Three Poems

By Pippa Marriott

‘Winter Skies in time of Covid’

From Barrow and Fall’s selection
of quintessentially
English shades:

Beaten Pewter
Grief Grey
Half-remembered White
Sfumato
Faint Rain
Smudged despair
Pencil Lead
(2B to 6B range)
Frozen Steel
Blasted Heath
(from the Macbeth collection)
Gwen John Gloom
(from the National Gallery collection)
Amnesiac Fog
Glimpse of Hope
(currently unavailable;
we’ll let you know when it’s
back in stock)

Local News

“Be careful in the sun tomorrow,
when out for your Permitted Exercise.”
I dare say Sainsbury’s queue, the one
that staggers us in silent, trolley-distanced
lines, will be a sun trap too.
Note to self: remove my mask,
avoid unsightly white patch
round the mouth.

In other news, the Devon Covid toll
Has topped two hundred, still quite low
compared with other places.

And in the field
that leads you to Pound Lane
There’s one black lamb kicking up
the buttercups. Elsewhere,
badger cubs fought in the night
over food left out for passing deer.
Squeals were heard by neighbours.

We end tonight with news just in:
a family so unsure what day it is
just sat down for Sunday roast
on Tuesday night! This virus
really makes a mess of time.
The Yorkshires were a triumph
nonetheless.

How are you doing?

Fine.
Up and down, really.
You know –
up and down
like a fiddler’s elbow
a whore’s drawers
a bride’s nighty
A Devon lane
The Stock Exchange
windscreen wipers
American nappies –
Diapers?
Yes.
Up and down, really
like Judy Garland
a bobbing robin
a bouncing ball
a seesaw
a gravedigger’s spade or
a moody teenager.
That’s it,
up and down
like a tiny sailing boat
on soaring seas.
Or a limp pop sock.
Or the menopause.
but yes, fine really.
How are you?

This year I have taken part in two different ‘a poem a day for a month’ challenges which have worked well in terms of building a community and getting writers to offer feedback on each other’s work. 

I live on Dartmoor in Devon.  The first lockdown was both quietly terrifying and blissful.  The landscape here and the silence, the lack of cars and abundance  wildlife certainly brought joy. My husband is medically vulnerable, tough, so didn’t leave our hill for the duration, and the weight of responsibility of incursions in and out of the world weighed heavy on me somedays in case I was bringing the ‘terror’ home.  Sometimes we absolutely forgot what day it was! My work (writer and freelance trainer/educator) either evaporated or went online, unlocking the challenges and the surprise advantages of Zoom. Lockdown 2 was just frustrating: interesting how hard it is to sustain the level of fear, though of course all it takes is for someone you know to fall ill or even die and then the hyper-alertness is re-activated.  What a time it has been.  So much brought into focus about what is valuable, what matters, how kind people can be, how interconnected we all are.  Writing poetry has, at times, been a daily necessity and meditation, other times words have been hard to find.  How has it been? You know, a bit up and down.  

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Diana Devlin
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Diana Devlin
9 months ago

Really enjoyed these 3 poems, Pippa. My favourite was ‘Winter Skies…’

Elizabeth Lewendon
Guest
Elizabeth Lewendon
10 months ago

I especially enjoyed
How are you doing?
We’re all bobbing along on a sun lit sea.. Or holding on in a storm of confused fear… Riding it out.. Adrift, sometimes.. But still afloat. Still bouyant..

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