By Kathy Gee
We were there when it began
That microscopic viral burst that started everything:
an exponential surge of matter, forming and reforming,
spreading outwards at the speed of travel plans.
We were there when beads of water spattered fear,
when droplet settled onto droplet, swelled an ocean,
churning deep and touching every nation’s shore.
We were there when people kissed each time they met,
when sunshine drew us to the beaches. Grains of sand
competing with the infinite, that’s where we were.
In the early morning sunlight,
quietly unwrapped its buds
strutted down a gravel path
as if they owned it.
Somewhere in the distance,
time was passing.
It was as if the new beginning
hadn’t had the memo,
as if the way we were
was lost in nature’s clamour,
not quite ready
to look up, not strong enough
to start again.
A funeral in lockdown
(i.m.o. Elizabeth Atkins)
From Callow Hill and Astwood Bank
and all along the High Street, friends
and locked-down neighbours gather,
pleased to see each other in the sunshine,
waiting for Elizabeth.
In silk top hat and morning suit, a man
is marching, slow before the hearse.
A ripple of applause flows up the street,
borne hand to hand to the village green,
to the priest at the churchyard gate.
Beside her grave, a lively wind
sculpts watching ash and chestnut trees
and draws the relatives together,
huddled, twelve, according to the law.
For those of us who stand above,
we space ourselves like weeping figures
in a gold renaissance painting,
sharing tears in the open country air.
The family had asked for colour
and there’s fuschia, lime and crimson,
men in stripy blazers, girls in hats and heels.
We listen as the prayers blow over us
and Liz re-joins her Bernard
in the gentle earth of Feckenham.
Kathy Gee (https://www.brainginger.co.uk) seeks unusual ways to present poetry. In 2016, she wrote the spoken word elements for a choral work (http://suiteforthefallensoldier.com/) and was shortlisted for the O’Bheal International Poetry Film Prize (https://www.brainginger.co.uk/poetry-film). She performs her 2019 collection of duologues – Checkout, set in a corner shop – with crowd-readings (http://vpresspoetry.blogspot.com/p/bookshop.html). Her 2020 covid work – ‘Strange Summer’ combines poetry, photography and memoir.