By Stephen Kingsnorth
What is this monster on the screen,
come bouncing round with knobs in place,
as though arrived from outer space,
an orbiter, unknown, unseen?
A prickled ball, like mine at sea,
till now collecting charity
from strollers taking promenade –
this virus, sphere of influence.
Seed parachutes, dandelion,
dents de lion, growl jungle teeth,
wildly flying, count-down clock,
as every gardener regrets.
Globe thistle, known as echinops,
the Greek hedgehog, a rolling pain,
its pastel shade, a gentle blue,
unlike the hue, deceptive plague.
When she was sewing hems in place,
the pin cushion like Granny knew –
kept to skirting, scullery,
her limit of allotted space.
Cheers to Sacrifice
Corona, carbonate to fashion beer, via Porth pop factory,
or global fear, bubble sphere of metric space, buffer zone
rigged greeting shake to isolate, polished daily conference,
one phrase, said ditto, time again: stay home, protect the nhs, save lives;
new found companions, distant bred,
applause, namaste palms clapped out, for health service in streets at 8.
Covid, bat to human, suspect trace –
or battery chickens, farm disgrace,
viral led, umbrella spread –
irony, persistent cough, heaving breast, as flights are grounded, purer air;
did Eyam teach us anything?
1 for many, type sacrifice,
9 feline lives, just one for us.
Clapped out, our carers in the street,
rushed banks on breadline, asset-short,
gardens of rest strips tapeworm wrapped,
sward picnic tables, scenes of crime,
former bedding, growth runs wild,
plague-posters, feathers cannot read.
Took cash-in-hand, low tax-return,
pay-back furlough returns to bite;
premier league, outrageous say,
but bet game hedge fund bosses pay?
The privet become private wall,
no hawkers, calls, save chorus, dawn.
Defaced robot, laud Doctor Who,
cloaked nurses dance, masque Covid ball;
their card is marked, wear evening gown.
Styx ferryboat, gold marigolds,
gloved hands, last rites, minimum wage –
new priests, hold I phone, stipend charged.
As scalpel, wipe-key, vital told,
worn cleaners reach top of the pile,
who thought laundry, surgeon, a peer?
Re-tread the road from Jericho,
to cross the road now sign of care,
kindness of strangers, leave at door.
Stephen Kingsnorth, retired to Wales from ministry in the Methodist Church with Parkinson’s Disease, has had pieces published by on-line poetry sites, printed journals and anthologies. https://poetrykingsnorth.wordpress.com/
As ‘Parkinson Man’, and self-isolating, I have many hours available to write poetry, which is a delight and privilege… though sometimes the pandemic has dominated…