The corona diaries – National Poetry Day

21 March 2020 (10)

Corona virus
Ordinary life on hold
Fish swim in Venice

These are very strange and worrying days indeed. In the course of a week our lives have changed dramatically to ones of fear, self-isolation, panic and fights in the supermarket over toilet rolls. It is like something out of an apocalyptic disaster film. Yet here in our quiet and very sunny corner of Norfolk you would not know that anything has changed. The sky is is a perfect blue today, the birds are singing, flowers are blooming. A sharp contrast to some of the awful images coming out of Italy at the moment.

It is difficult to know how to feel. One moment it's "hey, I've got this, I will be creative, do all those jobs I've been putting off" the next it's "I'm scared, our business has all but dried up, I hope my parents are OK in self isolation, what kind of future will there be for my children?" And so the hamster wheel of uncertainly goes on.

There are many things that can help us through these dark old days like nature, connections over social media, music, books and poetry. Last night I sat in bed and just before midnight, after lots of endless scrolling on death rates, symptoms, the age of virus victims but then stopped to listen to some lovely poems on Radio 4 for the start of spring. they helped to bring me to my senses and quit the doommongery.

So today on National Poetry Day I thought that I would share a few poems - the first is my daughter Reya's favourite Keats poem followed by some some haikus by me and  two poems by my husband Geoff

The photos are some of the recent one taken on my walks.

Stay safe everyone.

When I have Fears That I May Cease to Be


When I have fears that I may cease to be
Before my pen has gleaned my teeming brain,
Before high-pilèd books, in charactery,
Hold like rich garners the full ripened grain;
When I behold, upon the night’s starred face,
Huge cloudy symbols of a high romance,
And think that I may never live to trace
Their shadows with the magic hand of chance;
And when I feel, fair creature of an hour,
That I shall never look upon thee more,
Never have relish in the faery power
Of unreflecting love—then on the shore
Of the wide world I stand alone, and think
Till love and fame to nothingness do sink.

Words on a blank page
To excavate buried dreams
Jewels in the soil


The moon on a wire
walking a sunset tightrope
Bright perfect balance

Slocum’s Solitude

If bleak had been the intention
I’d have worn black
and let the fire die

Let me just
work up a little sunshine
to smear over these filthy panes
and put on some music

There is a pause
isn’t there always a pause?
and some movement
in other rooms
a passing fear of voices

If all these words mean nothing
what then?

The mirror is hung too high now
I can’t share
this false smile

I can sit at tables I have made
and look at books that I have read
and books that I have yet to read, but

One I now recall

I sailed with him once
when it seemed possible,
probable, almost certain

my timid dry feet spurned the sea
from this rooted shore
I neglected to steam and bend the wood,
the toil was lost
in the imagining

Now all that’s left of this unseaworthy hull
is caulking the leaky seams
with Slocum’s solitude

The visit

Leonard came to me
one night
in a dream

why do you pretend not to know?

I averted my eyes
a little taken aback
at his brusqueness;
not giving me the chance
to welcome him
and to say the things
of the heart

I shook my bowed head
feigning ignorance

you see?

he said, pulled long
on his cigarette
and was gone in smoke

A sky lark morning
As deep winter slumber stirs
Frosted jewels shine


Breathe in the night sky
An infinite swathe of stars
Cosmic D N A

Early spring bird song
Fills the morning air with joy
while the virus spreads


The earth awakens
From a long dark winter sleep
Mankind hibernates

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