after Philip Larkin
Never again such crowds
shouldering such exultation,
no more the sea lion choir
hauled up on the stands.
The stadia and arenas
silent like grief,
the sun quenched in remembrance
of a million flowering hands.
And shutters on the High Street
tight against the abyss,
the weekend staff furloughed,
the checkout bleepers schtum.
Thursday 21st October 2021 10:53 am
We all long for when restrictions end.
Times have been tough but we're on the mend.
Our freedom - it cannot come too soon.
Now together we may sing a joyful tune.
Life for us all must now improve.
For face masks we may soon remove.
And there's something for which many yearn,
That's for nightclubs and discos to return.
Social distancing will be abolished,
And the metre rule is to be de...
Saturday 10th July 2021 7:10 pm
WORLD IN LOCKDOWN
A patchwork-style poem written by the people of Merseyside during England's first Coronavirus lockdown 2020
Curated by Barry Woods
Assisted by Michelle Wright
(c) Copyright contributors 2020 (listed at the end)
World in Lockdown
We're earning o...
Monday 24th May 2021 11:44 pm
You've already left.
537 miles North of me, of us.
I'll ruffle up to join you in four (agonising) weeks
but to my unconcerned shame,
I'm too sad to sleep in that bed without you, too ungoverned.
Nostalgia, even the warm kind, is too much feeling for me.
Something about it has always made my lipids curdle
and an unpleasant tickle cloud in my brain.
The street ou...
Tuesday 30th March 2021 9:40 am
Quick scribble. I just want to be the squirrel in the tree outside my window today. I've had enough.
Up and down the Ash trees,
Round and round they go,
Of these troubles that we know,
No Coronavirus seeping,
Through their very roots,
Dampening their daily walks,
Or tarnishing their fruits,
Searing, hurting longi...
Monday 1st March 2021 4:05 pm
The World fell silent,
Sombre air began to fill the streets,
There came an end to social meets.
No more dining and no more celebrations.
Hospital wards filled with a new enemy.
Masks, gloves and sanitation,
Echoed through the news,
Leaving a trail of gloomy blues.
Families gathered for the 5pm broadcast,
Rising death rates leaving them aghast.
But a ray of ...
Thursday 4th February 2021 12:58 pm
Sometimes we yearn for company.
Sometimes we must be alone.
We may like to vent our problems,
Or fix them on our own.
And if we are handed puzzles
How do we find solutions?
Should we do it by ourselves,
Or with help and contributions?
And when we feel sad or down
We often just ruminate,
But should we take comfort in others
To get us back to feeling great?
Though when we're feeli...
Thursday 14th January 2021 8:26 am
Just the right amount of squeeze
at my hip
of a lemon
on the pasta we craft for each other
of the sponge he knows I don’t like to touch when wet.
A tongue, a croissant, a bottom smack,
exactly when we wanted one
A well-timed tease, balletically treading that tightrope line
from this now, to the next, to the next to the next please
Moments studded above our ...
Saturday 9th January 2021 3:36 pm
Facebook is full of futility;
pandemic emotional ping pong
vapid mini Directors spouting “truth”
proving a point to the other side
The class divide is dividing us,
fuelled by media-driven Morgans
who needs to create division to thrive
pointless pricks with absent minds
Propaganda piloted, spoon-feeding
Humans walk past Joe the homeless,
humming on their way into work
Monday 4th January 2021 7:51 am
The sweetest memories hang
in the dark room of my mind
I develop them occasionally
more exciting times
Yellows and browns begin to wash
across the leaves outside my window
I haven’t seen you in the flesh
since those shoots were new
it feels so long ago
We ran through those streets
as if we owned them
spinning endlessly from bar to bar
from joke to ...
Thursday 1st October 2020 5:06 pm
The pubs are shut
The grass aint cut
The pints not flowing
The lawn needs mowing
The pies are cold
The snacks are old
The crisps are stale
The lack of ale
The jukey's quiet
The waitress fired
The buzz is gone
The fire ain't on
The food disposed
The doors are closed
Goodbye my Local
Thursday 24th September 2020 9:51 pm
Pen devoid of poems
adventure long overdue
living room carpet
growing long in the tooth
I’m pining for movement
so keen to get out
I’ll go walking down
to Holly Hagg
Little glimpses at normality
haloed by golden rays
There’s no poison
in the idle river
in the quiet horse
The clouds of working day
part while I’m out walking
bathed in nat...
Friday 7th August 2020 4:43 pm
Ode to Covid Carers.
To intensive care and virus wards each day
In every town they make their way.
Caring souls, disguised in blue and white,
To fight against the Covid blight.
Shift after shift, through night and light
Brothers and sisters of mercy face up to our plight.
Masked, shielded, smocked and booted
lonely, fearful, solely commuted
on the near empty bus and...
Wednesday 5th August 2020 12:54 pm
This world is made of razorblades and bile
Where every step is dangerous to tread
Bloody footprints stretch out mile after mile
Leading to the bone mansions of the dead
They chew on rotting meat and bitter wine
And breath the fetid air of charnel house
The graveyards filled with beggars is a sign
Of every corrupt moral they espouse
In darkened rooms they ...
Tuesday 4th August 2020 2:21 pm
Don’t wear your mask if they ask
just bask in your task —
–your task to free you and me to be and to plea:
“I can’t breathe through a mask”
“I can’t breathe through my nose”
“I can’t breathe through my mouth”
“I can’t breathe on my toes”
Breathe out breathe in
It’s no sin — you win
Tell a failed pale tale–
–A tale of Michael who couldn’t breathe
Wednesday 22nd July 2020 7:23 pm
March - June 2020 :
During the early months of the UK lockdown, in response to the Covid-19 pandemic - I've been organising and running an online community writing project through various Facebook community boards, but in two different communities: Fakenham, in north Norfolk, where I live & work, and the Isles of Scilly, which I've known and loved for over twenty-five years. The two poems produ...
Thursday 9th July 2020 12:11 pm
Today I bumped into an old friend,
we have not met for many a year,
such a lovely surprise to see her,
but this encounter has left me in fear.
In a flash, in a moment of madness,
forgetting the lockdown rules in place,
and without giving it a second thought,
we hugged each other, a fleeting embrace.
In a flash, in a moment of madness,
in my defence I was caught...
Saturday 4th July 2020 4:45 pm
Encouraged by comments on my latest blog - and reminded that I always intend to post my blogs on WOL and usually get distracted before doing so - I'm repeating a blog from a few weeks ago which I didn't post here. With thanks to those who commented on the last one!
I've been thinking about what happens next. There's been a lot of talk in the press, and shared posts on social media, about t...
Saturday 4th July 2020 12:39 pm
A hundred days since lockdown began, stockpiling days seems so long ago.
Rationing of pasta, toilet rolls, hand sanitiser, the empty shelves full of woe.
Non essential shops closed along with gyms, restaurants, bars and schools.
Only two persons allowed together, was just one of the new lockdown rules.
A tired nurse went to the shop and broke down, she cried in sheer desperat...
Tuesday 30th June 2020 12:58 pm
#facebook,#friendship,#loss of friendship,#Social media, #lockdown
You don't have time and so
You're fading slowly from my life
Messages left hanging
Like smoke rings in cyberspace
But the fading is masked
By a feeling of liking and being liked
Which I tend to persist in
Because you still 'like' my stuff
As I do yours
And that seems to be a close enough equivalent
Tuesday 30th June 2020 5:10 am
Today I went shopping,
lockdown shopping is hard.
Queue up just to take a look,
changing rooms are barred.
Today I bought a new dress,
I must admit it isn't quite right.
It is just a little bit too small,
only a teeny tiny bit too tight.
Today I made a promise,
to eat healthily all next week.
I will not raid the biscuit tin,
I will turn the other cheek....
Sunday 28th June 2020 10:54 am
We walked up from the river
Beneath a canopy of trees
The air was filled with birdsong
On a warm and gentle breeze
The sun was high in the June sky
The road stretched out ahead
We drank some wine together
shared cheese and new baked bread
After lunch we wandered home
The air was hot and hazy
Then we sat around and drunk beer
Wednesday 24th June 2020 12:55 pm
Now that lockdown is finally easing,
Into shops once more people are breezing.
People know that they must still keep apart,
Though in the towns long queues restart,
After such times of stress and strife,
We strive to return to a normal life.
But are we buying what we need?
Or celebrating that we are freed?
Some may see all this as funny,
As people return to spend their money.
Friday 19th June 2020 10:36 am
We were getting on great before lockdown
The odd early night and a bottle of wine
But I knew my fate was sealed when
You bought lingerie and champagne on line
What used to be fun has become a nightmare
I've seen through these hot oriental sauces
Before long I think I'll go out of my mind
Because you're stretching my resources
Stretching, stretching, stretching my ...
Saturday 13th June 2020 11:33 am
There's a strange woman in the flat above
I fear that lockdown has affected her wits
She's started singing in the middle of the night
Mostly Whitney Houston's greatest hits
I put a note under her door complaining
She rang saying sorry for giving me a fright
We're both young bored and frustrated she said
She knew a better way to pass the night
It turns out she's a ...
Friday 12th June 2020 12:28 pm
Folk have too much time on their hands
This mad lockdown's stoking mischief
Families living on top of each other
From bad neighbours there's no relief
They put up a new bird table next door
State of the art, four feeders on a pole
Luring all the birds from my garden
It was my finches and robins they stole
I was unable to sleep at the shock
Worried almost out of...
Friday 12th June 2020 11:22 am
We hang around like statues
At McDonalds and Ikea
We wait in line for haircuts
Or to grab a pint of beer
We stand apart together
Following the six foot rule
We can gather for a shopping trip
But not to go to school
We spy upon our neighbours
And complain at barbeques
We daren’t go too far from the house
Because of lack of loos
We wear a m...
Wednesday 10th June 2020 12:41 pm
The challenges of the jungle, have stood you in good stead
little did you know back then, a greater battle lay ahead
As a celebrity in the jungle, your personality shone through
supported by your lovely family, justifiably, so proud of you.
The interview this morning, so touching, presented in your style
despite the pain and suffering, you still managed to raise a ...
Friday 5th June 2020 3:25 pm
It Rained Today
It rained today
Breaking the strangling heat
But it wasn’t a cleansing rain
It didn’t dilute the colour of our skin
Or wash away the blood on our streets
It just soaked
The lonely man erecting barricades
So that McCars could McQueue for McBurgers
As consumerism kicked back in
And the deluge began
The air felt clearer though
Wednesday 3rd June 2020 12:03 pm
No ticket stress, no queueing at the gate or arena door
A concert like no other we have ever attended before
The front row of my kitchen, sat in my favourite chair
Glass of wine, singing loud, waving my arms in the air
Take that, reunited, straight from their home into mine
The Greatest Day of lock down, together they did Shine
Vintage Mark, up his ladder, in his garage full...
Monday 1st June 2020 9:06 am
A 20:20 Vision
On the one hand, it’s thumbs up for this lock down,
For hand on heart, I prefer a gentler town.
We’ve lost our human contacts, now back in touch,
A world for reaching out, with more time and much
Space for taking and for making stock.
We knead our dough, and minds unlock,
And saws are sharpened in this time of rest,
When breath and nature seem to teach ...
Friday 29th May 2020 4:22 pm
She filled her boots when
Panic buying was the vogue her
Bulk brushing rivals aside
Toilet rolls were the
Least of it
Catering packs of SPAM enough
Condensed milk for an army platoon, boxes of candles and
Assorted biscuits filled the loft her
Bathroom plastered with paracetamol cough
Linctus and mouthwash but above all
Valium for honed to a
Tee by loneliness
Thursday 28th May 2020 11:39 am
Rooted and grown from a seed planted long ago,
hidden away, buried down deep in the soil below
Under the cover darkness, black as a moonless night,
emerge tiny green shoots, enticed by the warm sunlight
Leaves gradually uncurling, flatten, gentle and slow,
veined, green, vital organs, enable the plant to grow
Stems growing up straight, sturdy, strong and tall,
Tuesday 26th May 2020 8:03 pm
Hooray, the bank holiday is here at last
Like no other we have endured in the past
No fairground rides, no trips to the zoo
No standing in line in a never ending queue
No party in the park, no festival by the sea
No soggy picnic or polystyrene cups of tea
No melted ice cream, no fish and chips
No worrying about a lifetime on those hips
No steam train journeys, no rides on t...
Saturday 23rd May 2020 12:01 pm
I long to be in Turkey
It seems so out of reach
Just to paddle in the ocean
And stroll along the beach
I long to be in Turkey
It is my favourite place
The sun is always shining
Love to feel it on my face
I wish to be in Turkey
I feel so out of touch
Delighting all my senses
I miss the food so much
I wish to be in Turkey
How long will it be?
Wednesday 20th May 2020 11:11 am
a haphazard weaving
of unclear intention
the drone of annoyance
the beating of
full spectrum wings
of attempt after attempt
to get through the glass
of the window
and reach the free domain
of the out there
Tuesday 19th May 2020 4:07 pm
I don't know Harry,
This one's a rare bird and
Just how did he get in and
Where are his papers?
If he's an asylum-seeker, what is it he's
As a rule that lot keep their heads down but this one's
Roaming the country
In broad daylight
As if he owned the place
Flouting the lock-down rules too and
Costing the tax-payer a fortune.
Tell me this ...
Monday 18th May 2020 11:07 am
The World in Lockdown People's Poem is now online and free to read at:
Please give it a read!
Saturday 16th May 2020 6:57 pm
You didn't argue with him
Registrars quailed and more than one
Seasoned sister had fled in tears while
He was loaded, a
Private practice financing
Mansion, country cottage, horses, boat
All the trappings
A pretty if fading wife who'd put up
With a lot.
He was in his prime.
Then that bloody virus hit and he was
King no more
Elective surgery on hold
The normal ...
Friday 15th May 2020 11:44 am
Heroes In Blue
Unprecedented times, the like never seen before
This pandemic has shaken us all to our very core
A whirlwind ripping through our cities and towns
The evil coronavirus wearing its invisible crown
It does not care if you are rich or poor
A Royal, a minister or the boy next door
No matter what age, wealth, colour or creed
Affecting us all, and with devastat...
Thursday 14th May 2020 1:58 pm
Help control the virus on our decent down the peak
Stay alert, the new normal, the keywords of the week
Anticipation grew around the map of our pathway out
confusing news filled us all with disappointing doubt
To mask or not to mask? now there lies a question
still debatable if they provide any medical protection
Return to work when able, keeping a two metre distan...
Thursday 14th May 2020 1:56 pm
What shall we do when this time has passed?
And from lockdown we'll be free at last.
We'll leave our homes and go outside
To roam all the towns or countryside.
We'll join our families and all our friends,
And this time there'll surely be no ends.
And our freedom we'll appreciate,
And each day will feel great.
We'll eat and drink in our favourite pubs,
And meet all member of our clubs,
Wednesday 13th May 2020 5:36 pm
Audio reading: https://soundcloud.com/tomalexwrite/renee-by-a-thread
Down the corridor, comes a scream
Was it physical pain
or the horror of finally learning
the way this game is turning
They took your clothes
gave you a gown
there was nothing to do but lay right down
Now, the machine breathes
hung by a thread and leaving soon
Faint flashes behind tired eyelids
Tuesday 5th May 2020 4:53 pm
Wirral poets Barry Woods and Michelle Wright are curating a people's poem during the UK lockdown period. The poem is, at present, ten pages long and will be launched online on May 11th.
Friday 24th April 2020 10:39 pm
Blue thy name blue thou cosmos
Guide you’ve been, how shall I be?
Locked in solitude I miss thee
Self introspection and I see
The laughing element inside me.
Dear Goddess, Mercy!
Bless me divinity and everything fancy.
Dear Goddess, Mercy!
The Eden is full of flowers yellow and red
The trees bear fruits that God had said
Beyond the world some place unknown
Wednesday 22nd April 2020 8:28 pm
नीला नाम तेरा नीली तेरी खुदाई
रहबर तू मेरा सहे कोई कैसे जुदाई
एक कमरे में बंद न तेरे नाम की महफ़िल
मैं झाँकू खुद में ही हो रही मेरी हसाई…
खुदाया खैर! खुदाया खैर!
मुझे बता कब होगी नयी सहर!
खुदाया खैर! खुदाया खैर!
सब्ज़ बाग़ है फूल खिले पीले पीले
दरख्तों की शाख पर फल रंगीले रसीले
बंद खिड़कियों के पीछे हूँ जैसे क़ैदी कोई
ज़िन्दगी खूब है लेकिन वक़्त के नश्तर नुकीले…
Wednesday 22nd April 2020 5:30 pm
Strictly Bin Dancing
[People are dressing up in ball gowns and tiaras to take their bins out
An Australian woman has started a new trend online during the coronavirus lockdown, which sees people dressing up in extravagant outfits to put their rubbish out – source: Mirror 4/4/20]
She waltzes across the patio
In her Christian Dior-like dress
She’s picked up the rubbish in el...
Tuesday 7th April 2020 12:43 pm
I start the day with little to no inspiration
Much like everyone else in the world
I also start this poem
With the repetitive voice of exasperation
The sirens are blazing late tonight
As souls are being set on fire
But because of some peoples' perseverence
Loved ones' bodies are also being set alight
Recreational parks are not essential
Travelling out of the wa...
Monday 6th April 2020 10:30 pm
I accept that they may feel lonely
The constant reminder from the media that they are isolated
Alone in their puddle of thoughts
Suddenly drowning in their echoes of silence
Against all odds I am managing just fine
A stream of thoughts flowing all day
Nothing to block my mind from floating away
Not today, anyway
My thoughts are not all positive
I am unbalanced ...
Sunday 5th April 2020 7:52 pm
Dreading the task of a thousand spots
Lost worlds now more than just regrets or soiled paths not taken
Walking through life with coke, crack, and endless possibilities.
In the amber of panic a book of hauntology is born
The biggest April fools prank ever
Miniature portraits of a poetic diaspora under curfew still deliver haunting lines
Gaining a better view at the edge of the world
Friday 3rd April 2020 1:48 pm