern accent, so ‘staff’ & ‘scarf’ don’t rhyme)

 

Running this country has gotta be naff.

Apes await wise words from you, their giraffe.

How do you – public schooled – talk to riffraff?

They grunt. You warble like finch or chiffchaff.

 

Running this country has gotta be naff.

Now, with this virus, it’s double the faff,

MPs and bosses and government staff

Having to come up with graph after graph.

 

Running this country has gotta be naff,

Shutting down library, pub, shop and caff,

Getting the plebs to all stay in their gaff,

Calling in squaddies, the navy, the raf.

 

Running this country has gotta be naff,

Your leisurely life left less than a laugh:

Empty decanter and empty carafe.

Pity you, thirsty, with nothing to quaff.

 

APRIL, CRUELEST MONTH, BRINGS US…

 

Nothing much that’s satisfying.

 

TV programmes magnifying

What’s already petrifying.

Politicians justifying,

Just avoiding specifying.

Petty pundits prophesying.

World so weird we’re wonder why-ing.

 

We wade through the falsifying.

Loonies flood the web with lying.

Rumours spread that fools are buying.

None of this is edifying.

Nutters on-line all denying

Meds and beds, the dead, the dying.

 

Airports empty. No planes plying.

Only birds and insects flying.

Like our hands, we’re washed-out, drying.

Locked down, parted, not nearby-ing.

We should all be out there lying

On our hotel sunbeds frying.

 

Instead, inside, in bed, sighing,

Lost and listless, hardly trying,

Sometimes angry, sometimes crying,

Mostly merely mummifying

Home’s this hole we’re occupying.

Oh, it’s dull, this death-defying.

 

POEM TO EACH UK MP

(UK MPs can claim £10,000 for working at home and the same again for closing their offices)

 

Blow you and your bloody blether

Claiming we’re in this together

Like you care one fig or feather.

You can shove it up your nether.

 

Like a dog pulls on its tether

You bank big bucks, hell-for-leather.

Foodbank queues? You mouth “Whatever”,

Were you ever bothered? Never.

 

Virus rages. Lifelines sever

Yet you spot a good endeavour.

Frontline workers die… however

Shares are cheap. Investing’s clever.

 

This your free world. This its weather.

Kill the poor. Stay rich forever.

 

CONVERSATION WITH THE VIRUS

 

‘So, you’re seventy this September, huh?’

 

‘Yeah, but I look and feel younger.’

 

‘And you’ve prostate cancer?’

 

‘Low level, mate, and currently inactive.’

 

‘And asthma?’

 

‘Not used my inhaler for three years.’

 

‘How come?’

 

‘I’m a full-on fitness freak, Fitbit devotee

And daily disciple of my cross-trainer.’

 

‘You should kick that lot into touch

And act your bloody age, my friend.’

 

‘Why, so you can add me to your death list?’

 

No reply. The virus merely smiles.

 

POEM FOR BORIS JOHNSON

 

You were always all vainglory.

Nurses’ pay freeze. That was Tory.

Now we hear a change of story.

Oh, hypocrisy’s so hoary.

 

All your lies and your outlawry.

We’ve no call for polls by MORI.

We’ve no need of judge and jury.

We know underfunding’s gory.

 

Don’t pretend it’s hunky-dory.

You’re behind this whole furore.

Blame’s – like Grenfell – multi-storey.

Endless death comes stripped of glory.

IT’S ALL ABOUT YOU

 

You

 

Kick up a fuss while stood in queues

When asked to distance, you refuse

 

You

 

Gather in gangs, not threes or twos

With park and beach as rendezvous

 

You

 

Incite your friends to break taboos

Invite them all to barbecues

 

You

 

Join party crowds for sex, drugs, booze

All human life is yours to use

 

You

 

Behave exactly as you choose

Absolutely nothing to lose…

 

…but you and you and you and yous

and loads and loads and loads of yous…

BECAUSE INTERVIEWED EXPERTS BEGIN EACH REPLY WITH “SO…”

 

So to the west from the east

So comes Corvid, this new beast

 

So this virus starts to feast

So we tot up our deceased

 

So we vacate beach, bar, piste

So like herds of wilderbeest

 

So in four walls, mortgaged, leased

So we lockdown unreleased

 

So to Trump, our arriviste

So mad, wigged-out and hair-pieced

 

So he’s despot and high-priest

So democracy has ceased

 

So pandemic’s top artiste

So wants money masterpieced

 

So blames death for gains decreased

So more die but they’re policed

 

So the poor get snuffed and fleeced

So cash flows and palms get greased

 

So the rich see wealth increased

So not much has changed, at least.

 

WE’RE ALL HERE

 

Worldwide what quite brought us to this?

Alone with death, we dread its kiss.

That snake is near. We hear its hiss.

 

With virus cast as nemesis,

We grope for its antithesis,

Our S.O.S. as emphasis.

 

What did we do? What did we miss?

We yearn to learn the genesis,

The means, the metamorphosis.

 

Whatever the hypothesis,

When ‘Why?’ defies diagnosis

It frees disease to take the piss.

.

We’ve governments we rightly dis

And say, one day, they’ll face justice

If just for their paralysis.

 

No cure. No hint of synthesis.

No hope. We’re here, wrong side of bliss,

Left with this deft analysis:

 

To die’s today’s slow psychosis.

 

THE VIRUS ADDRESSES THE WORLD

 

As a virus, I’m a scary ‘un

Yet I’m egalitarian

 

I kill

 

Both aesthete and barbarian

Illiterate and librarian

Anarchist and Aryan

 

Pop-fan and Wagnerian

Trappist and vulgarian

Huntsman and vegetarian

 

Leo and Saggitarian

Landowner and agrarian

Liberal and sectarian

 

Haitian and Hungarian

Bantu and Bulgarian

Bolivian and Bavarian

 

Prole and parliamentarian

Sikh and Rastafarian

Newborn and nonagenarian

 

Voter and totalitarian

Virgoan and Aquarian

Shaven-headed and hairy ‘un.

 

STALKER

 

We’ve locked our doors. Yet we’re on edge.

He hangs beyond our garden hedge.

 

He lurks in lungs. His offspring fledge

In neighbours: Ronald, Rita, Reg.

 

He’s on their breath, their prayers, their pledge,

On supermarket meat and veg.

 

He haunts each handle, rail and ledge

And every nook in which to wedge.

 

He hovers here at whisper’s edge,

In newsroom rumour, sludge and sedge.

 

He owns those depths these death-tolls dredge,

Has come to stay till we next sledge…

 

… or slay us all, so some allege.

 

THE TWO OF US

 

They broadcast brews made with mirrors and smokery

Conflicting news robed in jiggery-pokery.

 

We swill and we swab. We’re handwashing hopefully

Microbes of covid swept down the drain soapily.

 

Jailed in our own joints by this deadly jokery

We’re here on lockdown, held lonesomely locally.

 

Clapping on Thursdays is all we’re left socially

Rest of the time it’s just you and me, bothily.

 

Spending days gardening, daisily, rosily

Planting and watering, seedily, hosily.

 

Food from the veg man or tinned or kept frozily

Five o’clock stroll takes us round the block moseyly.

 

Keeping an eye on the neighbourhood nosily

Nothing much better to do I supposily.

 

Music on Facebook that’s mostly played folkily

Little that’s great but some played oky-dokily.

 

Late-night TV. We watch boozily, dozily

Baked couch-potatoes, we’re snuggled up cosily.

 

UNFAITHFUL

 

In our world we’ve always had plagues and diseases

And now come these dry coughs, these fevers, death’s wheezes.

 

We thought this was flu-like, but no. No one sneezes.

It seizes the lungs and then squeezes and squeezes.

 

Watch worsening symptoms which nothing much eases.

No miracles these days. No cure through Lord Jesus.

 

Bur still all you faithful, will pray till Hell freezes

With holes in your holiness plain as in cheeses.

 

It’s not due to sin and some God this displeases.

Your devil’s descended. Death’s breath’s like Spring breezes.

 

VIA US

 

Covid-19 wholly owns us

Covid-19 clamps and cones us

Covid-19 just Jack Jones us

Covid-19 sticks and stones us

Covid-19 hunts, haunts, hones us

Covid-19 would bare bones us.

 

Covid-19 chaperons us

Covid-19 grants and loans us

Covid-19 tracks and drones us

Covid-19 texts and phones us

Covid-19 next de-thrones us

Covid-19 Al Capones us.

 

Covid-19 all alones us

Covid-19 soon postpones us

Covid-19 unknown zones us

Covid-19 moans and groans us

Covid-19 now disowns us

Covid-19 thus gravestones us.

GAME #1

 

I’ve heard commentators say:

‘Every microbe has its day.’

‘Watch the way these beggars play.’

‘None of them gives much away.’

 

I’ve heard commentators say:

‘Fingers crossed. We’ll be okay.’

‘This ain’t cricket or croquet.’

‘Gamesmanship has gone astray.’

 

I’ve heard commentators say:

‘Seems our team’s in disarray.’

‘No attack. Too much delay.’

‘Trust me, there’ll be hell to pay.’

 

I’ve heard commentators say:

‘March was bad, but April, May...’

‘Tactics shot. Now they hold sway.’

‘God, it’s brutal, this affray.’

 

GAME #2

 

Corona, the hunter, now knows no shame.

He sees all human life as game.

We’re merely sport, to murder, maim.

Wildlife bites back. We don’t. We’re tame.

 

Corona, the hunter, accepts no blame.

He stalks our aging, wounded, lame.

We see him pause, raise weapon, aim,

Cos every kill is his to claim.

 

Corona, the hunter, sits centre-frame.

We trophies amplify his fame.

So sod our family, job or name.

Just count each corpse. We’re all the same.

 

SHALL

 

Shall unseat it.

Shall anon.

Shall defeat it.

Shall be gone.

Shall delete it.

Shall have shone.

Shall live sweeter.

Shall move on.

 

Shall sing Covid’s loud swan song.

 

8 PM EVERY THURSDAY

 

On our street where dogs are crapping

On our street where we’re back-slapping

On our street you’ll find us yapping

On our street that Google’s mapping

On our street we’re loudly clapping.

 

On our street where we’re rat-trapping

On our street we’re overlapping

On our street with tempers snapping

On our street we’ve neighbours scrapping

On our street we’re proudly clapping.

 

On our street with pigeons flapping

On our street though strength is sapping

On our street we’re not caught napping

On our street where we stand rapping

On our rowdy street we’re clapping.

SEPARATION

 

On TV an MP says, ‘stay home’, then smiles.

This house-arrest holds us apart like exiles.

 

Out walking, two metres feels more like ten miles.

Masked, we slip swiftly down supermarket aisles.

 

Corona comes calling, dons guises and guiles,

Strides unseen between us with weasel-like wiles.

 

This, predator deadly as Nile crocodiles,

Dines out on our flesh, freedom, faith and lifestyles.

 

We’ve treasured lives measured through airpipes and dials,

Each nameless death graphed through facts, figures and files. 

 

These mass-executions occur without trials.

Acceptance breeds lethargy. Restlessness riles.

 

We cling to our floors and our walls and roof tiles,

This stockade in which we’ve amassed our stockpiles.

AT THE END OF LOCKDOWN

 

At the end of lockdown

There will be no

Lucky pots of gold for us,

Fortunes to unfold for us,

Fantasy freeholds for us,

Joys in growing old for us,

Exits from this cold for us.

 

At the end of lockdown

There will be no

Justice to uphold to us,

Prisoners paroled to us,

Easy answers bowled to us,

Magic money dolled to us,

Satisfaction sold to us.

 

At the end of lockdown

There will be no

Truth to be extolled by us, 

Paradise patrolled by us,

Tales of wonder told by us,

Better days enrolled by us,

New world now controlled by us.

CORONA BLUES

 

Standing at the crossroads

Some place I’d never been,

Met up with the devil

Dressed as a death machine,

Kind of a Corona

Known as Covid-19.

 

“Easy meat” he called me.

“What’s that supposed mean?”

“That ya not got testin’

And need a new vaccine

Cos there ain’t no genie

To save the human gene.”

 

All the while we stood there

As minutes blew between,

He fell strangely silent,

His eyes and ears keen,

Focused on my breathing,

My lungs, my heart, my spleen. 

 

Conversation over,

I gladly quit that scene,

Pedal flat to the floor

Back in my limousine,

Praying that plain distance

Would somehow intervene.

 

Fate, though, blurred the future,

Mud fogging my windscreen.

Nothing’s ever easy

And some’s just plain obscene:

Bodies being counted

Wrapped up in polythene.

 

Some days there’s no washing

Will make your hands come clean.

Some encounters darken

Like cave-mouth or ravine.

Dealing with the dying

By upping their morphine.

THE COST

 

On lockdown, we live with psychosis

Each home-schooled on just what morose is. 

 

News enters, as if by osmosis

And, with it, comes our new neurosis.

 

This latter-day tuberculosis

Corona delivered in doses.

 

We’re taught to now know what too close is

While learning exactly what gross is

 

The cost’s not the dire diagnosis

The true price lies in its prognosis.


 

A TESTING TIME… AT LAST!

A lifetime of self-interest… test… test… test…

Till Boris felt his lungs congest… test… test… test…

Let’s hope the clown abandons jest… test… test… test…

Since he too has been NHSed… test… test… test…

Now four months late, but for the best… test… test… test…

Here comes some action. Who’d have guessed? … test… test… test…

 

Though not enough, it must be stressed… test… test… test…

Our wave of deaths is near its crest… test… test… test…

But let me get this off my chest… test… test… test…

This leadership with which we’re blessed… test… test… test…

Cut the staff and didn’t invest… test… test… test…

And voted nurses’ pay suppressed… test… test… test…

 

Some sense, it seems, has built a nest… test… test… test…

Our frontline staff, long under-dressed… test… test… test…

Are being granted their request… test… test… test…

For ppe they’d not accessed… test… test… test…

The obvious at last addressed… test… test… test…

We’re playing catch-up with the rest… test… test… test…