Three Poems

By Pam Thompson

All that spring

We were closing down and closing in.
No-one had told the wood pigeons swooping

or the cherry trees that kept on flowering.
The daffodils ignored all instructions

— they were out all night, groups of them,
then the profligate bluebells

and forsythia, flagrant, sprawling.
Lads, practised their drop-kicks as though

the pitch was still a pitch and not a perimeter
for a daily prescribed walk or run.

It’s Thursday but

the days are interchangeable.
First thing, lighting
a rose and gardenia candle.

Answering the door-bell.
The postman retreating.
Today’s non-urgent parcel.

A friend on Whatsapp
asking if you want strong white flour.
The hours slide into evening.

Eight o’ clock, standing on the step
to clap the carers, and the satellite,
to the west of Venus,

lower, brighter, faster than you’d think.

This June

the big news around here is the pop-up cycle lanes
on London Road which are designed to make us

change our habits and stop using buses in these days
of masks and gloves. Not that you want to cycle

or even walk there much. One of us has almost certainly
had it. The other might have but without symptoms

Everyone calls in with their stories. They can’t believe
where the year’s gone but for some it’s back to nearly

normal. So far, we have resisted baking bread, family
quizzes on Zoom and online Pilates. We have kept

a respectable distance from the next person is the queue
at Aldi. Sleep scientists have been picking over

our dreams – tapping into the collective unconscious.
Please don’t try to tell us what any of it means.

Pam Thompson is a writer and lecturer based in Leicester. Her publications include Show Date and Time (Smith | Doorstop, 2006) and Strange Fashion (Pindrop Press, 2017). She is a 2019 Hawthornden Fellow.

I am based in Leicester and during lockdown was only too aware that the rituals of each day, although seeming similar at the time, would, when I looked back, be distinct and very much of their time. This has proven to be the case. Reading and writing was supremely important during these months although being able to concentrate was often difficult. These poems are about distinct moments of attention that characterised that strange period.

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Jill Munro
Jill Munro
3 years ago

Enjoyed your work, Pam, as always.

3 years ago

Gorgeous poems, Pam.

Elizabeth Saxon
Elizabeth Saxon
3 years ago

Pam, I have read these several times now and enjoy them more each time. You really evoke a sense of time and place, in these strange times. P.S. Love your selfie!

Poetry and Covid-19 ARCHIVE (This website archives the over 1000 poems submitted by over 600 poets, and viewed by over 100,000 from over 125 countries during the Covid-19 pandemic, June 2020-June 2021). Thank you to all who took part in the Poetry and Covid project.

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