Pandemic in Perspective – A New Normality?
By Chloe Morgan
This collection of poems was inspired by the current Coronavirus pandemic. These are just a few of the poems included in my final year portfolio for my creative writing module ‘Maps and Motors’. We had to write poetry, prose or a combination of both, linking them together in some way. Thus, I decided to use a consistent theme throughout my poetry and I chose the current pandemic since it was, and still is, extremely relevant. I thought it’d be interesting to write poems from a range of different perspectives, including an NHS worker, a university student and even the government. I have also used a number of forms of poetry; this selection includes free verse, prose, sestina and a Naani poem. Additionally, many of these poems include concrete poetry to convey meaning visually as well as verbally.
Please note: the content within this selection of poetry addresses sensitive issues, including but not limiting to references of: tragic current affairs, illness, death, assault, abandonment, hardship and poor mental health.
For the NHS
Sunrise screams; I force on my clothes
forlorn from last night’s late shift.
to kill when there’s a silent killer.
Toast between teeth as I
back and reality to back the door;
People preparing picnics like someone
Broke and abandoned, but
School students saved, but
we still suffer and struggle.
The world seems to have
It started to s l o w d o w n,
but now it’s speeding
up. It’s hard to tell, really.
Everyone’s losing it a little.
Trapped in the
It was somewhere.
Somewhere important, in fact.
the hustle and bustle halted.
rush hour no longer rushed.
Straight into that chair and
Dragging your body into bed and
sleeping deeply. Peacefully. Ready
for another busy day. Buzzing
for those evening meals, taking
to the table with many guests to forget
the day that had just happened, or
the one ahead. Having fun; full
to the brim with food, flopping
onto the sofa to watch
Friends or the footy.
is not important.
has been overused.
has been oversat on.
has been overslept in.
has been overeaten at.
has been overwatched,
waiting for an announcement
…that isn’t coming?
Attempting to (stay) alert
Guiding the lines that are given as guidelines.
Preparing to present to the public
the seriousness of the situation
without scaring them, but scaring them
into abiding by the rules because
the British public aren’t the best
at abiding by the rules.
They seem to presume that they
know best, but they don’t.
neither do we.
We have to be careful, however, with
what we say and
when we say it.
Whatever we say, we’re
Whatever we say, no one’s happy because
who is happy in the middle of a pandemic?
But that’s what people don’t remember;
that’s what people seem to forget.
We’re in the middle of a pandemic.
And no one knows what to do in a pandemic.
Not even us.
Remember, it is not over yet
Flicking through old photographs, trying to remember
when life was normal. But it is
strange because for some, it is normal now. It
is them meeting their families; going over
to each other’s houses; gatherings in gardens; not
acknowledging the danger they’re bringing to others. Yet
we watch our families in the photographs and wait till it is
time to see them. The long wait will be worth it.
Longing to hug grandma and grandad, but not
now because if we followed the others; if we went over
now we could kill them. And that’s enough to stop us, yet
not others – they do as they wish without a worry in the world, remember!
Every Thursday, we all clap for the carers to remember
all those risking their lives to saves ours. Yet,
the hypocrisy of those making their lives harder; not
only not following the rules, but knowingly so. It
is like the law doesn’t apply to them. Is
it that difficult to follow? When this is over
lock them up because a fine for manslaughter is not
enough for the diabolical damage they’ve done. It
is like the lady who was spat on and died. Belly Mujinga. Is
a fine sufficient for her murder? Lock them up and remember
what they’ve done because it is a matter of life and death. Yet,
their ignorance is bliss as long as they can go over
to hug their grandma and grandad, while mine no longer remember
my name. My grandad’s dementia makes not seeing him harder, yet
his vulnerability makes it a necessity to stay away. It
is important we are grateful for technology because talking over
the phone is bearable – imagine not at all! It is
important that we appreciate what we have got rather than not.
Now, stop for a moment and make sure you remember
that we can’t continue as normal. No, it’s not
“business as usual”, Boris. It’s actually abnormal. It is
a bloody pandemic and please remember that it
is not over yet. It is not over.
Remember, it is not over yet.
Six feet under
Babies born with umbilical cords – s t r e t c h e d – and stiff – acting as a barrier from the beast that lurks about – but not cut off as a kid – because it ensures they keep their distance. Adults ignore the rules – umbilical cords enforce them. Babies born with thin skin covering their mouths and noses – tied behind their ears – loose enough to breathe – but born with breathing problems.
Midwives in hazmat suits – jump back once the baby has been born – picked up by prosthetic arms – equal length to the umbilical cord. Prosthetic hands hold the baby away from the mother – she must wear a hazmat suit to hold her own baby – but she can’t – the pain has paralysed her.
Toddlers told to stay away from each other at nursery – like telling flies to stay away from the food on the table. Toddlers kept at home, so do not know how to talk – Teachers tell them off for being behind. Umbilical cords get in the way of their learning – standing six feet out of their stomachs – six feet away from succeeding. Fed through their umbilical cords from foetus to fatality – when the beast finally gets them – because it’s inevitable it will.
Children without a childhood – Adults without an adulthood – Life without a life – Then death. Six feet apart – six feet away – six feet always.
My name is Chloë Morgan and I have recently completed my undergraduate degree in English here at Loughborough. I only started writing poetry about a year and a half ago, in my second year, when I chose the creative writing module ‘Elephants and Engines’. Prior to this, I had always enjoyed writing stories, but poetry provided me with a new and exciting way of doing this. I decided to take a risk and submit some of my poetry for the coursework of this module. After receiving good marks and useful feedback for this, I started writing poetry more regularly and found it very useful for putting my emotions, thoughts and feelings onto paper. In March this year, I presented some of my poetry to an audience at LU Arts’ spoken word poetry event ‘Speech Bubble’. I am really thankful for the opportunity to take creativity writing modules in my degree because these enabled me to find my passion for poetry.
You can find out more about Chloe and her work and connect with her on LinkedIn.
The Limit showcases the creativity that exists within the student population, creating a sense of community.