It’s still outside, save for the cars passing. I’m home alone. Sunny on the fields, but cold inside because I daren’t overtax the two 47kg LPG cylinders that comprise our entire gas supply. Better to wrap up during the day and disseminate a little heat in the evening when everyone’s home. Just one delivery driver down with the C19 and we go without for days. Eric Whitacre’s ‘Allelluia’ is on iTunes, volume down so the distant voices seem to be percolating through the walls.

I don’t feel fear for me. Those microscopic naval mines will come bobbing by if they will. And if one bumps my bows then I’ll brace myself for the muffled boom and hope that the damage stays above the waterline. Much more concerned for family members. They have asthma – not severely, but the ash trees are self-germinating now and they’re promiscuous with their pollen.

So not afraid for myself, just sad, terribly sad. Bereft, I guess – so sudden a loss. The Tuesday before last I was at Steve and Jo’s for our weekly music session. I had a bassline to put on a song of Gemma’s after which we played through Steve’s and my two latest songs. Then there was to be next week at mine and the following at Steve’s and so on into our mutual indefinite futures. Now Steve and Jo are in voluntary seclusion through the months ahead and the shared music that has for each one of us served our souls in troubled times must await the silent, invisible movement of this toxic global cloud.

That’s my immediate sorrow. In the world at large there’s ‘a drawing down of blinds’ as everything that has animated our quotidian lives for generations ceases, bringing about a huge empty, uncomprehending vacancy. From those hastening up and down the corridors of power to the puzzled soul standing alone in a once busy street, no one knows what must happen next. The Four Estates are dumbfounded. All about us the signal-to-noise ratio loses out to mere babble. A rumpled, baffled PM mangles his silver spoon vowels, turning with ill-concealed relief to one of the two skeletal science supremoes who flank him on either side. I watch the mouths flapping and think of Yeats: The best lack all conviction, while the worst / Are full of passionate intensity.

I sleep fitfully, wondering in my momentary half-consciousness what it is that’s shifting out there in the darkness. And in the morning I know.

About Dick Jones

I'm a post-retirement Drama teacher, currently working part-time. I have a grown-up son and daughter, three grandchildren and three young children from my second marriage. I write - principally poetry but prose too, both fitfully published. My poetry collection Ancient Lights is published by Phoenicia Publishing ( and my translation of Blaise Cendrars' 'Trans-Siberian Prosody and Little Jeanne from France' (illustrated by my friend, the artist, writer and long-time blogger Natalie d'Arbeloff) is published by Old Stile Press ( I play bass guitar & bouzouki in the song-based acoustic/electric trio Moorby Jones, playing entirely original material. spotify:artist:07MDD5MK9MnRGSEZwbsas9 I have a dormant blog with posts going back to 2004 at Dick Jones' Patteran Pages - - and I'm a radio ham. My callsign is G0EUV
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9 Responses to LIFE IN A TIME OF CORONA 1.

  1. David Gouldstone says:

    Yes, strange, worrying, even frightening times. Irene and I are self-isolating as we were in contact with Luke, who has since shown some symptoms. For myself, as long as Ocado keeps on delivering (but will it?) I have enough books, CDs and Netflix to catch up on to sit out several plagues. But, like you, I worry for everyone else. My aged parents are 99% reliant on carers; what will happen if the carers can’t do their jobs? How on earth are businesses going to survive with zero customers? What if Luke’s symptoms turn out to be non-trivial? How long before someone I know is really ill? Etc etc. It’s all gone Armageddony very rapidly, hasn’t it?

    Stay safe.

    • Dick Jones says:

      It’s all a struggle now and I’m afraid it’ll get worse before we manage some kind of shaky equilibrium. For now we have to locate at least some zen moments wherein there’s just the music or there are just the words. Sufficient unto the day, and all that! Take care, both of you and Luke.

      • David Gouldstone says:

        I suppose it will become the new normal after a while. Though that normalcy will no doubt be fragile enough. Incidentally, maybe there’s some zen to be had in looking at pretty pictures. I know your kids went to school in Preston so you must have walked past the church thousands of time, but have you ever looked inside? It has some stunning stained glass. I’ve just put them on Icknield Indagations.

  2. Irene Bailey says:

    I need to find may way around another new sign in! I thank goodness for the advent of electronic devices during these sad and difficult days. The posts I have read so far resonate with my feelings about the strange times we are experiencing. I had my last face to face sighting of my children and grandchildren this week and feel very sad. This is an emotion I have shared with other friends who are in the same boat.
    We manage to get out for an airing and greet other social distances with a cheery wave; the proscribed distance apart, of course, but it is not the same. I have signed up to several community groups that offer support to folks who need it; again within the context of social distancing as both we and they are within vulnerable groups. It does help to have structure and purpose for each day.
    I hope that everyone is able to stay well and survive the coming months with minimal discomfort.

  3. Dick Jones says:

    It’s a lovely little church. The school put their Nativity plays on in it and in moments of particularly challenged attention I took much pleasure in the windows!

  4. sackerson says:

    Because of health conditions and disabilities we’re both in isolation together for what will probably be a long time. It’s obviously no joke but there are worse places to be isolated. One of the worst things so far has been the stress of “staying ahead of the game”, doing our best to ensure we’re getting reliable food and medication deliveries, etc. I’ve installed Google Duo on my tablet which is great for staying in touch with friends via video calls.

    • Dick Jones says:

      We’re both fortunate in being able to access open country in moments. As time passes, that’ll count for such a lot: an enforced return to much older times wherein silence and solitude were the norm. But even then paths crossed and socialisation, however brief, made it apparent that there were many islands such as yours. But we have technology and distances are breached at will. Look after yourselves, Dom.

  5. Pingback: Poetry Blog Digest 2020, Week 12 – Via Negativa

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