Some writers seem to be full of ideas and inspiration; they write every day and always have new work to share. And they think it’s a jolly poor show when you admit that you aren’t working on anything new.
I write every day, but it’s not usually creative writing: most of my ideas and imagination get used up on emails to family and clients, on articles for the business or client projects, and on social media posts and interactions. That said, I think I’ve written more poetry in the last few months than I had in the last couple of years put together.
Not only have I written a number of drafts of poems more or less related to the lockdown and the coronavirus crisis (most of which have been published here on the blog) but I’ve also been writing with a friend who asked me to help with a book project she had in mind. We’ve now written all the content and are just tying off the last loose ends, so I should be posting about that here, soon.
Now, though, I’m going to go back to the first poem I wrote at the beginning of April, soon after the lockdown began.
When I decided to post it today, I thought it was very much a product of the circumstances we were living through, so, if I didn’t put it out here now, it might cease to have any relevance. Looking at it again, I think it might only need a change of title to bring it completely up-to-date.
Once a day; for exercise
We live in terror, leash our dogs, teach
our children to keep close. We change
direction, skirt around strangers.
Heads down, we never meet and greet
but mask anxiety and scurry to the other side.
It’s fear, not deference to my grey hair,
that bids the mother pause the pushchair,
let me pass. A single brimstone flutters,
bright above the stagnant brook. Today,
even magpies maintain unsocial distance:
there’s one; then, later, there’s another
solitary bird. Sorrow follows sorrow.
No, there are no magpies in the photo. But it is a very good place to walk and maintain social distances.