Three Poems

By S.J. Litherland


for my four grandsons

The sky’s flimsiest clouds could not be
fabricated, not by all the endeavours
of finest silks or muslins. High winds
had spun and re-spun countless threads
in gossamer of different weights.
The clouds’ finesse free to all,
the skies empty of planes, look up

the moon is rising in a veil, nature
is grandstanding, the spring of no games,
no cricket, no whites on grass, sky
melodies of palest blue and gauze.
The trees are turning green, a fuzz
of spring, the trees like young men
in their step, the sap in their limbs,

like grandsons at Eastertide, like them.


for Linda Saunders

Dear friend we can’t undo the lockdown

of nostalgia. We were young when we met.
We walked through the garlic woods of Durham,
the white streams, swam in fissures between rocks

on the hills, walked our lives and our language

into memory like a cinema reel which starts
without warning; the projectionist
in the high up office has a cupboard full.

Deep moments pushed up from bare ground.

They were phantoms vanishing as they came
like the sirens over the trees to the hospital.
What we learn, the past will insist

that memories live in rooms quite apart.

S.J. Litherland has seven published collections of poetry, latest Composition in White by Smokestack Books, 1917. Winner of two Northern Writers’ Awards and twice Commended in the National Poetry Competition. 

Breath of the Virus: I was intrigued by the idea of the virus needing to attach itself to life in order to reproduce. Both the virus and the single cell are primitive organisms and scientists wonder how and when they came into being, one more successful than the other. 

Isolation: Lockdown cancelled the traditional Easter visit to my home in Durham from both my families in London usually one week after each other in the Easter break. Spring was just beginning in the woods of Flass Vale near my home. My four grandsons, aged 17-21, have always loved walking in the woods. Everything was missing, the start of the cricket season, and my son and daughter and grandsons.

Nostalgia: One of the features of lockdown – I live alone – is that my days became filled with memories of being with friends, especially ones at a distance. My close friend Linda Saunders who lives in Bath used to live in Durham. We met when our children were babies.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Diane Cockburn
Diane Cockburn
1 year ago

An excellent set of poems. Beautiful, ethereal imagery, capturing perfectly the Covid landscape of thought, memory and isolation.

Marilyn Longstaff
Marilyn Longstaff
1 year ago

I find these poems very moving. The sense of loss and isolation is palpable. Also how powerless we are.

Let us know what you think of the Poetry and Covid project by completing this short survey… thank you!

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x