This Storm Will Pass

Well at least I’ve managed to complete my business accounts whilst in furlough from the day job. It’s been a useful exercise. Something to focus on each day, with measurable daily achievements, of sorts. Something to take my mind off what is going on in the outside world. Something to help stop my mind from unravelling.

43 days.

43 days since March 23rd, and how many more until the lockdown ends? I’m in a pretty good place at the moment, but it is easy to become overwhelmed. I am still being careful as to how much time I spend following the news and reading the latest – sometimes justified – outrage on social media. I have plenty to do during the course of each day, even without the joy of filling in spreadsheets.

The loft still needs clearing. Those settlements on Fallout 4 aren’t going to defend themselves. The British Trust for Ornithology website still needs updating with my latest bird observations- oh look, another Herring Gull ( www.bto.org for details if you want to get involved).

But I know a lot of people will be really struggling with what is happening now, and the worry of what comes next. There is a lot to be worried about here in the UK, which now has the highest confirmed death toll in Europe. A lot of grief, many families broken. But for most of us, these storms will, eventually, pass. Whatever the new normal is, we will adapt and find our own way through.

The poem that follows first appeared in Landings

You

Darkness will take your palm,
hold it gently in-between
the strobe from occasional cars;
patterns made and unmade
until you can no longer see
the hand in front of your face.

The shifting dislocation of dusk,
a near-roost of starlings swirling,
as if shoaling shared memories;
will you redact a well-lived life,
the wrinkling of your skin
in a swoop of passing stars?

I knew a man who thought he had it all,
but time gnawed into an abscess
that just wouldn’t let him be.
Some live their lives as strangers
chasing somebody else’s dream;
their days just slipstream through.

Dusty candles on a mantelpiece,
ornaments without a future,
a warm glow that will never flower;
no fluttering petals of light,
no guttering to get the wax weeping,
no joy no sadness no love.

Yet see the way that midnight turns,
when illuminated by sublinear traffic.
The arcing sweep of a headlight beam,
your face reflected in a roadside pool.
Hold that moment, that rippling smile;
hold it tight and drink it in.

So nurture your future, feed it well;
don’t hunker down as the window panes shake.
Open the door and run into the street;
this storm will pass as they always do.
Catch the rain on your fingertips,
the sheen of beauty on your skin.

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