Poems for Lockdown

By | May 22, 2020
This Post was the response to a request for poems from the Web Team, in early May 2020 (during the coronavirus lockdown),  for members to read on our U3A Website.  The result below is an eclectic mix penned by known poets and by our own talented U3A members. Many, many thanks to all contributors.
Please note – This particular post is now complete.  But members are always welcome to send in contributions for publication on the website  sharing their many and varied literary and artistic talents eg poems, stories, paintings, cartoons etc to:


For starters, here are a couple of recent and relevant poems from the website of Alexander McCall Smith (a favourite author of the Web Editor of this Post):

In a Time of Distance

Those who care



Now a very clever adaptation from a well-known poem brought to us by one of our own members – Trustee, Sue Watkinson

Spring Fever 

(With apologies to John Masefield)

I must go up to the hills again
To the blue of the Cumberland sky;
And all I ask is a windproof coat
And my boots to carry me by.
When the wind, whipping round Bowness Pier,
Sets the Kayaks shaking
And the plume of spray from the speedboat’s turn
Starts the yacht’s masts quaking

I must go up to the hills again,
To the shores of Wastwater wild.
From Striding Edge to Bassenthwaite Lake
And the scree on Helvellyn’s side.
Where the red deer roam over valley and fell,
With the skylarks singing:
Where the air is clear as the mountain stream
And my heart is ringing

I must go up to the hills again
When the bracken shoots unfurl
When the sunlit gold of the daffodil hosts
Sets my senses in a whirl.
Where man is a speck on the landscape’s face,
No more than the goose or plover.
The hills will remain when he’s gone back home
With his journey over.

Sue Watkinson


And the original (for those who did not learn this by heart at school).  It’s an old favourite of the Post Editor.

Sea Fever

BY JOHN MASEFIELD

I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by;
And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea’s face, and a grey dawn breaking.

I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.

I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull’s way and the whale’s way where the wind’s like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick’s over.



Here are four poems from multi-talented member, Judy Ingman. Many of us have been walking the dog, or just walking, in the local countryside during our lockdown exercise hour, appreciating and finding peace in nature.  The current season differs from that painted in Judy’s first 3 poems, but the sentiments are appropriate to our current times. The 4th poem is very different but so relevant too with many of us learning new skills and ways of communicating.

Reflective Winter Walks

Winter walks are where poems are born,
Trees standing leafless all forlorn
Boughs stretching out to the glaring sun
Please let Spring hurry up and come
Blossoms and leaves to cover our grey
Hastening our world to a brightening day.

Spring births colours of every hue
Warming the hearts of me and you,
Yet in this frosty world where birds’ songs ring
We have time to reflect on everything.
For loved ones lost who are always missed
This bare landscape is still sun kissed.

They’ve left their love to keep us strong
Whatever the season we’ll always belong
Winter’s ice or summer’s heat
Autumn’s de -leafing Spring’s flowering treat
In our Worldly place we all play our part
And we’re held tight and warm in our Planet’s heart.

Judy Ingman Jan. 2017


Winters Peace

Walking the fields warmed by the sun
Breathing in fresh Winter air
Frosted grass beneath my feet
Feelings freed from human Care
Fields stretched out across the day
Sun thawing frosted furrows to mud
Silvery hedgerows in Suns Rays gleaming
And Me feeling all this world is good.
Blessed dog for heralding this walk
Giving me this much needed release
From media news of unsolvable troubles
So I can bask in Winters’ Peace.

Judy Ingman Nov. 2016


The Snowdrop

What is this snowdrop? A flower of perfection
Leading us into a warmer direction
Taking us forward away from the snow
Away from the wind and the cold that will go.
As we see Spring colours starting to brighten
And the days grow longer in order to lighten
Projecting the warmth that will help us to cope
We will all move forward into seasons of hope.

Judy Ingman Jan. 2018.


The Techno Kid Rap

This started out as the lockdown rap
For Thursday nights when we all would clap.
But the Isolation went on and on
And social meetings were up and gone
And people like me had to be shut in. Drat drat!

 

Well this was something I began to hate
Really missed how to communicate
Up front with family and seeing best mate
I couldn’t let COVID just seal my fate.
So I sat me down and I thought and planned
Wonder if technology could lend me a hand.
I knew I could email and use my phone
My brain kept clicking like a dog with a bone

 

And then I thought with enthusiology
Praps I could turn to new technology
So without more ado I’m saying to you
I’m the techno Kid so howdy do do
I turned to the children who created an ap
And so began my techno kid rap
As days go by I’m on my pad
Or on my phone for good or bad.
Passing on news of a daily walk
Writing adventures in a different talk
More apps in my life are keeping me going
As all my days are to-ing and fro-ing
Techno techno boom boom boom
I’ve even taken part in a techno zoom.

 

When this is all over and it’s safe to meet
For a cup of tea and something to eat
Will I put down my phone and isolate my pad
Returning to a world that made me glad
Well, I’m not sure as I’ve lifted the lid
And may still want to be the Techno kid.

 

Judy Ingman 15.5. 2020
Sent from my iPad


A contemplative poem written by Pat Morton, who quite correctly feels “people might identify with it at the moment”.  Pat is Leader of the Film Appreciation Group,

The Hidden Enemy

Entombed in the house we have nowhere to go.

Hours pass with unwelcome thoughts.

No visits, no friends but maybe something to show

For chopping the strangling ivy at last!

Like the virus outside it has killed trees and flowers

And seems to have mysterious powers.

Its hungry vicious teeth have murdered

Mercilessly, as I whiled away the hours.

The flowering cherry blooms like snow

Be it spring or winter we have nowhere to go.

 

The white magnolia comes into flower.

The blue tits and sparrows flutter and feed.

Camellias blush with sun-filled power

Like joyful sentries, unaware

Of the battle going on with the evil foe

For the world has changed and there’s nowhere to go.

 

It selects indiscriminately the young and the old.

And those bravely working to help

And enfold us with care but we’re out in the cold

With no one to hold.    Face to face with ourselves

We find our weaknesses start to show.

And there’s no hiding place, nowhere to go.

 

In this crazy world, where to start?

Can something terrible bring something good?

We have learnt to stay two metres apart.

Out walking people cross the road.

Unclean! Distrust lies at our very heart.

Instead I watch the tulips bloom

Red, pink and blue. Aubrietia tumbles

Over stones, shyly glinting

Before my newly focussed eyes.

Nothing much matters in the face of this foe.

Maybe we will find a new place to go.

Pat Morton, April 2020



A thought-provoking poem from U3A member, David Gallagher, remembering  “a wonderfully relaxing holiday” of “many moons ago ”  at a time when holidays are not possible due to social isolation.

Branscombe

A perfect heaven with a view to the stars

A place always changing where nothing ever changes

The antiques dealer is not keen on Yorkshire Pride

He assures me that everything in the shop is old

But even he admits to have bought something new

That’s John for you.

A little of the world changes every day

The sun the moon and the stars

All illuminate the squirrel grey

The Look-Out Hotel is a hint of hope in a sea of confusion

A spark of light that cheers the soul

Many have passed through and more will pass this way..

Will we ever know their like again?

Will we ever again see the stranger on the shore?

The stranger is still searching, not finding , but being found

He believes the time is nigh for him to create a different sound.

David Gallagher



Writer of this cheering, forward-looking poem, U3A member, Margaret Hobson, says:

These were just some thoughts from when I was doing my daily walk and initially about out U3A at Aughton and Ormskirk but actually it is relevant to everyone whether part of an organisation or not.

Some thoughts while on a walk

To U3As one and all,

We’ll meet again in our regular hall,

And when we do we’ll cheer and say,

Yippee hip hip hooray.

 

We make new friends and we cherish the old,

The new are silver, the old are gold,

And the ones we’ve lost we remember too,

For the quirky things they used to do.

 

In these strange times we can’t go far,

But we can all wish upon a star,

That when we get back to what we do,

We can all have a hug – from me to you.

Margaret Hobson



Member Sylvia Shelmerdine drew our attention to this poem for children by poet John Drinkwater saying, “it is a delightful poem and so appropriate”.

 



This mystic poem by the Irish Poet, W B Yeats, has been sent in by member Adrienne Laughlin who says:

My favourite poem, and for those who like a little theatre with their poetry, please listen to the version on Youtube spoken by Tomas McEoin to the background of The Waterboys music. Magical!  Its on the Fisherman’s Blues album.

The Stolen Child by William Butler Yeats

Where dips the rocky highland
Of Sleuth Wood in the lake,
There lies a leafy island
Where flapping herons wake
The drowsy water rats;
There we’ve hid our faery vats,
Full of berrys
And of reddest stolen cherries.
Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world’s more full of weeping than
     you can understand.

 

Where the wave of moonlight glosses
The dim gray sands with light,
Far off by furthest Rosses
We foot it all the night,
Weaving olden dances
Mingling hands and mingling glances
Till the moon has taken flight;
To and fro we leap
And chase the frothy bubbles,
While the world is full of troubles
And anxious in its sleep.
Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world’s more full of weeping than
     you can understand.

 

Where the wandering water gushes
From the hills above Glen-Car,
In pools among the rushes
That scarce could bathe a star,
We seek for slumbering trout
And whispering in their ears
Give them unquiet dreams;
Leaning softly out
From ferns that drop their tears
Over the young streams.
Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world’s more full of weeping than
     you can understand.

 

Away with us he’s going,
The solemn-eyed:
He’ll hear no more the lowing
Of the calves on the warm hillside
Or the kettle on the hob
Sing peace into his breast,
Or see the brown mice bob
Round and round the oatmeal chest.
For he comes, the human child,
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world’s more full of weeping than
     he can understand.