By: Oliver Comins
About The Poem
The peculiar intensity of lockdown, in the early days especially, was bewildering in many respects for many of us – but also served to highlight how helpless we can be when faced with other forms of change.
Normally, this would be late morning,
the door having closed behind each of us
at our appointed moment for departure.
Instead, the same time is early nowadays.
The sound of traffic is sparse and remote
in this space where two rows of houses
back onto themselves, but the gardens
appear to be full of small birds singing.
A hundred metres west of where I sit
some neighbours from a block of flats
are exercising together, filling the time
they would otherwise spend commuting
with balancing, stretching and breathing.
“Three, two, one,” their leader calls out,
trying not to miss his locked-down gym,
those idle machines no-one can touch.
My neighbour’s carer has breakfast ready.
I heard the kettle boil, the noise of a table
being laid, and now they have to negotiate
seating arrangements. This is taking place
in one of the rooms where my neighbour
has lived for half a lifetime. She will never
have taken the house for granted, but now
some parts of it are completely unfamiliar.
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