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Poetry in Lockdown: Part XI

Knitting Wounds

I want to say unravel — to every wound. 
They are temporary knots:

sensory loops of flimsy unhealing.
But, look closer, as they knit, every

hurt is a duet of needles 
conducting a scar. They clack, clack,

weave like dream-patterns at 4am, 
in time harmony’s thread — each injury 

immersed in lyrical motions of tone: 
kind voice. At their busiest point 

thumbs don’t puncture. This is self-care. 
Damaged as skin is by each penetrating 

stitch, it is bodies of texture constructing 
a woollen cardigan from flesh.


--Maeve McKenna
Submitted October 8, 2020


Day One: he takes a ladder and his vertigo
in hand to investigate the noises in the attic – 
all the scratching, rooting, scrabbling around
that has been going on since the last century.

I hold the ladder for him – hold my breath too –  
watch him heave himself up, disappear.
I hand him a torch to find their entry point.

Next: a hazardous climb onto the roof 
to measure the dimensions of the hole.

Day Two: he saws plywood, then a final trip
with hammer and nails to batten it down.

Day Three:  the hammering starts at dawn:
an invisible squadron of stares head-butt 
the plywood, resolute as a battering-ram.

We agree it’s a matter of waiting it out,
replacing the barricades as often
as we need to. When the herd memory fades, 
they will forget we ever shared a roof.

-A.M. Cousins
Submitted October 15, 2020

Mirror Mirror

Marble faces wince and turn 
Fever wets Athenian brows, 
Dawn breaks at Doolough pass Dead lie the starving shadows.

Legions slumber at Hadrian’s Wall Cyprian plague creeps quietly north, By Mystic River under March moon The Pequot burn by colonial scorch.

Nika is quelled, Justinian claps The grin of a rat, bite of a flea, As Tolowa pray to solstice morn Miners purge a bestial spree.

Bolts of brocade bump on Silk Roads Seeping buboes cry pus in Palermo, Cossacks dance by the Kuban Circassian ghosts roam a Red Meadow.

Poppies appear in Flanders mud Blitzkatarrh boards a train, 
Hear the Duduk mourn for Adana Hear the sound of Armenian pain.

Tigers rest in the Sundarbans 
The Blue dead burn on a pyre, Dutchbat prayers go unheard 
In Potočari waits evil mire.
Chimps pan-hoot in the Congo 
Blood banks run dry their yield, 
Black shirt, chequered Krama 
Plough turns bone in Ta Mok’s field.

Sickness roots in a wet market 
Hutus hack and maim to cleanse, 
Dr Li cries out from a Wuhan bed 
Freetown bleeds for sake of gems.

Bergamo wakes to the end of days 
Mushrooms rise over Japan, 
Liepaja girl takes one last gaze 
Mirror Mirror, the sickness is man. 


-Eoin J Barton
Submitted October 23, 2020

No Covid Blues

No one told the daffodils about social distancing,
that they should no longer bunch together;
their brazen yellow heads just nod as I stroll by.

No one told the cherry blossoms not to cluster
in groups of more than two and in the plantation
bluebells defy the ban on congregation. 

And no one thought the air would ever feel 
this clean, that a teeming choir of birdsong 
would welcome in the day. I catch the scent

of hyacinth, wild garlic on warm afternoons.
When sunsets ribbon the evening sky, 
a strange light catches me off guard and I dance
around my kitchen. I’ve banished the covid blues!

-Breda Joyce
Submitted October 27, 2020


No matter where you are 

Remember all the people who die today —

Their faces. 

Their places.

‘Sheltering-in-place’ — all we’ve ever done.

‘Practicing social distancing’ — got lots of practice.

Strip to your bones!

Look at people in the eyes, talk to their spirit,    sunset.


*not a COVID-19 poem. People are never locked down. Like Gary Lawless and Manuel Alberto Garcia Alonso co-wrote, (Caribou Planet, 2015) ’you cannot embargo the human heart.’ 




sunrise / sunset

sunrise / sunset
eyes bright, horizon-line gone.


travelling south-west,
maybe some not coming back.


now, kids are born.
they bring their songs
from over all horizons.
they sing
from there;

with ’big-spirited determination’,

with long-range eyes.

lán le croí

18.10 — 21.10

-Rowan Kilduff
Submitted October 27, 2020