Category Archives: Poetry

Pandemic Poems

When the coronavirus pandemic first sent Melbourne into lockdown, I looked for things to bring me comfort. One of the first things I discovered was actor Samuel West’s Soundcloud which he’d begun, similarly to find comfort. I’ve always been fond of West, since he played Prince Caspian in the 1989 TV adaptation of The Voyage of the Dawntreader. Latterly, I’ve been casting him in my head as my John Watson in some of my Holmesian novels.

As of 9 July, Sam West has posted 351 poems, mostly requested by his followers on Soundcloud and Twitter. He’s delivered a lot of poems by British and American poets, but also sought out those by poets of other nations. Most are read by him but also those read by his parents, Timothy West and Prunella Scales, and by poets and actors, including Lou Brealey from Sherlock, Paterson Joseph, Natalie Dormer, Gemma Whelan.

I’ve heard Donne and Tennyson, Phillip Larkin and Carol Ann Duffy. Henry Lawson. Sylvia Plath. Dorothy Parker and Mary Oliver. I’ve heard lyrics read as poems, poems 50 seconds long and other that for for nearly 15 minutes. I’ve discovered new poets and rediscovered old favourites.

I’ve requested poems (he read a very funny one by PG Wodehouse!) and some of the poems brought me comfort when my father passed away in May.

I don’t know if you’re into poetry at all – I go in and out of it myself, but this channel has rekindled my fondness for the form – but if you’d like some fascinating words read in perfect voices, you can do worse than visit Pandemic Poems to see what if might provide for you.

A few favourites:

Lockdown Fiction: Patience

You know, I often don’t know where things in my stories come from, and that’s doubly true when I’m responding to a prompt. I’m just trying to use the suggested words and images in an interesting way.

Which leads me to this poem, written for Clan Destine Press’s latest story prompt. The words were: Don’t go; Paws; Slam; Burn.

Since CDP publishes a lot of crime, I wanted to write a story about murder and revenge, but I honestly did not expect it to come from this angle.


I have meant and done you harm
Disguised beneath my canny charm
So none believe in you

You are trapped, imprisoned here
There’s no escaping me, my dear
Not straight away, that’s true.

Don’t slam the door or slink away
Or plot to burn me down today
Revenge is better cold

And served up with a clever, sly
Pre-determined alibi
That under stress will hold.

Resist the worn out metaphors
Equating stealth with padded paws
Find other ways to stalk

Bide your time and make your plot
Until you think that I’ve forgot
Your will to do me in

And enjoy the wild surprise
Reflected in my dying eyes
As I perish for my sin