By Louise Longson
Llandudno in the Time of Corona*
The Welsh Lords are turning in their graves.
The shades of Llewelyn,
Cadwaladr and Glyn Dŵr haunt
the ghost town. All boundaries are
closed. Once it took twelve feet of
earth to keep us in, them out.
No-one comes now. No-one goes.
Plagued now by invisible foes.
We are coming down from the headland
North to West the shores are dead.
Happy Valley shrouded in despair.
Hotels that strutted their finery
up and down the prom loiter,
limp; slack-jawed awnings, a
We are coming to reclaim the deadland
The businessmen of Mostyn Street
say there is no help. No future.
No light at the end of the tunnel.
No life at the end of the pier, which
lies abandoned; its gutted bones,
the tail of a washed-up dinosaur.
They do not, at first, notice the goats.
We will invade your town.
We will breach your walls.
We will destroy your hedgerows.
We will take spoils of war.
For we are the sons and daughters
Of the Gift of Kings. Your losses,
Our victory. Measured in flowers.
*This poem was inspired by events during the COVID pandemic in 2020. More details here: https://www.northwalespioneer.co.uk/news/18796539.disaster-looms-towns-economy/
Annus Mutabilis 2020
It was a year when we saw two full moons in a month
and they saw the moon for the first time in years in Tokyo.
It was a year when we got a tan as the sun was so hot
and they were burned in their beds by bushfires.
It was a year when we prayed for rain at the allotment
and they were flooded out of their homes.
It was a year when we saw ducks building nests in the High Street
and they killed a pregnant elephant with a pineapple bomb.
It was a year when we painted the garden fence
and they built a wall across the Mexican border.
It was a year when we stood in the streets and clapped
and they stood in the streets on a man’s neck.
It was a year when we worked more than ever
and they were put on indefinite furlough.
It was a year when we were compassionate
and they were selfish.
It was a year when they died.
It was a year when we lived.
It was a year.
Too much wine
on a weekday.
Too much eating
crisps every day.
Too many nights
Too many calls
from people, weeping.
Too much time spent
in Zoom meetings.
Too much news about
violence and death.
Too much to say.
Not enough breath.
Louise Longson lives in rural West Oxfordshire. A qualified psychotherapist specialising in trauma and enduring mental health issues, she currently works to support those distressed by chronic loneliness/social isolation.
Working for a registered charity that usually provides face-to-face supportive contact for people who are chronically lonely and isolated and for whom our services may be the only point of human contact they have in a week, it has been distressing for all our service users, volunteers and staff to not be able to provide services face-to-face during the pandemic. It has had an enormous impact on mental health and the fear and anxiety that I perceive in myself and others inspired me to write these poems. Not having to spend hours travelling to and from work helped me to gain some time to write in earnest, and poetry has helped me make sense of the world and my past and present.