Poems, From Ovid to Covid…

Poetry is always valued in times of crisis

‘In the beginning the sky weighed down on the earth in a thick, black fog which trapped the prostrating heat in a blanket of clouds; and throughout the time that it took four moons to wax and to wane, the south winds blew with their sweltering currents of toxic air.’

Ovid, Metamorphoses

The Home Within my Head

By Isabel Turner

Everyday feels as though we are
Playing hide and seek with death
Unsure of who he might wish to take
Whose breath


By Denise Steele

Into a time of inequality, into division, uncertainty,
into distraction and sheer frivolity, suddenly came – a pause.


By Eftychia Mikelli

Two Poems

By Christine Redman-Waldeyer

At entry one is welcomed by the clementines,
the grapes in shades of red and green,
granny apples or Macintosh.

Two Poems

By Bob David Salter

Tell me daddy.
What did you do in the war of 2020?
Was it heaven or was it hell?

The Marching Millions

By Bhuwan Thapaliya

Every moment
the pandemic slashes us
into pieces,
pauses our heart

Corona Sucks

By Till Kinzel

Corona sucks
me into waves
of melancholy

Covid 19

By Ayesha Perveen

Phenomenological consciousness
Of pandemic spatiality
Iterates after a century

Fears for Tiers

By Liz Boys

Rising from the melting smog a dazzling Shard of glass,
Gilded padlocked gardens, “Please keep off the grass”.


By Lucy Allsopp

This season we are wearing
the looser trouser. We flap with
the snap of distant yachts, tacking
at two metres, spinnakers

Same Boat

By Andy Eycott

Feel that itch

Cornflower Blind

By Samantha Smith

Orphaned, I am in your garden
as he busies in your no-more home
adding up your no-more life.

Speak! A Brief Encounter

By Julia Travers

After spending so much time alone,
when she met someone on the street,
she wondered
what sounds would emerge from her mouth.

So Lucky

By Ceinwen E Cariad Haydon

Three o’clock, walk time
in this lockdown world –
I check my pockets: hanky,
hand-sanitiser and keys.

Three Poems

By Matt Nagin

Get in the bunker—
hide, friend, from the sun;
don’t let them tell you
it’s necessary to see it all—
to climb every last dopey mountain
or fight all your lions in
a single cage match.

A Frisson of Schadenfreude

By Roger Haydon

When Ray shuts his yellow front door at the start of December, he disappears.
A taxi turns up in the early morning and he is gone until next year’s April.

Two Poems

By Cathy Wilson

None of us could have envisaged this –
a warp in time where social norms are gone –


By Carol McKay

In the darkness of winter
you gave me a seed-kit
(tin tub, dead earth,
a dozen seeds in a packet).


By Jessica Tsun Lem Hui

Hope of a vaccine
Brings conflicting emotions
The gnawing pains of grief
White noise

Three Poems

By Mary Lee

Each gift of air from
who knows where, given
and received in the garden

Two Poems

By Quinn Li

Six feet distance
Reminds people:
How much you need
A simple hug

Two Poems

By Bernadette Sweeney

Mankind were frightened over a silent disease,
avoiding a cough, a temp, a wheeze
Covid-19 swept the earth,
warning humanity to give a wide berth.

Two Poems

By Sandra Burnett

is never easy
and today’s prompt is a view
to expand horizons.

Healing Balm

By Lauralee Alben

Offering prayer amid the stone spirits,
I walk the pathway they attend
and open myself to their teachings.

28% Buffaloed

By Hank Greenspan

I am a playwright, poet, and psychologist–emeritus prof from the University of Michigan. My plays have been produced at more than 300 venues worldwide. A lot of my work [including this piece] works between genres–theatre and poetry, oral history and performance, and so on. http://www.henrygreenspan.com

Three Poems

By Ivan Jenson

it’s not you
it’s this pandemic
so I kinda need
personal space
right now
I need to stay
at least six feet

Three Poems

By Stephen Claughton

Now the library’s shut,
an email comes every month
to tell me my books are renewed.

Social Distancing

By Matthew Schultz

The intimacy
of this
air we breathe,
between us

I Did Not Mourn my Son’s Wedding

By Cheryl Mann

My son is in medical school. COVID-19 is a constant and unwelcome guest in both of our worlds. My son has already survived COVID-19 once. This week he got married. I was able to attend, but it was not the wedding either of us had pictured in our minds. It was, however, a little slice of wonderful in a world turned upside down.

A Game

By Kai Murga

Every time I see someone I think about playing
Hide and seek


By Dr Roger Craik

My trim black tablet on the table.
Your wider, blue-rimmed tablet on the table.

You and me together.
COVID’s the third wheel.

Three Poems

By Smeetha Bhoumik

A magic burst of cirrus slowly floats along as I decide to step
outside frozen notions that enclosed me in shells, and outside
is a whole new world of beginnings, of ends, of new shells, the
crusts of which wait to be broken open; much like this old frame,
flying around in mystic, circular symbols of
love, whispering wordless fiery old odes that dissolve fear.

Two Poems

By Bhavna Khemlani

Everlasting lifestyle
Don’t know what to do in 2020
Do this!

Two Poems

By Fokkina McDonnell

The month of May, always
the month of the dead
and now, with the thing
we won’t mention.


By Genista Lewes


By Billy Antonio

Covid isolation
staring at a gecko
staring at me

Three Poems

By Pippa Marriott

From Barrow and Fall’s selection
of quintessentially
English shades:

The Virus of Christmas Past

By Simon Leak

I am the virus of Christmas Past
and for your New Year’s Day,
as there’s nothing that I want more
for people to gather, talk and play.


By Giles Turner

The daffodils nodded their heads in the breeze
A blackbird was singing high in the trees
As I sat in the garden, it was sunny and green
And the world was in lockdown with Covid 19.

Love in Lockdown

By Josa Keyes

If I knew that Love was coming over
I’d polish every surface in my house
I’d scatter Vanish powder across the floor

The Sketcher’s Ring

By Martin Deveci

Your beauty compelled me to draw,
But I have never sketched before.
I was worried, didn’t know how to start
But drew the first line trusting my heart.

Delusional Dreams

By Sylvia Sanchez Garza

Today is a new daily record. Again, we peaked!
Still, does death even care or take pause?
Like a prisoner released from a cell,
he walks in a disturbing, dark daze
hoping that somehow things won’t turn. Oh…
How many more added onto the lethal list to bury?

Fabulous Phoebe

By Robbie Frazer

There she goes bang on cue, hair up, made up – at half past two!
She’s stepping over litter like a heron in heels to steel some feels
with that feller from the baker’s with the really nice wheels.
She’ll be back before hubby’s home that’s for certain.
Freshly baked bread for her beast of burden.

Corona 19

By Germina Melius

Unmasked, the uncompassionate one of indifference,
wanders through my darling earth.

Three Poems

By Constantin Severin

the world is a honeycomb of ghost towns with warheads and gothic rosettes
throughout which haunts alienation dreaming and loss
among arches with huge shadows towers and marble statues
empty squares mannequins in windows with drawn shutter

The Spring is in the Air

By Malkeet Kaur

The world is becoming tinier,
The walls closing in.
The stuffy rooms seem overcrowded with two, three or four
And outside lies a vast faceless digital cosmos.


By Kate Firth

you flew in on invisible wings
spirit-stealer, breath-taker
you circle in silence; you gather a storm


By William Parsons

In the north pole that jolly old chap

Two Poems

By Tabish Nawaz

The birds set loose
at daybreak cooing, pecking at the walls invite us – in strange languages.


By Byron Haskins

Tyranny to think of shutting me down
My rights from land to hand
I hold a loaded gun to show you
And shout into the face of authority
While I hoard goods with impunity
For wars against wicked futures.

Three Poems

By Rachel Moore

That spring we put our lives on pause
As if re-starting was as easy as pressing play
Instead of rain, the news came pouring in
Droplets of cases popping up around the world
Like unwanted weeds

You First

By Larry Lefkowitz

The “You First” phenomenon began to manifest itself
As the corona vaccine became a fact and not a promise.

Look Them in the Eye

By Gem Lemuria

I’m not wearing a tin hat
Or as crazy as a bat.
Down the rabbit hole I go
Trying to find the down low.

Three Poems

By Mary Strong Jackson

time to use the silence
of our stilled bodies

Three Poems

By Laura Grevel

I could have eaten grape vine leaves
but chocolate is what came to me.
In these times of mask it or mess it,
I’ve got a little confused, Bless It!

Two Poems

By Lorraine Lambeth

I fear every cough and every sneeze
Every sniff and every sneeze

Two Poems

By Katie Green

They say the virus is not even alive
(those humans who proclaim to know)
but when I asked, corona reassured me
that what it had unraveled was truly conscious.

Two Poems

By Sharon Philips

next door
someone coughs

Sacre Ton Camp!

By Bahar Hoshyar

the circuit around
the neighbourhood
feels like
the largest
amusement park

Walled Garden

By Trevor Wright

I am one of those annoying people who can write anywhere, whether that is in a bar, surreptitiously in work or halfway up a hill in the rain on my bike. Out comes the phone or any scrap of paper and down goes the lines that are in my head.

Long Covid

By Janina Karpinska

When did the mask first go on?
In childhood; at home:


By Margaret Simmons

It’s 2020
the year the world went viral
with Covid-19

The End of Days

By Simon Thompson

The air is warm and dry, it has been like this since lockdown,
Spring has sprung un-noticed, a jack-in-the-box in an empty room,

The View from Here

By Sue Hunter

There’s not much of a view from here –
The white house opposite
Our car, the garden gate – and a small cherry tree
Not in blossom now, but next spring I know it will be

Two Poems

By FlowPoetry

And Mother Earth is getting stronger
She might survive a little longer
If she can simply get us humans out the way

Two Poems

By Helen Boden

Learn new versions
of out-and-back
circular daily walks
localised footfall
from-the-door exercise.

The Quiescence of COVID 19

By Jamie Magill

A return to austerity is welcome even if it took a fool to swallow a bat to achieve it,

Three Poems

By Lina Krishnan

A hat or two
A book for metro rides Letters to post
Some harvest for a neighbour

Remember When

By Paul Sherwood

Remember when the shops were packed,
and you’d still arrive home with your nerves intact.

An Outbreak of Love

By Andrew Hunter

When the rain gently came,
Of course, it seemed
Like the end
Of something –

The Odd Salesman

By Miki Byrne

He was a gentle salesman.
Not at all what we expected.


By Alison Reed

Three Poems

By Anthony Watts

I went down to Asda and joined a queue
hoping to buy some rolls for the loo.
I asked a ‘colleague’ (that’s a member of staff).
He said, ‘Mate, you must be having a laugh’.

Figuring New Normal

By Hardarshan Singh Valia

Images undulating
Eclipsed face
Desire a shape

Three Poems

By Claudia Serea

We had blizzard warnings for weeks.
Deadly cinder flakes started to fall,
and kept falling, piling on,
day and night, like dirty snow,
like lava and ashes that rose
to our knees and thighs.

A Poem for my Contact Tracer

By Tuesday Victoria Gale

My contact tracer is paid more than my nurse,
a customer facing role but with less sensitivity and empathy.

After Divoc

By Marilyn Longstaff

Before the crisis, the bottomless chasm of lockdown, locked up, locked in,


By Colin Pidgeon

This virus is vicious, and many have died
Intubated, sedated, our families have cried
But when does the fight for the planet begin?

Two Poems

By Ruth Butler

Mid-March, on my way into lock-down,
I bought a bunch of daffodils, to remind me
of the fields of them I wouldn’t see;

Two Poems

By Charlotte Oliver

Crowded rainbow in orange-green, leaves
loud, soft, all between.
Sentry trees

Dark Hours

By Utpal Chakraborty

In hours of darkness, Adrienne said,” Don’t be disheartened, man. Wind blowing through Hemlock trees can sanitize your mind.”

Two Poems

By Sarah Bingham

I had thought in your last days
That I would be there beside you;
Telling jokes, telling you off
Telling you the things we never said.

Two Poems

By Roger Knight

Those unmistakable tell tale tinges of red and yellow,
is nature’s confirmation that summer has already been
seen off for another year.

In the Midst of Things

By Bob MacKenzie

in empty streets of locked doors
shuttered windows and the dead
bodies on flatbeds to be buried

Three Poems

By Marilyn Daish

Echoes of the past
on this hill I climb,
in pale early sun

Two Poems

By Yuyutsu Sharma

Running out of ink
like my karma to pen down

Covid Matters

By David Wynne-Jones

What is there to applaud?
The suggestion that we should “take it on the chin?”


By Alice Stainer

This poem came into being the day after one of my chamber choirs had reassembled for the first time in seven months.

If I Close My Eyes

By Helen Kay

I stop seeing myself in a hotel-turned
isolation-unit or in a gasping hospital.
and I know my own duvet tucks me in.

Three Poems

By JoyAnne O’Donnell

On butterfly wings
comes colorful courage

Open-Mic Night

By Helen Rice

the clatter your guitar case makes
as the door inevitably swings back
a fraction too soon
and clocks us, on our way in, yet again

Four Poems

By Shikhandin

A year later, perhaps when the fever
is past, the bloodstains on the tracks
will gleam like glass


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Poetry and Covid is an Arts and Humanities Research Council funded project, aiming to share poems and spark discussion around poetry and pandemics.

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