In Spite Of / Because Of

dtwadmWriters at Home and in Isolation

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In Spite Of / Because Of

 

Winner of the Bath and North East Somerset Libraries ‘Lockdown’ Competition (Poetry)

 

 

In Spite Of / Because Of

 

It is the most beautiful spring I can remember,
Bright blue sky, and windows filled with soft sunlight
Flamingo-pink blossom floats on the cherry trees
Wild garlic wafts across the breeze, and the birds who
Used to fight make their voices heard over cars
Seem to sing their arias louder, I see more
Robins, and a woodpecker – drumming on a branch.
It feels – a bit like magic, like childhood; like we’ve
Stepped back in time. Someone has cast a spell and stopped
The dizzy axis spinning, slowed the constant churning,
Made the world’s colours brighter; or else our eyes wider.
Is it because death – that things that comes to all of us –
Never usually worth mentioning – Feels closer?
Or that chaos is only a country away?

But dad says this is a marathon not a sprint
Takes his NHS leave to set an example
Plants potatoes in his garden, comes for a walk
With us in the woods, which we are doing daily now.
Between the trees, the sky’s sentence is uninterrupted
By airplane contrails. Walking always makes us feel more sane.
Wasn’t it crazy, mum remarks, that only a few weeks
Ago we were working too hard then jetting away?
She was meant to be half-way up a volcano today.
Why? She wonders, sitting on a log in the sun,
Drinking warm coffee from a paper cup. It’s nice
Right here, isn’t it? Better than any cafe!
I sit – both beside her and six feet apart,
Yes, I agree. In spite of, or because of – who can say?
But there is a good deal of gratitude to be found
In moments you’d forgotten might soon be taken away.

 

Anna Hoghton is an award-winning film-maker, poet and author. She was one of fifteen leading UK poets’ commission for Bristol Festival of Ideas ‘Utopia’ event. Her climate-change action film Never Land won the Ideastap film fund and starred John Nettles, Keeley Hawes and Marcus Brigstocke. Her first novel for children, The Mask of Aribella, published by Chicken House this year, was a Guardian ‘book of the month’ and listed as one of the ‘best new books for now’ by the New Statesman.


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