Poems: Behind the Fence

(This collection was revised in November 2021)

The following poems were written during the Covid-19 pandemic of 2020-2021, when the word ‘lockdown’ became common. They reflect the changing moods and experiences I went through in a small Cumbrian village, close to nature, but like everyone else cut off from family and friends for long periods.

I thought it was like being a sheep fenced in a field. You can see the outside and it looks attractive, but you can’t go there unless someone lets you. We have a lot of sheep in our area! Despite the lockdown being seen as vital to protect us humans, it tragically did not prevent the loss of over 100,000 people in this country by January 2021.

The heroism of the NHS staff, and carers, made a huge impact on all of us. ‘Clap for carers’, was a small symbol of our appreciation. The importance of practical empathy came home. The kindness of strangers, the friendship of neighbours, all made a crisis bearable. It showed a way forward for our society.

In May 2020 we marked the 75th anniversary of VE Day, marking the end of the war in Europe in 1945. I look back now as an old man, and see it as a turning point in history. I think many of the young people today, including my grandchildren, will see this pandemic in the same way.

Listen to Keith reading most of this collection:

There is also Keith’s reading of most of these poems on the same page as each text.

Viral Empathy
A Walk To The Ghyll
Business As Usual?
A Corona Vision
The Two Oaks
VE Day 8th May 2020
Bluebell Woods
On Dufton Pike
A Model Solution
Passing Through
Time’s Bridge
Horace (our garden hedgehog)
Breaking Out
Making Mountains
Zooming Around
Flailing Around
The Cenotaph
The Earth Mourns
Christmas Lights
A Beacon on the Hill (Penrith)