Reflections from a home front: 14
It feels like it’s been a tough week. Nearly everyone I spoke to seemed to have run into a slough of despond.
Locking down was relatively easy: clear the desk, take your belongings, get out, quick as you can. Returning to the world, a very different world, looks much, much harder. And it’s still a return in the teeth of lockdown. And now we’re really feeling the edge of those teeth. Even if we began with can-do confidence, quarantine fatigue is quite evidently setting in. As is language fatigue, with words like unprecedented on overtime. In the words of Chekov, “Any idiot can face a crisis – it’s day to day living that wears you out.”
Right, I thought. This week, I’ll write something that’s simply fun and diverting. I even adopted a galloping dactyllic metre in an effort to keep things upbeat.  But poems have a way of writing themselves, and, well, things didn’t go quite according to plan. But it’s not without its lighter moments. As ever, you can click to hear it or scroll down to read.
Work was never this homely.
And home never worked to such cost.
With virtual school
And summits on Zoom
And sing-ins and workouts
All jammed in one room,
Our boundaries were never so crossed.
Our larders were never so laden.
(Shelves in Waitrose were never so bare.)
Our loaves are so various!
(Though our sourdough’s precarious.)
It’s like the Great Bake Off
Though not so vicarious –
We’ve all got a cake to compère.
Our street was never this silent.
The silence was never so loud.
The larks and the warblers
Are thronging the borders,
The lawn has been trashed
By some feathered marauders,
And ospreys patrol round the pond.
Our dreams were never so real.
Reality never this tough.
Life leaves us reeling
And there’s no concealing
That words can’t convey
The freight of our feeling
And never is never enough.
The screen stares back. It is empty.
The speakers are mute. Not a sound.
But a note or a glide
Like a cell deep inside,
Like the song of the outermost
Star as it died,
Will ever forever surround
Till ever in never is found.
1. Dactyllic metre – dum-di-di, dum-di-di. In contrast to the more usual, iambic – di-dum, di-dum.
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