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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.

The hungover pubs

all crying in cellars,

chairs perched on tables,

the soughing pop tunes mum.


The countryside neglected,

woolly sheep dishevelled,

salad crops rotting,

roadside refuse spreading.

Holiday homes sit sulking

and sullen ghosts of bridegrooms

gather in village churchyards

to mourn abandoned weddings.


Never again such jollity,

such weaving around the maypoles.

The festival sound-systems brooding,

the fairground rides in rust.

The gardens kept immaculate

to no chink of teacups.

No more hugs and kisses.

Never again such trust.

Lockdowncovid-192020Phillip Larkin

◄ The second peak

Blue and Gold ►


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John Coopey

Sun 24th Oct 2021 08:59

I remember reading Spike Milligan saying that although it was the most dreadful time for many, the Second World War years were the best of his life, I too have a guilty memories of enjoying the isolation, the empty roads for cycling, the community spirit of those early months, the appreciation for the NHS and carers.

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Greg Freeman

Fri 22nd Oct 2021 09:56

Well, something is needed to change British society, that's for sure. I wonder if this is it. Went to a writers's group last night, sitting fairly close together, no one wearing masks. Felt uneasy ... due for my booster jab in a week's time.

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Tim Ellis

Fri 22nd Oct 2021 09:48

Thanks MC and Greg. The poem, like the one I posted onWednesday, is from 2020. I wrote it at the height of the first lockdown so it may have passed its “use by” date now. It’s adapted from Larkin’s poem MCMXIV (1914) which was about how WW1 changed British society forever. I think the covid pandemic will have a similar historical impact on society. Some changes will be for the better, others for worse.

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M.C. Newberry

Thu 21st Oct 2021 15:12

Perhaps we should think of these strange times as our modern
version of The Great Depression and remember that bad times
never last. The only constant in life is change!

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Greg Freeman

Thu 21st Oct 2021 13:39

I hear what you're saying, Tim. But come on, cheer up ... the government is planning a festival of creativity next year!

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