Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Where's His Mask?

Lockdown came to an end along with the shielding period in which I had been looking after my son, but I think the highly infectious nature of this illness had (and for good reason because it swept the entire planet so quickly) given us all a real shock and scare. Unfortunately, some elements of dissemination decided to use this to their advantage such that disinformation (and that from often hitherto reputable source) stoked our fear and concern right through the summer and into the autumn.

We'd already been through the mill with Brexit but now Coronavirus was knocking us from step as well, building on uncertainty and the kind of division wrought by those in whose interest the continuation of such state of affairs chiefly rests; in the end, as I had learnt first hand by being put through the wringer myself, it comes down to lies and truth. If the individual, the state, whole countries and the world tread the path of Error, we are all in the fug and fog of ignorance forever. 

What we should do now (but won't) is be honest, for in that verity rests the legitimacy of all our relationships from encounters in shops as per below to diplomacy and dealings at the very height of government; of course, I'm a writer not a politician and in this manner of thinking I always have in mind Edmund Blackadder's resolution not to dabble ever again in a field whose nefariousness often precludes any notion of Truth from its consideration! This is Where's His Mask?...

One bright autumnal afternoon
I wandered into town,
My destination Marks and Spencer,
Jewel this High Street's crown.

I strolled on through the entrance
Then ambled up one aisle,
Approaching me a friendly couple
Ready with a smile.

‘Where’s his f**ing mask!?’
The man yelled, quite to my surprise,
Right in his poor wife’s face,
I saw the tiredness in her eyes.

He wasn’t always like this,
She said in silent throw,
Brexit and Coronavirus
Make his temper grow

In bygone days we used to laugh
And play and have good fun,
But now a pall of gloom
Hangs over us and everyone.

That’s fine, I said, responding dumb,
In actual fact I am
Exempt, for asthma makes me
Feel like suffocated lamb.

Panicked when I put the mask on
That I may no longer breathe,
I’m sorry that your husband
Couldn’t know that in his seethe

Walking on, I saw three ladies
Queuing up to pay,
One of the assistants with mask 
Off, to their dismay.

(It loosely hung her mouth
So she might speak with clarity
To customer she served
In simple act of charity).

‘If she doesn’t put that on…’
Growled one of those who waited,
I didn’t stop to hear the rest
Of her aggression hated.

Instead I thought upon these two
And on the wider scene,
A country flung unto the dogs
Once pleasant and serene.

Intolerance, hypocrisy,
Myopic self-regard,
Throwing mud upon each other
Harmony quite jarred.

It wasn’t meant to be like this,
Not after World War Two,
Liberalism in ascendance,
Guiding me and you.

Unfortunately History
Was gobbled up too soon
By men and women, twisted, so
They whistled out of tune;

Who liked to bark at others
Before they even stopped
To put in order their own house
So Truth might them adopt.

The truth to first look deep within
Recess of our own mind,
Locate those ugly aspects
Which do urge us act unkind,

The truth to spot within ourselves
The faults we spy in others,
Mercy by that heel, forgiveness,
This day’s long lost brothers

Exiled from our pitiless
Environment, astray;
We find ourselves now trapped
By genius of yesterday: 

Great minds obsessed with nihilism,
Tendency absurd,
Belief in nothing, even death,
Though its knell still is heard.

That’s why we fear Coronavirus
Out of all proportion,
It peaked on April 8th
But panic first felt feeds distortion:

How dare this virus have 
The bald temerity elude
All our efforts to control it,
Plate it for our food.

It’s century twenty-first,
We own the planet Earth,
We’re in charge of everything
Including Nature’s birth.

We control the climate,
We control the weather,
We control the sun and moon,
Directing paths together.

We can do what we please
We suffer no ill ease,
Our birth right is the luxury
Of never bending our knees...

Well, such thought has put us
In a rather sticky bind,
Such broad view of emancipation
Odds with its behind

For in that draught the nightly news
Reminds us of the pain,
Cold misery and hardship
Utterance its one refrain.

Opposite realities thus
Twangle with us all,
Everyone owns liberty
Though everyone’s in thrall.

Everyone is having such
A whale of a time,
Whilst everyone is beached
Upon the shores this wretched clime.

It’s dissonance indeed,
It does our heads right in,
It doesn’t even matter when it
Started to begin,

We’re stuck, we’re stuck and grimly look
Upon the other side,
Resentful of a referendum
Ripping through our tide;

Watching he who called it
Disappearing with a whistle,
Leaders should look after us,
Not leave us chewy gristle!

Even now, when we obey
Instruction from above,
We’re made to feel worthless
By the simple lack of love

So clearly shown when breaking rules
To visit other people,
Testing out bad eyesight
Such chicanery does steeple

Because it’s practiced by those
In authority who should
Set example to us,
Be our guide through darkened wood.

Instead they leave us bare, exposed to
Perils of the night,
First of which, confusion,
Gives us sense of massive fright.

That’s why the two of them,
My new found friends in Marks and Sparks
Were so irate with others
That they bit and with their barks

Cemented atmosphere of terror,
Fear that any threat
Might take them from a world
We’ve been conditioned owes us debt.

And so I headed back from town,
Gold autumn still in splendour,
Resumed my work, determined
Be less angry, far more tender

As that poor lady who was tired
Her raging, irate fellow,
Now I offer up a prayer
That he, and I, may mellow.