I’m very aware I haven’t written anything here for a few days. It’s a good job I don’t have many followers! A lot of writers seem to be finding these times inspiring from a creativity perspective. I’m not. I have managed to write a couple of haikus for a daily Facebook page – and am quite happy with one of them. I will post it and share others from the Daily Haiku page here as and when I think it appropriate.
During lockdown I should have plenty of time to utilise writing exercises and play with various formal structures and prompts, so as to respond to all the activity out there and be a part of this cultural dialogue, using it as a spark for new work. But I’m not currently in the mood for writing anything about the Coronavirus pandemic.
Part of this might be around trying to avoid being overwhelmed by what is going on right now. I write using a laptop, and could easily spend hours on Facebook, Twitter or various news pages, getting lost in the latest reports and opinion pieces covering the feckless ineptitude of this government in their handling of the crisis.
Like many people I have to be careful. I was diagnosed with depression in 2015, (though may have had it before – the poem at the end of this post is at least twenty years old). It’s a relatively mild form, so I am able to function normally most of the time. It doesn’t noticeably affect my day to day work. I really feel for those whose “black dog” is bigger and more intrusive.
There have been occasions where I have felt the need to take a step back from non-core activities to protect my health – I gave up my roles as chair of governors at a local secondary school and chair of Tongues and Grooves in the Community because of it. I’ve also skipped a good number of events for the same reason.
I do know the poems about Covid-19 will come – whilst I have written very quickly about specific events previously, sometimes it takes a little longer for the ideas to germinate into something for the page. In the meantime, I’ve been working on my annual business accounts, keeping the house reasonably tidy (ish), and playing Fallout 4 – a post apocalypse survival game – on the PS4. Well it’s good to be prepared.
Anyway, what started as a post about one thing has turned into something completely different. Clearly many people’s mental health is going to be very fragile during and after the lockdown. So please be gentle, be kind, and look after yourself and others around you.
Darkness Sometimes This Way Comes
…as a hulking fog-front snuffing out the sun.
Most days it is a vague shape on the horizon,
waiting for the weather to turn.
The worst are those when the sky is brittle clear,
cold enough to snap
into so many defenceless pieces.
These are the times you can’t see it coming,
can’t stiffen or prepare
for this whitening suffocation of thought.
Clouds are clouds whether visible or not,
as rain starts pouring
through cracks in a porcelain sky.