Heartwarming poem posted on Write Out Loud and set to music strikes a chord

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An uplifting and comforting poem to help us through the coronavirus crisis and lockdown that was posted on Write Out Loud – and put to music as well – has struck a worldwide chord. ‘In the Time of Quiet’ by Philippa Atkin begins: “No one’s told the daffodils about the pause to Spring / And no one’s told the birds to roost and asked them not to sing / No one’s asked the lazy bee to cease his bumbling round / And no one’s stopped the bright green shoots emerging through the ground.”

Philippa told Write Out Loud that “there has been an incredible reaction to it. I have received contacts from France, Spain, Crete, Egypt, North America, Sydney, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Canada and South Africa, to name but a few. Almost every comment has stated that the poem is uplifting and by reminding people that nature prevails, they have been given hope. I can't tell you how amazing it feels to have touched so many people in this way by my few words.”

An indication of its popularity quickly emerged among the comments on Write Out Loud, including one from a funeral celebrant asking for permission to reproduce the words, and another from a school seeking the go-ahead to film teaching staff reciting it and to put the video on the school's Facebook page "for our children to watch while they are home learning". 

embedded image from entry 100723 Philippa, pictured, said that the poem “came to me all in a rush one morning. With the sun streaming in through the windows and nature carrying on regardless in spite of our human travails, the words just poured out of my head and stuck to the paper in a form I was pleased with. The fact that other people have been pleased too is beyond humbling.”

She added that musician and fellow Write Out Loud member Ian Ball had contacted her and asked for permission to turn her words into music. “I posted the song online with its accompanying video on Saturday evening and it has already been seen nearly 30,000 times - quite incredible! Ian has done an amazing job and again the song and video are lifting people's spirits and giving them hope.”

Philippa first placed the poem on her own Facebook page on 21 March, reminding people that “the last thing out of Pandora’s Box, was hope …”

She is aged 52, and lives in the Calder valley in West Yorkshire with her partner Dave and her dogs and horses. She is retired from a career in sales and marketing. “I have always written, but mainly just as a communication tool through my career … As for poetry, well I have loved that since I was very small, having been motivated and consoled in turns by the glorious words that so many fine writers have crafted. For me writing poetry has always just been a bit of a hobby and I've never really shared anything before, but I love the process. I love the music of words and the rhythms of language and I love to be able to distil a thought or a feeling into an elegant pattern of words.”

She added that she filled most of her time helping to run a women's social group called Luv'ly Lasses which she co-founded in 2018. “We have 200 members and until the lockdown we met once a week for a very diverse range of activities from learning the haka to African drumming. We are all connecting now through social media and staying cheerful through our mutual support.”

She said modestly of her poem: “It seems to be touching people at this time. I am under no illusion that it is a great piece of literature, but it does seem to have captured the zeitgeist.”

Here is Philippa’s poem in full:




by Philippa Atkin


No one’s told the daffodils about the pause to Spring

And no one’s told the birds to roost and asked them not to sing

No one’s asked the lazy bee to cease his bumbling round

And no one’s stopped the bright green shoots emerging through the ground

No one’s told the sap to rest, deep within the wood

And stop the sleepy trees from waking, wreathed about in bud

No one’s told the sky to douse its brightest shades of blue

And stop the scudding clouds from puffing headlong into view

No one’s asked the lambs to still the springs beneath their feet,

To stop their rapid rush and quell each joyful bleat

No one’s told the stream to halt its gurgle or its flow

And warned the playful breezes, not to gust and blow

No one’s asked the raindrops not to fall upon the earth

And fail to quench the soil in the season of rebirth


No one’s locked the sun down, or dimmed the shimmer of the moon

And even in the darkest night, the stars are still immune


Remember what you value, remember who is dear

Close the doors to danger and keep your family near

In the quiet all around us take the time to sit and stare

And wonder at the glory unfurling everywhere

Look towards the future, after the ordeal

And keep faith in Mother Nature’s power and will to heal




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Marie Inkpen

Sun 2nd Aug 2020 12:41

Sorry - I think this is a dreadful poem!
Cliched, patronising and unimaginative.

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Lee Franks

Wed 13th May 2020 17:10

This is stunning, what a beautiful piece which really made me think. Brilliant.

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Ian Whiteley

Mon 30th Mar 2020 23:25

I would urge folk to check out the song - the poem is beautiful and the tune is beautiful and together they are just fantastic ?

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Stephen Gospage

Mon 30th Mar 2020 15:43

I love this poem and I am glad it has touched the hearts of so many people. It has certainly touched mine. Many, many thanks.

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