The Worst Year after Eavan Boland
By: Eithne Cullen
About The Poem
In the worst hours of the worst year
of covid terror, dread and rage
we stepped into the evening to
applaud the heroes, curse the fools.
A woman bore a child no grandparent
could hold…but held a little later
in the joy and pride she brought
smiles mocking the adult world of fear.
On the ward, the therapist sweated
behind the plastic of her masks
teenage acne came to mock her efforts
no matter how she sanitised.
A group of women cut up sheets
to sew them up again as bags
for washing scrubs, laudable efforts
practical aptitude to give.
In hospitals, on ventilators, masked
and reaching out to touch or not
and know the loss of those loved ones
meant nothing on a slide showing a graph.
And those deaths have no noble stature
the numbers never show the love
of parent, child or lover pressed up
to the glass, to see a loved one pass.
Outside the funeral parlour, two figures
stand –supernumerary mourners
who can only guess the words spoken
inside feeling bitter cold of segregation.
And though the worst hour seemed unending
:goslings blocked our path and bluebells
carpeted the floor where we walked
and fears grew less as lockdown eased.Return To Map
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