Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Lockdown

On January 13th 2020, I returned home from a happy day spent in London and looked forward to a relaxing evening at home with my family; that night, I rose from bed more times than I could count to drink glass after glass of water, trying to slake a thirst which continued to raven right through the next morning and beyond. Over the next few days I developed a continuous cough, sweated through my shirts in the day and my bedsheets at night, and began to feel the worst I had done since I'd contracted influenza at university.

Matters did not improve, such that at one point my eyes felt like they were glued together and whenever I swallowed I thought my ears were going to explode with pain! I keep myself fit, but just trying to warm up left me rolling on the floor from breath and every time I tried to run I could hardly manage the movement. This was far from normal - like everyone, I get ill but whatever this sickness was it felt as though it was actively assaulting my system, my body, my very being. And the fatigue was so overwhelming that throughout February I would often have to take to my bed in effort to restore an energy which never replenished.

If this was Coronavirus then I had it from that initial date until we broke from school in March; when lockdown was instigated several days later, I felt the most relieved I had done in weeks and not just because I was feeling better again physically. But still, still the following months proved quite bizarre existence, totally abnormal for the whole population and noticeable, to the poet's mind at least, that superficially everyone seemed to be getting on with life yet beneath the waves we were all struggling in our own way and to different degree. 

And so, using my experience of mental illness and the lessons I had learnt through composing verse, one day I put together the following offering from the point of view of someone with fragile mental health (and of course there were thousands if not millions of us suffering so) who had to endure this frustrating, frightful and often isolating period, Lockdown 2020...

All around me I do see
People different to me,
They look happy and carefree,
They don’t face my enemy

For my foe is mental illness
And it robs me of my soul,
Loots my very being
To achieve its hateful goal

To isolate me to despair,
To steal me from my friends,
My family, strangers, loved ones,
Enemies. I’ll make amends.

I’ll show we’re not so different,
I’ll illustrate the fact
That all of us are bound together,
Held in mutual pact

To transcend our division,
To hug each other dear,
To heal our separation,
Placing Love ahead of fear.

All around me I behold
People similar in mould,
Though we suffer and feel cold
We are of one shepherd’s fold.