Lockdown Diary

This is my record of the 6 months I spent alone in 2020, without physically touching another animal or human.


A year ago my friend died

He had grown weary of

The human experience

His soul had made too

Much space, was ready

For the Big stuff, the

Light, the Deep the

Dark of Death


There were some violets

Bees were tickling for

Bits, treats, eats to please

Their little spaces at home

There is blossom tingle

Below the coo and call

Of silky pigeons fatting

With morning crumbs.

Hello sparks of flower

Sharpen cherry with

Hard shiny yellow

Look! Two cats sifting

The sky for low hanging



An inch of hair, a

Step, six foot.

The days used to be

Longer. And shorter.

A kiss, a punch, a slap

On the cheek or cheeks.

The whole is now distanced

From her parts. How will I

Touch you when I see you

In your living blood? What

Inch will I drink first? Will

Your hands be as bending

And long, my long lost friends

Telling old jokes with new voices


Imagine everyone outside the

House can kill you with one

Breath, the neighbour Julie

Who brought you shortbread

Yesterday, the cash ‘n carry guy

Who sold you those cheaper-

Than-Tescos lemons, the little

Toddler running past you to

Her mother, smiling sweet

And young, they are the enemy

And you are their target.


The sound of horses running

Up the street in thudding

Glory behind the sofa

People sitting on round

Stocks of teabags and chips.


The time is flowing by

So many millions of

Chance encounters lost.

Who will mourn for them?

Who will attend their

Wake? Wash them lying

Embalmed, trapped in a

Cold room with a low hanging

Ceiling. Where will they go now?

Will they haunt us like feeble

Weeds, growing, clutching at the

Gritty footholds of our Fate?


Friendly little orange eyes

Hoping for a pocketful of

Crumbs, come come, come

Close, daringly close,

Under the bench, how

Very close to me! How long

Will we two beasts be together.

Little and large, beating in

Our way, a normal scene

In spite of everything and,

Normal thing, he toddles off

Casual, away

Stepping, off, fork by forked

Step, pecking the Spring grass.


In the light places there

Is a tree of sparkling light

With a pitch-perfect blue

Tit balancing behind on

A new-sapping branch.

So soft the little bird

Would feel, perched on

My trembling palm.

I would never wonder at

Itss greeny yellow fluff

I can see why we lost

Humans cage these pretty

Little masterpieces, tricking

Our minds that they love

To share our sunless company.


It’s now that a household God

Or two comes in handy,

Preferably one for each room

Or corner of the home, to

Bless and cherish every blemish

In the paintwork, the little,

Hard to reach crevice behind

The fridge or sofa or telly.

Should some uninvited guest

Arrive, the god’s will welcome

With open love, provide it

Rest and warm and nourishing

Laughs, so much that it will

Forget the weapon in its hands.


People were walking down

The brick filled street of

Bricky maisonettes, walking

With the gait of woodland

Strolling, nowhere stepping

Just moving for the feeling

The view, and maybe a pub lunch.

Not today, some took a path

Straight down the tarmac, just

To add variety, for a different feel,

Like dried out lava, on island beaches.

Occassionally, they move aside,

To let a car or JustEat bike pass,

Calcuttans swerving for a holy cow.

Another, on my side of the pavement

He has two small kids in tow, so

I cross over, give up my sunnier

Track, they have the right of way.

Another now on the shady side,

Coast is clear, I move back to the

Sunny side after a brief going

Down the middle of the road, over

The white line, thinking how it looks

Like a food voucher – “Cut here along

The dotted line”.

Winds blow off the Wanstead Flats,

Three bald guys add a touch of frying

Fat to the gust. Their open barbeque is

Borderline criminal, but I smile across

From my side. The air is otherwise

Free, I spot a lone rainbow arching

Over the word “Hope” written

Carefully by a child.


The threat is veiled in

Spring. Sods law that

We should be afflicted

In Nature’s sweetest time.

Our sun is fresh and

Docile now, a young

Child beckoning us

To play with the urgency

Of major chords rousing

The choirs of busy fluting

Starlings to hurry on

With their plans.


What if I woke up one

Morning and the sound

Of courting blue tits

In the Holly teased the

Edges of the light?

What if the lung of my

First waking breath

Was cleaner with the

Trafficless calm as

I rolled out, feeling for

My first draft of tea?

What if the garden patch

Was crotcheted with little

Notes of purple from the

Blushing bumble-bee loved weeds?

What if I could read and breathe

The sun-long day to myself, safe

As houses. I can, lucky me, how

Grateful I am.


“It’s a brilliant day!”

“Yes, like summer!!”

Everyone is a friend, under

The safety of the sky

The park is there and

We are in it, strangers

In one grassy home

Open to the sky, with

More time to grow

Together than ever before.


Feeling unexceptional

Today, the dumb weight

Of myself heaves the

Time forward in uneven

Lumps. A half hour’s

Sweet distraction becomes

Bitter with vacant repetition.

The books, their wisdom

Sits and sits, going stale,

Like a bunch of flowers

Bought from a florist that

Closed many weeks ago.

Gratitude goes off like a

Smoke alarm, the same

Urgent sense of guilt

And shame at leaving

The toast unattended ..


With three months alone to

My own mind and body, the

Lifting pressure of other

People’s expectations becomes

A memory, for dreams.

The space is everywhere

Now, my brain recalibrates,

Moving old files to trash,

Dumping them off on the

Way to the park.

I appreciate the improbability,

Improbability is dead, long

Live improbability. Now,

Anything will happen. The

Worst always finds a new

Home, the best is yet to die.

The truth matters only in

Our human minds, the Earth

Sees us for who we are and

Wonders at our extraordinary

Lack of common sense.