By Joanna Wakefield

First, travel was restricted and we kept the home fires burning,
Then the planes stopped flying and rested on the tarmac
Like big white gulls waiting for fish to return.

The shutters lowered into submissiveness
And they told me I had to leave my newfound home

But I had nowhere to go.

So I stay alone with the squirrels and foxes
At night I hear them snuffling and barking,
As scuttles and whispers of fauna surround.

A furry bumble bee visits every day
I mark the days by his presence
As my new home creaks and adapts to the silence.

The media is rife with statistics, masks, sanitizing
Swabs, tests and promises, survival and distancing,
And washing, and washing, washing,

Washing all other news away.
There is no other news
As this virus quietly crawls and infiltrates.

Death tiptoes like footprints squashing grass,
Young or old it has no filter,
And we feel trapped with unease.

Let the miller tell this tale of the earth
allowing birds to sing louder
and animals roam on roads to freedom

The choppy waters of friendship become smooth
As malice melts in caring neighbourhoods
And twilight rings the toll

Loneliness slowly creeps
And seeps into the summer nights,
And behind the hurricane lamp the mosquitos are holding a ball.

Time passes as slowly as the centuries
And a void, an emptiness, sits amid my trunk.
The hole of loneliness gouges into my heart.

The world lays low, rests and spreads her ease
As she nurtures herself to universal alignment
Blowing away the smock of pollution.

We fend for ourselves and tug at inner resources,
Challenged by old emotions that rise, retch
And stir the silence into weeping cries.

Those slippery thoughts intrude
But they don’t enter the dark spaces between my ribs and heart
Where feint shaky lines of sorrow emanate.

And I weep for the Charities on TV
Pleading for dumped kittens, abandoned dogs
Trapped and chained tigers and bears.

Humanity’s by products from lessons unlearned
I want to save and support them all,
As these are the saviors of my sanity.

I listen to family chatter on the radio
About their happy games and experimental cooking
And novel ways of making contact.

And I wish I belonged to these families
As the ghosts of abandonment
Arise to choke me.

My phone stays cold
So I make calls and message,
Uncaging the grey.

But they don’t call me
As I spend 60, 70, 90 nights alone
Counting, like the marked walls of a prison,

Counting the days by the bee,
With only the TV for company
And the squirrels, bees and foxes.

Notify of

1 Comment
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Helen Deal
Helen Deal
2 years ago

Downed planes ‘like gulls waiting for fish’ – what a great visual early line. I also like creeping death described as footprints flattening grass, and the choppy waves of friendship becoming smooth (true) and the idea of the world lying low and spreading her ease. Really lovely ideas that resonate. I feel your expression of loneliness coming in and the idea of the marks on the prison wall…

I am curious as to the poem’s setting and why you could not leave it? Where do you live? Thanks for sharing this version of lockdown.

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