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.