Quiet Tights and Masks

After a summer of bare legs in sunshine,
I looked forward to a winter woollen-
warm with tights, 120 denier thick,
soft to touch and clinging to my skin.

I ordered an array of face masks, stylish,
colourful statements of my Covid fashion,
but tights and masks remained unworn.
I was required to stay indoors,

invisible to all and sundry,
in pyjamas from Monday to Sunday,
watching the garden for deer and birds,
the sun burn and the world turn.

It’s spring again, honeysuckle greens
outside, tights and masks remain unseen,
and when I got my immunisation,
no one paid attention to my Covid fashion.

Kim M. Russell, 1st March 2021

My response to earthweal weekly challenge: The Unsayable

Brendan says that, as the global COVID pandemic ‘grinds on into its second year’ he finds it remarkable that ‘for all its deadly impact on human health and harsh effect on the world’s economies, we arrive at this moment largely blind and silent about the pandemic’s presence in our lives’.

He wonders if it will become invisible, like the Spanish Flu epidemic and quotes Helen Lewis, who wondered about the lack of defining COVID images. I agree that we ‘need photographs of this pandemic because we need to remember it collectively’.

Brendan says that the pandemic is ‘one of many great challenges for poets these days as we try to articulate the momentousness of what is happening all around us and in our very bodies’ and that poetry is ‘valuable for this moment because it has descriptive gears for the unsayable’, which ‘begins with an ill-defined, unlocated, peripheral entity we usually call “it” which slowly defines itself as door then room then altar then chalice filled with an unsayable potency the words can yet calibrate as drunkenness or wonder or grief’.

Brendan shares as an example the title poem from Sherod Santos’ 2003 collection ‘The Perishing’, which really spoke to me, as did these words from Helen Lewis: ‘the monotony of another day in jeans and socks as a wardrobe full of clothes hangs idle, with no parties or conferences to attend’, which inspired my poem.

21 thoughts on “Quiet Tights and Masks

  1. I live in sweats, pjs, and leggings. I did that before, but I did dress up sometimes because we went to shows, restaurants, and other outings. Now, my Covid hair is kept in a braid, and the few times I have gone to doctors’ appointments or a few places where we could socialize outdoors when the weather was better, I have no idea what to wear.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I have that closet full of unworn clothes too. My last pair of jeans will last me the rest of my life, at this rate. Smiles. I definitely resonated with your poem.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Well done for losing the kilos, Kim. I’ve lost some weight too and looking forward to wondering my favourite clothes again. Sod it! I’m going to get dressed up this afternoon for a Young Readers session on-line!

      Liked by 2 people

  3. That day indoors and inwards, how vast it has become. Both tights and masks are for fending and outdoor weather and conditions which remained outdoors and thus useless in a time of lockdown. I wonder how this poem will age in the years to come, what it will help us to see about what it was we endured. Exactly what is called for with the challenge — great reply! – Brendan

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I liked the lighthearted approach to a serious subject: ‘invisible to all and sundry,
    in pyjamas from Monday to Sunday’ – I got a bit too comfortable with this setup, I’m afraid. My husband complains when I’m still in my pyjamas at lunchtime! It is kind of nice to head back out, even if no-one appreciates my covid fashion either…

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I can relate to your words. I look at my closet and sigh as I see clothes I haven’t worn in over a year. My outings are to the doctor mostly and she doesn’t care what I wear.
    I like the way your poem implies a deeper seriousness, a tragedy really – yet maintains a humorous tone.

    Liked by 2 people

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