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

Three Poems

By S.J. Litherland

The sky’s flimsiest clouds could not be
fabricated, not by all the endeavours
of finest silks or muslins.

Two Poems

By Neil Clarkson

It’s quiet as a church yard outside,
pre-pandemic shouting has stopped,
motorbikes glide like silver swans.

Two Poems

By Tara Shannon

Forget-me-nots

By Tim Ellis

All around the edges of my borders
grow tiny flowers whose jollity makes me cry.

It might be the last lesson

By Bozena Helena Mazur-Nowak

just yesterday they believed it would be okay
they fought for every breath, for every sip of life
today rows of only empty chairs remind of them,

Sonnet Sequence

By Maia Elsner

The day lockdown is announced, our neighbour buys
binoculars. On our one hour government-prescribed walk

Two Poems

By Susmita Paul

Across the bits, a little bit of me suspends from the acrimonies of pleasure. Fingers editing lives, tenacious fingers now drooping over the bytes and morsels.

Three Poems

By Hannah Stone

What a thing of beauty,
this tasselled necklace,
strung with bell to chime
in the ears of the flock;
the ovine version of a lanyard,
marking the role of leader.

Three Poems

By Yuan Changming

Turns out high time for all to stand still, as
I stay at home every day, trying to find
How to hold my stream of consciousness

Escaping Spain

By Howard Pell

Málaga airport
Ten thousand souls looking to flee

Two Poems

By Jill Munro

The heavy silver cool of the top hat
rests in my sweating palm
in the pre-game tingle

Two Poems

By Catherine Whittaker

Inside this room
there are paintings on the walls,
houses, mountains,

Like Monks

By Ed Meek

We find ourselves
in this abyssopelagic zone,
eyes clouded by phosphenes.

A Poem for Dark Times

Dark like honey… dark like coal
Smothered with ash in a dead fire-hole.

Two Poems

By Sheila Jacob

Come Spring next year,
you’ll be flourishing in a way
you’ve never known.

Pandemic Blessings

By Marlene Woolgar

Stained shirt
toe poking through his sock
he hasn’t shaved for weeks
or cleaned his teeth
not that it matters

Corona Virus

By Ella Sanderson

Plans cancelled .
New ones made.
The only thing left a love that can be saved.

Covid

By Sue Proffitt

It’s only one letter.
Forget there’s no ‘r’ –
I read a story once: a parliament
of crows are assembled in a field.

Waiting for this block to end

By Adele Duffield

My words are queueing,
like everyone else,
not yet ready for gluing
themselves together.

Springtime in Whitstable

By Rebecca Lehmann

In the hopeful time after the
railway blackthorn blossomed,
as the hawthorn waited to flower,
the virus bloomed,

Fleeting (2018)

By Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer

Today the temple went to the post office.
Of course it wore its mask. There,
it met several other temples, also masked,
some of them in a hurry as temples sometimes are.

Four Poems

By Nancy Cook

In time, Hsuifang speaks. She has family
living in Wuhan where a virus rampages
the city; but she does not talk of this.

Two Poems

By Abigail Elizabeth Ottley

A skeleton reclines on what were once his
well-padded, flesh-and-blood haunches.

Feet in Isolation

By Amanda Steel

I remember when we went everywhere together
I never gave you much thought

Two Poems

By Tanya Parker

we were children.
We held hands, hugged our friends, breathed deep.

Shopping

By Rose Drew

Rule followers are in
pedantic glory.

Click Undo

By Elaine Bowden

Before weeks were locked and stretched an age,
The world, pressed gently, tipped about its core.

Marooned

By Lori Bonati

It’s the year of the virus. I’m single
and stuck here like a castaway
on a two-bedroom island.
I’ve been talking to the furniture.

Crown of Thorns

By Phil Millette

Our character is in a cage.
Away from a quiet spring, a strange spring.
The daffodils have no admirers.

Safe Distance

By Rona Fitzgerald

The voice in my head is busy, reassuring.
But its variable – as if not enough air
is getting through.

Four Poems

By Lesley Quayle

The way we whisper the word; to say it aloud
confers a truth upon it, gives it a taste in our mouths,

Three Poems

By Jon Croose

To the thistle,
down a goldfinch flies

Epiflany

By Shreya Sen-Handley

Lockdown, settle in, buckle down
Now is the time to write your King Lear
Your Monte Cristo, and Three Musketeers.

Two Poems

By Amy Soricelli

Masked bandits on buses, steal air from the end
of this Bronx down by the river.
They sit apart from you and me, carry small maps
in the back of their heads; measure us deep
enough to care.

Goodbye Office

By Stuart Whomsley

Getting up too early to commute to be in a place
it turned out you did not have to be in after all.

A World Insulted

By Sarah Salway

It’s a single lung –
no, start smaller –
a particle of oxygen
in a breath
that’s never been valued
before

When the Only Medicine is a Popsicle Shot

By Pat Edwards

They’re injecting defrosted Popsicles at the surgery,
hoping for a cure before their eyes freeze, stare out
at patients who are, frankly, incredulous, bewildered.

The #PlagueOPoems Project

By Hugh McMillan

On March 17th, a few days before the official lockdown began, I decided to start a daily video blog…

Two Poems

By Julene Tripp Weaver

To go insane
I would talk to my mother
daily—but she’s dead
which makes life easier.

Two Poems

By Stan Skinny

They’d been socially distant for years
isolating in separate rooms of the house

Christmas in Spring

By Chris Muskett

I walked empty streets
Like Christmas in spring

Points of Departure

By Rodney Wood

Since the lockdown I’ve been busy in the garden
tidying away old branches, rotting leaves, plants, loose soil,
other winter debris & creating some art
(as recommended by the Getty Museum).

Reality

By Lucia Daramus

the sky, the wind, the rain paint
a new poem about a different world.

Two Poems

By Andrew Button

Cars could be glued to driveways,
streets and roads are devoid of traffic
and public transport picks up invisible passengers.
Birdsong prevails unobscured by human commotion,
parcels are left on doorsteps
as footsteps recede into the days.

Air on a Kite String

By Jo Eden

Hover-flying stirs the wild blue
air-brush breath of hollow bamboo.

Last Year

By Chris Davison

Last year, I was me.
I had meaning.
Purpose.

A Contactless World

By Guy Dolev

The silence is beautiful, But can be of death too
It feels so empty, though there’s nothing to do
You can only hear birds cheerping, what do they care?

Three Poems

By Pen Kease

You still have it – time –
minutiae of minutes –
elongated days.

Normal in a Covid World

By Lisa Reynolds

He tells me
it’s normal to feel anxious
everyone is these days.

Three Poems

By Karol Nielson

Spring came as the virus spread and most days I left quarantine at my parents’ house in Connecticut to walk through the neighborhood…

Soothing Interval

By Gary Beck

We think the plague is gone.
We put away our masks,
walk the streets facing others,
not worrying about distance.

Two Poems

By Carol Harte

Is it you I see framed by the silver screen?
Your face is almost real, touchable – reach out and you’re glass.

Because This is My Brave New Self

By Tricia Waller

On days that end in a ‘y’
I just lie ………..here in this bed,
Instead of choosing to face the day.
It is my own way of coping
And no I am not joking.
Because this is my brave new self.

Three Poems

By Gerry Fabian

The dancers have stored their shoes
even though their feet tingle for action.

Three Poems

By Pam Thompson

the days are interchangeable.
First thing, lighting
a rose and gardenia candle.

Two Poems

By Elizabeth Saxon

The moon is on the wane
And so are we

Two Poems

By Sue Burge

I have been totally awestruck by the way the poetry world has responded to the pandemic.

Four Poems

By Belina Subraman

El Paso re-opened their gun shops.
People are stock piling

Five Poems

By Caitlin Thomson

Out the window I see a man walking his dog.
In his hand there’s a pastry bag, a to-go
cup with a famous mermaid on the side,
I’m a witness to another lifetime.

And In That Slow Time

By Catherine West-McGrath

We learned to live quite differently
We learned how to slow down our pace
We stopped to admire the view
The beauty surrounding our space

Four Poems

By Kate Noakes

All day fine chains of rain silver the windows;
hard to see, but easy to feel in a few minutes outside.

Two Poems

By Tim Resau

Dashed together, toasted—
foam throat, with cough—
devoid of voice, & thoughtless.

Four Poems

By Rachel Spence

On the scale of fundamental time everything we experience is incredibly slow.

Sky like calcifying ash.

Last night, you told me London was about to go into lockdown…

Players

By Lindah Kiddey

They flicked marbles in flinty mill races
Where green moss met the wetness of sedges
Running fast to such dangerous places
Legs grass-painted with sore gritted knees.

Two Poems

By Jake Cosmos Aller

watching the daily news
the constant doom and gloom
makes me want to cry

Three Poems

By Jenny Robb

Trapped within brick and glass day after day,
allowed out to walk once a day,
each day, blue sky, bright sun.

Two Poems

By Andrew Martin

Distance equals speed multiplied by time,
data equals statistics multiplied by trying
to maintain a life, our lives saved

Silent Park

By Carol Fenwick

Searching for reasons why,
against a clear blue sky, it has come to this?
In sultry spring sunshine, by the River Cray,
it is time to reflect.

Three Poems

By Clare Stewart

My one piece of exercise. Orbiting the houses, rotating a local circuit. Winding home to my old loom, the interior merry-go-round, I pirouette towards the spinning-wheel that pricks my bubble, sleep in til eleven, refuse to listen to news, the stresses that wind up. Am I wrong to be enjoying this today?

Four Poems

By Audrey Arden-Jones

It’s the noise of the men digging and shouting
I miss – the sight of yellow jackets and red hats;
they’d been drumming the ground for weeks,
shaping the new walkway in our town centre

Three Poems

By Kevin Qweaver Jackson

Today turns on itself
as yesterday did
the rain keeps vigil
with the slate clock’s tick-tock
and I play the ghost
slipped between.

Two Poems

By Julian Matthews

So you turned 21 today, Lockdown
Happy Birthday!
It’s only 21 days but it feels like 21 years
Sorry we can’t throw you a party, social distancing and all
And even if we gave you the key — where would you go?

Corona Café Realness

By P. J. Reed

please keep a safe
distance
follow the footsteps
on the floor

Six Poems

By Robert Sheppard

Parts of Bo want to look away (it wasn’t meant
to be like this!) comfort in the great oppression.
Dressing in a mask is just for show,
like Naomi Campbell’s empty airport hazmat chic!

Three Poems

By Gareth Culshaw

We drop off the shopping with parachute hands.
Stand with neighbourly distance. Your energy
runs out of you as a child on waking up at Christmas.

Pandemic

By Sudeep Sen

Sweat beads trickle from my forehead
threading through my dense eyebrows,
over the protective arch of lids and lashes

Three Poems

By Laura Grace Weldon

I think it’s Saturday, but it’s Tuesday.
Afternoon has dragged on long enough
to be evening now, though the clock insists
it’s not yet three. No Zen retreat, no generative
challenge, this isolation feels like being lost.

Two Poems

By Connor Orrico

Connor is a student and field recordist interested in global health, mental health, and how we make meaning from the stories we share with each other.

And Just Like That, the Whole World Changed

By Sky Hawkins

Sky Hawkins aka The Word Bird is a dyslexic poet and has been ranting on stages, winning the odd slam in the north east and beyond for over a decade now

Two Poems

By J. L. Wright

Antibacterial
antique satin

Distance

By Joe Williams

Do you realise, I wonder, that this isn’t normal?

Two Poems

By Ann Parker

I have a need for chocolate, as in boxes of,
One at a time, of course, but how long’s time?

Two Poems

By Mark Conners

One for corona
Two for a cold
Three for a psychotic episode

The Floor is Lava

By Leanne Moden

so, I furl my knees to my chest,
adrift on a raft the same shape as my settee. Burn-

Six Poems

By Robert Beveridge

the wind tells stories
of a world much different
seven months ago

Flattening the Curves

By Shirley McIntyre

I’m sick of the sight of my pre-Covid clothes,
They show off my wobbly fat tum.
I have shirts with no buttons, and jeans with zapped zips,
They’ll never squash over my bum.

Three Poems

By David Spicer

Red fog came months ago and may never leave
An unwanted guest it remains our focus

Grain of Salt

By Stephen Mead

Take it with, take it.
Over the shoulder,
right side; left?

Golden Oak With Huge Acorns

By Clare Best

Lockdown in a quiet village on the edge of Tunstall Forest near the Suffolk coast was not, on the face of it, so distant from normal everyday life here…

Essential Exercise

By Jean Atkin

In this sunnier, odder spring with louder
birdsong, sweeter lanes and tall
blue skies unstreaked by planes

Two Poems

By Richard LeDue

A ninety year old died the other day.
Part of the pandemic
like these words are pieces of this poem.

Two Poems

By Susan Sanders

Strange, how COVID-19
virus spread and stumped
dubious doctors’ ability
to save everyone.

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About Us

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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