Week 2, Michaelmas 2020
As we watch,
locking up for the last time
for now, so they tell us:
but shutters down for longer than
feels less complete
than locking up:
maybe, by virtue of the fact that things are not
up and running.
(That’s allowed, of course, in twos – though a trip to the Headington one won’t be.)
We are mandated to exercise control.
Yet keeping your distance proves anything but
social; allegiance made
so much harder
when it leads to keeping yourself to yourself.
When instead of cracking open clams
or a bottle
with the juice of good conversation poured
Turn into those odd metaphors.
my restricted presence can’t hold
to the hearth-like warmth
of hugs, huddles round hot coffee and hands held. Still, if
it can but bring something
of a spark
to the faces belonging to a few dear names
around me, nonetheless then
am I fulfilled.
Week 4, Michaelmas 2020
Week 4, Michaelmas 2020 – Extraordinary Meeting
What unusual times we live in. Season
formerly named unofficially
according to cosy coats and coffee-shop creations,
marked by common cough, cold and flu,
into a cycle of ebb and flow:
now countries cordoned off.
Just so, hi-ho,
from cutlery to policy we go.
A council called, we all zoom to our desks.
One thing’s for sure, that we,
despite the uncertain climes –
pelican birds of a feather –
will weather this storm together.
Week 6, Michaelmas 2020
takes so many forms in its nominal and verbal states,
the standard symbols that emblazon garment labels;
fortitude that the veneer of professionalism in the term scantily covers
for those who give it, dedicate it.
To be free from it is bliss:
bereft of it from other living souls, desolation.
So, take care. But don’t be mistaken: this
is not meant
as the offhand farewell, turning away
without so much as a full wave,
lingering gaze. I mean
Take it, like a warming cup passed
From one pair of hands to another,
as you would mark a smile received, taken in, internalised
in the turning up of your own lips or,
in this present age,
of an eye peeping above the mask-line.
So take care, Corpus.
Week 2, Hilary 2021
Cowley Road, Walton Street, Botley Road, Summertown
Only just ready, trusty, waiting at heel;
dusty spokes and chains locked up, clamped down.
Stiller months deemed by spikes, surges, floods to drown
walled round, semi-absorbed, mankind in a hamster wheel.
Cowley, Walton Street, Botley Road, Summertown.
no fun, not fair for any town
less a smooth Ferris loop, more lurch and reel —
bread lines and livelihood locked up, clamped down.
No way to nurture seedlings, some recently sown,
Morning bell nor playground laughter peal:
Cowley, Walton, Botley Road, Summertown.
Captain’s orders — tempest brings a collective frown.
Sails lowered, the crew are ready to keel.
Caring capacity locked up, clamped down.
Proverbially, linear’s boring: paint dried or grass grown
yet cut circulation is leaving us too numb to feel.
Cowley, Walton, Botley, Summertown.
Worlds apart, all locked up, clamped down.
Week 4, Hilary 2021
in the ocean as nothing
as a camaraderie, well-worn fallacy of pathos on the pane yields
so easily to gravity —
like the tainted particles might
not as well
demand the strain of sweat or the wounds behind blood.
Only the pure snow white, in sturdier form
than flakes, stands firm.
Rest not when the verdant laurels bloom for before
you know it the ball has already eluded your grasp, rolled away
from the invigilant
Play cards and aplomb right
at the fall of a mic:
not so much JKLMN as IDGAF.
Thank goodness for redeeming aloofness
whenever creations are dropped; the belle dame shows
mercy like gentle rain or manna dew.
Something to quench and feed the thirst.
Though I so often select to stay mute
each time the body convenes,
since some of what She scattered
seems to have taken root
so by I pop and drop these lines.