By Roy Bainton
The April sun’s out
Determined to pierce winter’s
Commanding me to write
There are photographs online
Shuffling queues outside Primark
Every credit card itching
In every handbag and pocket.
The plague is over. Repeat:
The plague is over. Is it?
It must be; the masks are ditched
Needles in arms were the decree
Barbershop floors are awash
With the remnants of six months’
Ragged tresses. The plague is over.
Let the pints be pulled
For we are human
Let us drink to foamy freedom
Whilst in the shadows, variants lurk
South Africa, Brazil, merciless viral
Marauders with cargoes of grief..
So here we are; media announcing
Let’s pretend this never happened.
Let’s buy that T-shirt, munch a big Mac
Let’s write more obituaries across the April sky
The plague is over.
THE BOX OFFICE IS CLOSED
Examine your faith and ask:
What have the Gods in their spite
Stolen from us?
They have swapped our togetherness
For tearful distance, made us to suffer,
Punished us with unnecessary death.
They have darkened our halls,
Ripped out our musical souls
And laid the once vibrant stage bare,
Snuffed out the footlights,
Crippled the play and the panto,
Silenced the mikes and the drums,
Snapped the serenading strings.
We are turned into couch potatoes
The Box Office is closed
The drama remains on the page
And as lockdown gnaws,
We wait in silent rage.
They make up the songs
And we listen yet
Mainly they’re so out of tune
Whatever refrain leaves political brains
They may as well howl at the moon.
They want us to get back to working
The city’s shareholders are fraught
The vaccine’s our only lifejacket
As we sail in our big leaky boat,
Maybe we’ll float so don’t panic
Even though we’re aboard the Titanic.
But the Westminster band keeps on playing,
As the icebergs punch holes in the hull
From South Africa, India, even Brazil
Yet the blustering Captain’s a fool
Our home destination, ‘Port Normal’
Seems now further and further away
That’s one song you got wrong, ‘navigator’
The tune titled ‘Your Freedom Day’.
I am a 78 year old full-time writer based in Hull and have been in this occupation for 25 years. My work includes non-fiction for various publishers, currently Constable & Robinson / Little, Brown. I have also worked in journalism for several publications, including The New Statesman, Saga Magazine, The Oberver, The Independent and in the 1970s-1990s was a regular contributor to BBC Radio 4. I also contributed 45 x 30 minute scripts for Sky Life Channel’s holiday show, Britain’s Best Breaks. I am the author of 18 books including a World War 1 naval biography, a history of the Bolshevik Revolution, the British is Germany 1945-89, and I wrote The Mammoth Book of Unexplained Phenomena and The Mammoth Book of Superstition for Constable & Robinson. I also work in the music industry as a blues records reviewer and writer, and for record companies researching blues and rhythm and blues history for CD liner notes. I am currently writing PR copy for various community schemes, and I also write one poem every day. I have five volumes of poetry published.