Lockdown poetry please

There’s been a bit of a mixed reaction to Boris Johnson’s televised speech yesterday evening on what happens next in the country’s fight against coronavirus.

And when I say ‘the country’, I mean England. The other three nations that make up the UK have already decided to stick to the ‘stay at home’ message, fearing it’s too soon to dismantle the lockdown and maintaining that the ‘stay alert’ slogan adopted by our government is confusing.

The prime minister’s speech was a bit of an anticlimax for some and lacking in clarity for many others. On Facebook last night, this meme fell into my lap:

Lines from Prefab Sprout’s classic song King of Rock ‘N’ Roll. Perfect. The new slogans make just about as much sense as this wonderful lyric.

Any road up, it got me thinking about words, their meanings and turning things into catchy sound bites. There must be a whole team working on that at Number 10. Or perhaps not.

With that in mind, I had an idea. It’s about time the village had its own Lockdown Poem. A few years ago, with the help of performance poet Matt Harvey, the village came up with The Ode To The White Lion when our pub was shut and we wanted it back.

Here are two of my favourite lines:

The White Lion lives with my husband under the kitchen table

A warm glass of Chardonnay from a fridge too far

A few years later, we had the Village Poem, written for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, which summed up how we all felt about the place where we lived.

Here’s two sample lines from that poem:

Friends on our doorstep, people you can rely on for support

There is often some fog, and there is often some mist

The thing that linked both of these poems was that residents were asked to each come up with two lines, which were melded together to create the whole.

The lines didn’t need to rhyme or, like the Prefab Sprout lyrics, make sense. So I’m now looking for local readers to submit up to two lines each to sum up your lockdown life in this village.

Your lines could be about things we miss during this crisis or that which is keeping us going. Or strange or joyous happenings. Your lines can be as sad, funny, banal or interesting as you like. The lines won’t be attributed to individuals so you can say what you like, within the confines of decency and taste.

All I ask is that you send them to me, either by email or direct message me via my Maddie Grigg Facebook page so I can put them together into a poem.

And then, when this is all over, as well as a playlist curated by you from the requests from our one o’clock Sound of Music Through The Square Window, we’ll have the Lockdown Poem to entertain us at our village party.

That’s about it.

Love Maddie x

By Maddie Grigg

Maddie Grigg is the pen name of former local newspaper editor Margery Hookings. Expect reflections on rural life, community, landscape, underdogs, heritage and folklore. And fun.

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