A Poem by Rhidian Brook

BBC Radio 4 Thought for the day
23rd May 2020
Soap. Lemons. Paracetamol.

Audio link
Wake up, breathe,
Thank your God for breath.
Clean your teeth (is that a cough?).
Gargle with salt. Take your tea extra hot.
Keep fear at bay, and write a list.
Take back control
With soap, lemons, paracetamol.
Check the news but keep it short,
Radio for facts
The birds for true report.
What next? Oh yes.
Exercise. Stand up straight, Fill your sacs.
Your stocks are low
Get on your knees
And pray, facing Sainsbury’s.
Butter. Apples. Chocolate. Cheese.
Nearly noon and so little done,
Feel inessential, feeling numb.
How stuck indoors
Our deeds of love.
Ambition grounded,
Hopes on hold.
Do your taxes, paint the shed.
Don’t think about what all this means,
Keep death at bay with games and memes.
Ignore the pressure to achieve,
Stare out the window,
See that leaf
Watch it blow across the yard.
Syrup. Wine. Sugar. Lard.
Great events are best left
Unexplained when in the fire.
It needs distance to see
The Truth, cooling with time.
Two metres? Make it two years.
Leave snap judgements
To the tweets of sages
And Job’s friends.
Be still. Know we’re not God.
From dust we’re made,
From dust we’re raised.
Bread. Flour. Marmalade.
Late afternoon
The toll comes in
Want to hear the score again?
Worse than China, worse than Spain.
Please. Stop playing This awful game.
Some say it’s war,
But that’s unfair to us and them,
When what we fight
Has no face, no shame,
It’s just data doing its thing.
Dad, what did you do during the plague?
I stayed indoors, got little done
And watched the wind
Blow through leaves and lives.
Milk. Pepper. Salad. Limes.
Fail to focus. Want to cry.
Feel low, feel late.
Please stop saying this is great
When weeks ago the talk was mean.
Now in the night the sirens scream
And the virus sneaks Into our dreams.
It’s hot. Is that the fever?
Open the latch, Lift the lever.
Offer thanks and praise
To the ones
Who’ve no time to reminisce.
Or self-improve,
Or say good bye.
A crash course
In metaphysics for them.
Dusted in days. They’re done too soon,
Their last question sighs: why?
Wheat. Barley. Corn. Rye.
So order your affairs and
Complete that list.
Wash your hands
And call your mum,
That neighbour, friend, your son.
Tell them what you always knew:
This life’s a gift,
That Love is real,
Its touch is true,
It is thing that gets us through
This moment; it will pass.
So take deep breaths
And fill your soul.
The Spirit’s willing You make that call.
Soap. Lemons. Paracetamol.