By Tanya Parker
we were children.
We held hands, hugged our friends, breathed deep.
Then winds blew, clearing streets, filling houses,
and notices in red appeared on every public door:
“If you have symptoms….”
Ashen strangers learn the Covid swerve,
avoiding the man on his sanctioned daily walk.
Geese lay eggs in train stations, foxes streak the cobbled streets,
for this spring’s cubs don’t need to be wary;
it is humans who have become wild,
fear each other, hide their children, camouflage.
The skies keep silence
as overstuffed metal birds
learn June migrations.
desperate on his jam spoon
thinks him above Death.
We are all Canute:
shouting for the tide to stop,
or at least be swift.
This: our enforced pause,
blue at the base of the flame,
hope, fear, grief, courage.
Makes us shield our faces
Holds back the night for now.
Tanya Parker lives in York. Publications: The Problem with Beauty (Stairwell Books); poems in Orbis, Dream Catcher, The Stare’s Nest, Other Poetry and elsewhere. Prizes: Yorkshire Open Poetry Prize, and Ryedale Prize.
My reason for writing was simple: I wanted to document the eerie time we lived though (and are still dealing with.) I didn’t have to change much – this is what York was like!