By Rose Drew

Rule followers are in
pedantic glory.

The foolish gather in pubs,
along beaches
in secret parties with crisps and beer,
astonished when the police arrive

Most dash out for rice
and fresh veg, bread,
carnivores buy flesh in bulk,
the vegans preen over tofu
and wait.
If we meet in the olive oil aisle
one pauses at the entrance
another grabs a jug,

Large silver pots of pasta bubble
a glass of wine sits, ignored
(or guzzled: depending),
the sun arcs from left to right
dragging night behind
and again

We holler at Grandma on Skype,
attempt to care about numbers,
pretend we don’t mind if the shops on the High Street fail.

The pedantic are in their clicketyclick tweet
poke poke hello police glory.

What will they do to top this;
when they lose the best lace curtain of their lives.

Rose Drew is a book publisher and editor (Stairwell Books); a physical anthropologist often writing about those twin 19th century plagues: workhouses and TB; and a performance poet. Rose and partner Alan have hosted long-running open mic night York Spoken Word (lately via Zoom) since January 2006.

Photo by Ben Hamilton

I’ve been appalled by the self-righteous glee folks express when shopping neighbours for Covid offenses; yet equally disgusted by Covidiots congregating in giant herds, swapping spittle, soon to overload and endanger our precious NHS. My 30 year old and I have long presumed a deadly pandemic was coming – too many people on a small planet – and have always hoped we would survive but tbh it never occurred to me that both my old country and my new one would  be mismanaged by out of touch, over-privileged idiots with bizarre hair. I am sorry for folks who have lost loved ones and lost themselves to “long Covid”: this too shall pass. All plagues do. 

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Jenny Robb
3 years ago

Very relatable Rose – I have shared all these sentiments

Arti Jain
3 years ago

I enjoyed reading your poem as much as I enjoyed looking at your photo and reading your thoughts afterwards. Amen to “this too shall pass.”

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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