In these days of pandemic, I no longer
rely on friends or the kindness of strangers.
I take my daily walk alone, plodded laps
around the football pitch, no cheers or claps,
while spectral goalposts lean towards each other
longing for the raucous fuss and bother
of a game. I stop to admire silver petals,
daisies straddling the green-grey tangles
of seeding grasses like starfish adrift
in patches of light and shadow that shift
with clouds. Birdsong flickers and chirrs,
a ghostly music box that opens in a whirr
of wings. Bees hum in and out of May
blossom, kindly pollinating on their way.
After this extended half-time when the game
is resumed, will the kindness stay the same?
Kim M. Russell, 19th May 2020
My response to earthweal weekly challenge: Vast Particulars
Brendan’s challenge this week has been sparked by the thought of ‘early and earlier big and bigger storms’ heralding summer. He says the ‘oceans are heating faster than the land, and our annual columnar proof comes swirling, vast, and fraught with increasing peril’.
With the pandemic taking ‘the focus off the greater change in the Earth’s climate’, Brendan asks us to illustrate the changing tenor of the time with a snapshot or observation or tale which is both vast and particular. Do vast particulars – global yet local, earth-sensitive yet human-driven, pandemically reeling a decades-long unfolding—document the news of the moment? What new tensions are revealing themselves? If pandemic is the astringent which is fast clearing away the niceties and collective givens we call human, what vast particulars reveal homo sapiens behind its peeling mask?
I drafter this poem in the hour-long Shut Up and Write on-line workshop this afternoon, which is run by the Norfolk Library and Information Service in conjunction with the American Library (at The Forum in Norwich).