The New Normal

By Léonie Alvey

It’ll all be different in The New Normal
That is what everyone says.
As our world goes from tangible to virtual
And life becomes a blur of days.

There won’t be a pandemic in The New Normal
Just warehouses where the high street stood.
You won’t need to go outside in The New Normal
When you can shop at home, who would?

We’ll be immune to the virus in The New Normal
Apart from those who refuse the vaccine.
We won’t need to wear masks in The New Normal
Whether we’ll remove them remains to be seen.

We won’t need hand sanitiser in The New Normal
But we’ll all have a bottle of it in our bags.
We won’t need fashion or beauty in The New Normal
Without judging eyes, we enjoy comfy rags.

New films are streamed on TV in The New Normal
And cinemas grow vacant and bare.
We can go to cafes and restaurants in The New Normal
If you’re able to get a table there.

We’ll all be employed in The New Normal
They say as the wages stagnate.
You can even get a house in The New Normal
If you can afford the mortgage rate.

We’ll all be working from home in The New Normal
Businesses save money, our bills increase.
Our meetings will be held online in The New Normal
All colleague banter and relationships cease.

It’ll all be different in The New Normal
Isn’t that what everyone says?
As our world goes from tangible to virtual
And we all become stuck in our ways.

I’m Léonie Alvey and I’m a Content Editor, Copywriter and Editor for an electrical engineering company. 

I wrote it because I was reading comments on various news sites and most people were using this catchphrase ‘the new normal’ in so many of their comments. I have grown to hate that phrase so much that I wrote a poem about it. The phrase seems to be used both negatively, suggesting all the stuff we’re doing in the pandemic will continue forever) and positively (everything will be better in the world beyond Covid). 

The poem was just about capturing how I have felt during lockdown and 2020 in general. The barrage of negative news articles showing how everyone is suffering both with the illness itself but also with the lockdowns resulting in job losses, homelessness, poverty conflicts with the ‘toxic positivity’ being espoused at the same time from those who perhaps have not suffered in this way. Indeed, the comments that made me want to write this were referring to the recent Paperchase administration, with some people claiming that there wouldn’t be any need to have physical shops in “the new normal” and that somehow the company was old-fashioned for even existing. It made me really consider the knock-on effects of having no high street shops: the lack of jobs, only cafes and restaurants would be left, with no other reason to go out to town – what happens if we all work from home forever? How would that shape our office workers?

In spite of the negativity of the poem, I am actually quite positive things will be generally better when the pandemic is over and after we’ve had time to recover. The world will not be a utopia, it won’t be completely different. There will be some changes and some things will go back to the way they were before. I think we will keep some of the things we’ve been doing, like masks and hand washing, and I think we’ll be wanting to go outside and wanting to go places so I don’t think everything will actually close. If the high street does die a bit, I think it will recover with new business and shops opening. The one thing I believe we will all appreciate much more is our friends and families. 

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A C Clarke
A C Clarke
10 months ago

Really enjoyed this poem Leonie (sorry, I can’t put in the accent) – it exploits the chosen form skilfully and makes some very telling points about the difficulties of coming out of a lockdown mindset as well as the mindless optimism of those who see the ‘new normal’ as a kind of utopia.

9 months ago
Reply to  A C Clarke

Thank you for your kind words 🙂

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