From our at home activities, here is a response to where we all find ourselves during lockdown by one of the poets from Hackney Dissent, Billy Colvill.
Urban Bird in- Covid 19
“ Ring-a-ring of roses
A pocketful of posies
Atishoo, a tissue?
We all full down.”
This is purdah.
Just spent my daily allowance of
Essential journey time.
I loiter at the cross-roads
To my room
Full of possible intent
But know it`s lockdown facing me,
Have to keep slapping myself,
“ Wake up and smell the coffee.”
I must have been asleep
When my carnival of people passed on by.
I want my bumping, bustling, sweaty, shoving,
Rude, insulting crowd
Everyone has become, “so kind,”
So loving, so polite.
And when those people
Who wouldn`t ordinarily give me the time of day
Say they want to befriend me,
It`s been my experience they want to shamelessly exploit
My singular native English nostalgic sentimentality.
Then there`s that class of people who
In the blink of an eye
Voted your wage rise down, voted to
Leave you homeless,
They in one voice speak through antiseptic,
Praising heroes who work a twelve
And a half-hour shift at their bidding
Without a paid break or proper equipment.
As if the “ heroes” weren’t in danger enough.
How our leaders bang on how much
They love and care for the people,
Stop it, my ears are bleeding
Where`s your London mob when you need them?
The riot of colour? The noise?
What was I moaning about?
Dragging my feet back to my room,
right now, if I had the chance
I`d Jump in and join my herd
For the company and banter
Even though by all accounts
My government is leading the herd to the abattoir.
Writ large by the invisible hand of Capital
For only the privileged to see
Based on the witty professors
The instruction is,
That for us the masses,
The question, who lives or dies,
Is for us the masses,
A charitable post-code lottery.
The invisible hand of Capital
“ England is now one big Grenfell Tower.”
I swear on the Roman London god of birds, Janus,
Even after all what my families been through
There is still no science for us, so it`s
still down to more
luck than judgement.
Back in my room
The weight of the world wears heavy on me.
I think of someone, I wonder,
Have they been tested yet?
Billy Colvill ( One is A Bird. 2020. Billy Colvill.)