Three Poems

By Marilyn Daish


During the Covid Pandemic under Lockdown we coped by remembering life before;
And tried not to think beyond the moment.
as the daily death toll rose

Echoes of the past
on this hill I climb,
in pale early sun

Fox, half submerged in bushes,
watches me watching its russet head,
jigsaw ear, dappled paw in scattered light;
splash of tail raked through gorse,
slip of an artist’s brush

I piece together the parts of fox,
emerging with its fear crouched belly down,
eyes drawn to mine

Bent over the pond with a long neck
it drinks in smooth slow gulps
thirsty midday fox

I now retrieve my memory fox,
select tree greens, bracken browns
re-create the quality of water
of that pond on that particular day
Indigo, violet, baby blue
streaked white from passing clouds

my palate bleeds into a background wash,
with my brush I conjure a milky faded fox

Within my walls I dance
shake off my scarf, let my hair fall,
raise my arms spinning, spinning
my red skirt rising
in the sweet arc of early morning

At night when shadows threaten
I fold myself in
and fear tastes of burning


During the Covid-19 lockdown only our minds were free to wander

birdsong like
a whetted knife in clear air

climb stairs
mark each step
in increments of 10

ascend to greet a
machu picchu dawn

summit the loft
full of redundancy and left overs

watch movies of the world’s highest climbers
shimmy into free-fall

squeeze hope beneath the bathroom door
open its skylight on a ledge of stars

shelve guilt
for the foreseeable future

swim in the bath
It’s made for dreaming

fold up the moment from the depths of a chair
stack in a corner

clear cupboards of old glass jars
wrap in last month’s paper

breath deeply in – hold
for the count of 5 – and out

count to twenty
as you wash your hands

remember that all things pass
and the moon’s a big fat balloon


During the covid 19 pandemic people were advised to stay indoors except for limited exercise, at a distance of at least 2 metres from others and to avoid all unnecessary travel.

Elbow your way through doors, avoid handles
tuck in your fingers, make clubs of your hands
run around the block and back before curfew
hold tight to your wish list for tomorrow
hold onto nothing else at all
Avoid Cornwall

Rejoice in the morning sun-dance on your wall
reach beyond your window for clouds
trace their circumference
extend your stretch, expand your lungs
do what it takes to cross continents
Stay indoors

Enjoy the postage stamp world through your window
touch the stars when darkness falls
then pocket them against the tipping of your mind
laugh at the moon, expand your margins,
hold back time, bin clocks
avoid eye or any contact at all
Avoid Watford, Snowdonia and Dover

Try loving net curtains, others and yours
make slow love to shadows
smooch the stair rail, table tops, skirting board
with broom and feather duster
revel in wind waffle through unseen seams and cracks
pull in your elbows to keep yourself closed
Avoid static surfaces

Note the smudge of your hand on clean white paper
sticky with honey and apprehension
turn your gaze from circumstance
explore the circumference of silence
the in-ness of being shut out

Let your well- thumbed life revisit the philosophers
read Sartre’s ‘No Exit’ when going to bed
in your most comfortable chair, meditate
don’t monitor your movements, wallow in corners,
be ensnared by the grab of regret

As evening comes unpin your shadow
hook it on the door
embrace the lull in your life
brush off the crumbs of memory
Turn your back on Cornwall.

Marilyn Daish is published in London based anthologies. Her poem ‘The Woman Carries’ was shortlisted in publication of Brian Dempsey Memorial competition 2020. Her podcast ‘Prodding Shadows in the Potting Shed’ can be found on

During the pandemic as I was shielding I had plenty of ‘lockdown’ time in which to re-evaluate my life and the direction of my poetry.
I started by writing a diary detailing my moods, both good and bad – my frustrations and disappointments, but soon turned exclusively to writing and reading poetry, as I sought to make sense of the strange ‘new normal’ world we were forced to inhabit, in which nothing could be planned for or taken for granted, even so far as continuing life was concerned. My poems charted my moods ranging from fear to an increasing sense of liberation within the changed routines and limiting horizons. How much easier to plan one’s day when it is contained within the limits of four walls. They are not a direct commentary on my mood changes but serve more as a reminder of the mood swings inherent in altered limiting circumstances, where personal ‘control’ over choice and destiny is taken and we are forced to inhabit a vacuum within which anything is possible.

Notify of

1 Comment
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Anne Bailey
Anne Bailey
3 years ago

These poems are evocative of the time, beautifully drawn and magical. They carry a gentle humour. Love ‘pocket them (stars) against the tipping of your mind’ and ‘try loving net curtains’

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.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x