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Poetry in Lockdown: Part XII


When we meet I stand two metres from you 
on Maingrard Street, close enough to say: 

stay with the calm climbing daffodil and heather 
stems after storm Jorge; hyacinth stalks 

bending under the unbearable weight 
of their own bouquet.

Coffee calls as we amble by Le Petite Delice.
Sinister symptoms hides apathetic, contagious. 

Wounds so tender lurk beneath skin as terrified
and retractable as a slug.


-Mary Lee
Submitted November 12, 2020

Absolutely fine!

TW: harsh language, mentions of depression, incest, mental illness

Cortisol raked air reminds me of the shroud of death, 
   and it smells like the devil’s breath.         Yet, here I sit, complacent 
      and passive, tell me roll over                and I’ll do it, though sometimes feverish 
and twining towards the sky,        head thrown back,       mouth open,       shoulders held high, 
but most     importantly,     always in place. In my place, building carapace    
 and time                and space, 
tinkered out of favourite plush             and stitched quilt. 
My mother thinks I can do this. 
I should open my computer and brace the light of the fivehundrethconsecutiveMonday. 

“It’s time to shine”, I’m a child but this body is so grown, 
there     is       such     thing     as I’m-done-growing-pains. 

But, despite it all, I have a thought. 
out there,
I think there might be a God 
because     how           is this wracked, shrivelled Earth filled with seven billion monsters playing victim?
(if we think we’re all angels, we must all also be devils), 
because     how       can this be anything but a joke in a language we’ve
        never tried to understand?

Why flip? 

Why tell me, instruct my brittle bones 
how to move,        how to sleep,         how to dress,         how to breathe,
why any of that when I will do it all for you, for free, 
I’m begging you please. 
I never wanted to leave the house anyway. 
Not when it feels like you’re always here, when you never have to be here.
 None of us ever wanted to hear each other’s voices in the first place, 
it’s sickening,         how we crack         and scaw,     spit on the ground                     and make hieroglyphs out of it. 

( Your head’s on backwards sir, but sometimes I think I’m the only one on this wretched planet who can handle looking at you upside down, the only one who likes my blood to stay in my head. )

Nuclear and divided, yet madness is the result every time -
and damn, aren’t we far along this incestuous, circular path where we keep 
cloning mistakes, 
repeatedly bashing our kid’s heads together because our parents did the same, and look how we turned out!

Absolutely fine!


-Rachel O'Sullivan

Submitted February 10, 2021

As We Enter the Day

Tangerine rises out of onyx
glimmers everything
yet what was is now unfamiliar
elders dear in silken strands
I hear a silent strangeness advancing
Spring arousing to nature’s call
nude trees draw him to their bosom
the shrill of a tiny wren overhead
out of bare wooden hearts
rich and confident blackbirds sing
Now is the time …
a time to moult
time of growth
a time to insure heart’s treasure
while together 
the world and his mother
stand still

-Teresa O’Connor-Diskin
Submitted November 17, 2020

When the world stopped

When all the world stopped, time slowed down
Even New York went to bed,
The people disappeared from the streets
And stayed indoors instead. 

The Pope addressed St Peters, 
Praying to an empty square, 
Where was the life, the noise and music?
It all just seemed so bare. 

The silent streets across the world, 
Could make your heart feel sore
Will it ever be normal again we ask,
Ever as good as before?

A time like this we have never known, 
But it doesn’t all have to be sad,
Despite the distance and the pain,
There is always good with the bad. 

We have found joy in the smaller things
The birds, the flowers, the sea
Walking in the rain doesn’t seem so bad
When there’s nowhere you have to be. 

We bring out dusty boardgames
Pick up old guitars
Search the bookshelves for the classics
Take time to watch the stars. 

And while we carry on trying to cope
We are grateful to our front line
Clapping and cheering from our doorsteps 
And hanging our rainbow sign. 

Our heroes aren’t wearing superman capes
But plastic gloves and masks
Keeping us safe, risking their lives
Not easy daily tasks.

One day we will look back at this time, 
The time when the world stood still,
And remember the kindness, the hope and the love, 
The power of good will.

-Lauren Naismith
Submitted January 20, 2021