Despite the lockdown
the cherry tree blooms.
Bubble gum beneath party blue.
A pink so loud it bursts
the new quiet.
Bird song augments
the eerie un-hum
of engineless streets and skies.
Our air soon as clean as
every fingerbreadth of our houses,
every spidered nook remembered
in the wake of hollowed time.
We suck in spring through open doors,
rooms like winter flesh exposed.
Hear a neighbour whisper wildlife
is moving in where we are not.
A herd of deer in the town centre
strut around like nervous youths.
How quickly nature takes over
when we’re caged up.
Walls inch closer by the hour.
One walk a day. We pass our local
(now a corner shop), the queue
for allotment vegetables, backyard eggs and ale
winds round the pub car park
and down the street towards the woods.
Three-dimensional humans! We bask
in the gift of momentary connection.
Pictures of rainbows
stuck to street-facing windows
all the colours of isolation
arch in gratitude towards new heroes,
those behind-the-scenes saviours we hope
catch the applause thrown every Thursday,
that drowns out rivers, shakes the five valleys
from their green and daisy slumber.
I lie in the grass of The Heavens,
follow the branching pathlets
of an ancient oak and ask:
who am I without deadlines,
without somewhere else to be?
I learn new words like furloughed,
write lists I won’t take with me
(no flour, no red split lentils, no IVF),
begin to learn to let go as I stare
down the barrel of an empty diary.
Cherry blossom starts to fall
and the death toll rises
with waves of the warming sea.
I count the minutia of blessings:
the blood-deep burgundy of our Japanese maple,
the haptic wonder of waxen leaf between thumb and finger.
A path of sunlight that falls beneath the piano,
disrupted by my husband’s shadow. The sparrows,
that dart from eave to garden, then back again.
The smell of morning coffee.
What of this slow down,
if I could choose,
would I dare take with me?