What Matters To You Most?

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We’ve all had our lives reduced in some way over the last year. Whether it’s a reduction in activity, work, or social life, a reduction in outlook or expectations, or a reduction by loss of someone we’ve known or loved. We’ve all got our stories to tell. How do you process it all? If you’re lucky you’ve got friends, family or animals, the latter have become even more important to us in the last year. I know of someone where taking the dog for a walk was actually a life saver. For me, of course, a major way has been trying to make sense of it through poetry. It brought home to me even more, how poetry isn’t a separate thing, it isn’t something that’s confined to that section of the bookshop you never go, or that part of your English lesson you used to think had no relevance to you. Poetry is all around us, part of everyday life; there are poems on buses and trains, there’s poetry in football chants, you can even make a poem from a shopping list. Poems are unique in the way they capture so much in a few lines. They can contain emotions, situations, history. Poems help us to make sense of things.

Many of my poems over the last year have inevitably been pandemic related. They’ve been reflections on what was lost and how life became unlike anything we’d ever experienced before. As restrictions start to ease, I find myself thinking about stepping back into the world again and how some things are going to feel strange at first. Monday is a real milestone because I’ll be able to openly do one of the things I have missed the most.

May 17th 2021

Prepare yourself for the possibility of unexpected touch,

this may occur in a variety of situations;

care homes, hospices, living rooms, pub gardens, the street.

Wear sensible footwear, there is a possibility you will feel off balance.

Be prepared for unexpected reactions;

laughter, held breath, sobbing.

Word exchanges are permitted,

these may take the form of endearments, expressions of longing,

whispered secrets.

Repeat as appropriate.

Repeat until your arms ache

until your face is wet with tears

until your empty arms are refilled and can hold no more.


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