It will be an astonishing year for poetry, I am sure. Not mine. So many more people have found their poetic voice – or the need to put their feelings down in words. It is, after all, the most bizarre, truly aweful time we are living through. Being isolated away from your friends and family, unable to see loved ones, even when they are sick in hospital – unable to even be with them at death – is dreadful. And still it spread.
Social activity stopped. No open mics, no pub nights talking ryhme and reason. And these are just minor things compared to the closure of shops factories and economic day to day living as we know it. So you could think, well no-one will be bothered about, or writing, poetry, then. Wrong. It is thriving more than ever. Poetry has always been an outlet for the strongest emotions – love to hate, anger to joy. So it’s bound to play a huge part in the history we are making this year.
We had to learn new skills. Well, I did anyway! Had to learn to use technology to stay in touch. To have meet-ups digitally, through Zoom and Google. I don’t really like it. But if you want to see anyone from outside your home – apart from the grocery drop-off man and a distanced chat with a neighbour – it has to be done on line.
It feels a bit monotonous, day to day living. So the chance to go on line to vent poetry with other like-minded folk is a bit of an occasion. I like quizzes and You Tube more. Less effort on my part for those, unless it’s a tough quiz.
I’ve put away my winter clothes
But not got summer’s out
There’s no point wearing anything
If you’re never going out
I’m staying up till one a.m.
And stay in bed till nine
I’ve still got bags under my eyes
We eat when we feel hungry
We eat when we are not
We try to ration out the food
And then we eat the lot
We lounge about in lounge suits
(Our clothes would be too tight)
Our visits are all virtual
Except for Thursday nights
Then we stand outside our doors
In praise of NHS
And the others we rely on
To get us through this mess
Amanda Samm 2020