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POETRY IN THE PLAGUE YEAR
Poems written during the Coronavirus Outbreak 2020
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Clair Chilvers was a cancer scientist, and worked latterly for the UK National Health Service. She started writing poetry after she retired. She lives in Gloucestershire, UK and has had poems published in on-line and print journals. www.clairchilverspoetry.co.uk
Poem completed 17th March 2020
The equinox is near
a feeling of relief
to have got through the winter:
through the twilit late afternoons
the cheerlessness of cold and rain.
Last year tea and crumpets by the fire
with children, grandchildren;
friends met for brunch in warm cafés,
walking through the dusk to see a film.
This year is different:
a profound sense of waiting, of nervous uncertainty,
an epidemic hovering
on the cusp of exponentiality.
Empty shelves in the shops
human interactions put on hold,
thrown back on our own resources,
pubs feel threatening, restaurants unwise,
Saturday afternoons without the match
loom long and dull.
By day we talk on zoom and skype,
change how we live and work forever.
Rusty at neighborliness
we discover the invisibles -
the old, frightened, vulnerable,
Poem written 10th May 2020
Twice a month I used to take the train in late afternoon
change at Reading for Clapham Junction,
walk from no-man’s-land
up the hill towards the Common
turn right and count the houses.
The dog the first to sense me
as I stand on the doorstep,
fumble for my key;
then the Boy, doing his homework.
A glass of wine thrust into my hand,
news of the day, the week,
of school and friends and work,
of where I will go tomorrow
ordinary, domestic things.
Then dinner, and on sunny evenings,
the doors open in the twilight
as we eat chocolates with our coffee.
It is already two months since
and still in lockdown
talking on a screen
of jigsaws finished, home schooling, hair grown long.