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Restore The Song

By: Esther Wangui

About The Poem

In March 2020, I was forced to leave a shared space in order to self isolate as an identified clinically vulnerable person. I lived in a hostel while searching for a home and not in a rush. In April, I left the hostel and still enjoy my freedom, the space to dance and work from home. But travelling to Africa to see my children was on hold as eyes expected millions to die in that continent, freezing airlines. Differing lockdowns ran into December; I had to escape, forgetting my Fostair asthma pump in London. Tests and restrictions of receiving country meant I could not go anywhere but home for fourteen anxious days and then it was time to run back to London, just before Christmas. This ‘thing’ stole my hugs, my confidence to enjoy some sun and goat ribs barbeque, with kids running under skirts to hide from more food from gran. Just before Christmas, I stood for three hours at Heathrow, not even half-a-meter apart from untested travellers entering the UK. Covid re-ignited the fire within. I had kept the ‘law’ only to be re-exposed to this thing. And although England has introduced mandatory testing for all travellers coming in from everywhere in the world, I am still not keen on one rule for me and the next rule for some civil servants who can see their children or parents while I miss both and watch party goers threaten my Passover. Spring is coming, what will the trees say if I don’t smell their cheer?

The Poem

Restore the song of commonality
Restore the song of commonality
Once created by the hope of living
Now succumbing to dreary blue sieves
Draped over lips of kids and grandparents
Seeking shelter from this war
Bound to make us squeaky toys
Eradicate our strength and joy
the resilient voice of naked Britain
the faith of the South Eastern heart.

What gave I, will fear then take?
When said I be brave, creatively live
Didn’t mean sell eyes to microscopes
Burn the candle at daylight
Set alarms to freeze up days
That Spring should not come
Because we fear the scare
But that you, still fights to speak
For in you; the land, the mass, the breath
Stolen hope will resurrect.

A future jab we hear broadcast
Staged up high like games’ score machines
Numbers noisily jump to change our hearts’ delight
Melancholy is birthed and our smile is stained
By the tasteless coffee picked in defiance
Somewhere far from Postcode World
We quietly queue and avoid each other
For drab to change its honking mind
The record cases to keep dead, so we
can restore the song our common vision wrote.

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