poem on mothering sunday


Something about duty, about going into the sun

As if it was rare; something about not enough

Of basic things, too much information;

A recollection of locks, distance, and crowds

In parks as if they were safer. A sense the young

Were careless, indifferent, as they always are;

The old preparing for what they knew happens;

A time of waiting, as if the air raid sirens

Had just begun, but the shelters hadn’t yet

Flung open. Something else, connected to being

Apart, a decision we made to come together,

A grander union, after division bells, local anger;

Seriousness at a level you could hear in a stadium,

But they were shut. The image of someone holding

A pint glass, laughing at the figures on the telly;

Stocking up on boxed sets, brown rice, macaroni;

Wondering if the straps of your mask were right;

That clutching in the chest like holding on

To your last belongings; a gust of fight or flight.

More dying than had to, but that’s politics,

A retired nurse leaning over with exhausted fear,

Back for a final act of compromised immunity;

The blue ventilator wheezing, or was that her?

Funerals without mourners, that enclosing year.

22 March, 2020, London


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