By Rachel Clyne
Elegy for Easter 2020
Sparrows are nesting in the firethorn,
a woman round the corner struggles
to breathe through scarred lungs.
After four weeks, she’s still grateful for her life.
Meanwhile, through the party wall,
next-door’s bedsprings crescendo
as procreation’s rhythm mounts.
A friend, sweaty from cycling,
delivers yoghurt to the side-door.
With gloved hand I take the pot,
leave it on the patio. Later, with gloved hand,
I’ll put it in the fridge. With naked hand
I’ll put out peanuts for the badger’s treat.
Spring blossoms into Easter,
as the virus reaps a thousand lives a day
and on each station of the cross,
a chest rises, falls and rests–
the end of a twelve-hour shift.
First published in Locked Down anthology (Poetry Space 2021), a literal description of what happened that day.
The Book of Covid
For nation shall turn against nation for the last macchiato
and people will slaughter each other with a handshake.
Neighbour will smite neighbour for a dog biscuit
and children will shun playmates over a bar of Snickers.
Yea it shall be so unto the final can of beans
which will cost more than a house
and the rich will skulk in bunkers with bodyguards
who know which side their bread is buttered.
Then neighbour shall turn to neighbour for solace
and townsfolk shall swap coats with each other
and we shall shop and cook for one another.
On Wednesdays and alternate weekends
we shall plant seeds together in cities
knowing that we prepare a bed fit to lie in
and we shall rest in it alongside each other
and survive another season that is no longer recognisable
and shall be known by another name.
First published in Beyond the Storm anthology (Write Out Loud 2020). The pandemic felt biblical. I’m involved with Climate Change issues and the pandemic seems just a precursor to the challenges we face in the near future. With global politics in disarray, it seems vital to act locally and to build community.
Mistress Goodwill crochets streets
with home-bakes left on doorsteps.
Bikers deliver medication, step back
and wait for pensioners to unlatch doors
with chimes of, Thank you young man.
Supermarkets stop dumping food,
as volunteers collect past sell-by-date, goods
to fill the community fridge by the Town Hall.
Jo cooks soups for the new mum four doors down,
does fish runs for friends from the market stall.
Volunteers clean cash machines, clear cycle paths
and parking is free.
5g anti-maskers yell sheeple in your face,
hug each other at freedom gatherings
by the market cross, convinced that reptile royals
and bankers invested in nanotechnology
to inject us with barcodes and trackers.
When you say your father died of covid yesterday,
they accuse you of lies.
Glastonbury is a quirky town and lively community, but also full of individualists and dissenters. Both aspects have been evident throughout.
Rachael Clyne is a psychotherapist from Glastonbury. Her collection Singing at the Bone Tree is about eco-issues pamphlet, Girl Golem (4Word Press) concerns her migrant background and sense of otherness.
I see covid as the start of a tide of transformative challenges we face this century. Earth pressed the pause button. I’m grateful to live in a low risk area with a supportive community and surrounding countryside. While client work became more intense with so many experiencing stress and crises, my challenges have been living alone. Creativity has as always sustained me as it absorbs mornings, helps articulate the lockdown rollercoaster and provides communion with poet friends. Zoom has enabled me to attend more events than ever before and I have heard some outstandingly powerful voices. My bedside book pile is infinite.