ONE GOOD REASON TO REMAIN IN LOCKDOWN
(inspired by Colum McCann’s ‘Apeirogon’)
It is safer to stay still.
Migrating birds are often killed
by everyday obstacles.
Such as steel pylons, the chill
of unexpected snowfall.
Crops that either rot or fail.
Sandstorms. Occasional oil-spills.
Poison. Overflowing drains.
A jagged, rusty nail.
All reasons why it’s wiser to remain
like the blackbird, starling, sparrow,
birds that rise and dip,
gorge and peck their fill
among the trees that grow
just beyond the space where I write,
outside the window-sill.
HER LIFE IN QUARANTINE
she welcomed round
departed friends and relatives
who arrived with gifts
of small talk
following a short walk
from the local graveyard.
They all agreed that life was hard
remaining in one place
with no prospect of escape
from the boundaries of the village,
until one corpse (long still) declared
‘I never went anywhere
during all my time above ground.
Not even a quick spin around
the borders of the island.’
And so he failed to understand
the whole sad substance of her complaint,
as all his days of life and death he’d suffered
a similar confinement and restraint.