On Friday 13 March, shortly after the UK invasion by Covid-19 became a reality, I began writing one poem per day.
I’m seventy in September and have both asthma and low-level prostate cancer. Like many others who are no longer young and have underlying health issues, I’ve been self-isolating since then.
Whether or not I’m lucky enough to survive this global ordeal, I hope to complete a collection of poems recording the experience. I’ve given it the working title of Corona Diary. Here are the first seven that I’ve completed.
Okay, we’re mortal, but pause to admire us.
Like our computers we’re fighting our virus,
Won’t let it scare us, defeat us or tire us.
Respiratory rather than renal or thyrous,
It’s proving fatal. That’s hardly desirous.
Tell the Grim Reaper he doesn’t require us.
Tell our employers they don’t need to fire us.
World goes to shit, we’ll go back to papyrus.
Talk to survival and tell it to hire us.
WE’RE SO SAFE
Safe as where what’s ghostly goes is
Safe as ghastly when it grows is
Safe as plague and ring of roses
Safe as fighting off your foes is
Safe as fright as figures froze is
Safe as hopelessness proposes
Safe as sentenced to death-rows is
Safe as murdering of crows is
Safe as daily news discloses
Safe as touching lip or nose is
Safe as wash your hands of those is
Safe as when their coffin closes
Safe as poetry and prose is
Safe as fast which never slows is
Safe as when your driver dozes
Safe as world and all its woes is
Safe as faith which never shows is
Safe as tablets can’t cure Moses
Safe as ventilator hose is
Safe as all that no one knows is
Safe as every question poses
Safe as how this wild wind blows is
Safe as where our future flows is
Safe as contact risk exposes
Safe till virus metamorphoses.
Dead right that we’re globally under attack.
This world we’ve been trashing is trashing us back.
We took it for granted. We’re watching it crack.
Though lifelong we’ve always been part of the pack
Our self-isolation sees us on our jack.
We’ve no one. We’ve nothing to take a new tack.
We’re losing the pattern, the plot and the track.
Our families and neighbours lie stretched on this rack.
We’re sick and it sucks cos they’ll give us the sack.
This tightrope we’re walking seems suddenly slack.
Where there’s no known cure for these coughs we can’t hack
We’ve some who won’t make it. We’ve those we’ll soon lack.
Like junkies grown drunken on skunk, coke and smack
Our interest is fading. Our daylight grows black.
We’re restless. We clock-watch. We’re insomniac.
We’re groping for answers. While facing fresh flak
We swim through statistics. The numbers don’t stack.
Grim Reaper’s here mouthing: ‘hypochondriac’.
The virus we’re calling Corona
Which squats in the lungs of each owner
Pays nothing in rent
Just stays till they’re spent
This sly 20-20 death-donor.
POEM FOR A FEW WEEKS FROM NOW
A silence like dumb desperation
Or some slightly numb dislocation
Treads every dread street of this nation.
You think this a strange situation.
No people. Are they on vacation?
Or moved to another location?
You’re puzzled. Why such consternation?
It’s simple. There’s one explanation
For this abrupt depopulation.
Ignoring the viral gestation
We mingled for food and libation,
For travel, work and recreation.
We thus met with annihilation,
Our lungs all deprived of aeration.
Survivors hide in isolation.
GRIM AS THIS…
Grim as this fear when we’re simply out shopping.
Grim as handwashing and wiping and mopping.
Grim as news stories we’re posting and swapping.
Grim as health services all belly-flopping.
Grim as each labouring lung stalling, stopping.
Grim as these losses like limbs that we’re lopping.
Grim as this daily death-toll that’s not dropping.
Grim as the count goes from small up to whopping.
Grim as the long list this virus is cropping.
BE POSITIVE, BE KEENER
Fewer planes are flying now.
This planet’s getting greener.
Fewer cars are on the roads.
The air is getting cleaner.
Pubs are shut. We’re drinking less.
Already we’ve grown leaner
On water, coffee, cocoa,
Tea, orange juice, Ribena.
At least we’re trapped in this place,
Not Halifax or Heanor.
We’re nicer to each other
In everyday demeanour.
Way things are, we wash a lot
Which makes us much hygiener.
And we’re both stuck at home where
We two can get obscener.