Three Poems

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.

False start

In the early morning sunlight,
nothing happened.

The sycamore
quietly unwrapped its buds
while jackdaws
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 ( seeks unusual ways to present poetry. In 2016, she wrote the spoken word elements for a choral work ( and was shortlisted for the O’Bheal International Poetry Film Prize ( She performs her 2019 collection of duologues – Checkout, set in a corner shop – with crowd-readings ( Her 2020 covid work – ‘Strange Summer’ combines poetry, photography and memoir.

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Paul Francis
9 months ago

I love the gentle, affectionate ending to your funeral lockdown poem. So many risks – sentimentality, drowning in grief – but you sidestep them beautifully.

Helen Deal
Helen Deal
10 months ago

Thank you for sharing these moments from lockdown. I particularly love how in False Start the sycamore quietly unwraps its buds and that idea of ‘we’ are not ready for new beginnings – simple phrasing but so packed with emotion, it really resonates. The funeral poem also very affecting and effective – I can see and feel the scene. I did not attend any funerals in lockdown, though did like many people view from very afar through a TV the pomp of Prince Philip’s – waiting for Elizabeth feels more affectionate and intimate.

Your bio and how you present poems is very interesting – applause from a stranger!

Sally Warrell
Sally Warrell
10 months ago

All quietly haunting and sad, a record of how it was or perhaps is or will be. I haven’t been to a funeral, not having a funeral to go to. I love that the mourners wore colour as if in defiance of Covid. The empty street, yes haunting is the word.

10 months ago


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