I was witness to strange times.

When rain sliced through the heat of spring.

And did you hear?

Following moments of madness,

there arrived a brief tranquillity.

Permitting birds to soar

and exclaim their testimonies.

Blackbirds warned, the song thrush performed,

and, the wren and robin rejoiced.

Then, as I sat under the silver birch,

came the silence,

shaken only by the rustle of leaves.                                                                   

                                                                                                                                                © Sarah Bennett-Green 2020

Explanatory Note

My husband John and I, know just how lucky we are. We have a garden and live in the countryside, so when ‘lockdown’ was put in place, we had a wonderful outside space into which we could escape.

But not everyone is in this situation. COVID has been isolating for many people. There have also been increases in anxiety and also bereavement. The government need to fund support for people who are anxious, lonely or bereaved to ensure they get the help they need

And it was while I was seated under our silver birch in late-April, that the first idea of a poem came to mind, and about two issues which are of concern to me. One being the situation relating to coronavirus, and the other global warming.

And so, my poem was born, and all it took then was to write it down. I hope you all enjoy it.

I believe that there are positives that can come from this pandemic, but it means that governments all over the world need to act, and for us to change the way we live. This may, of course, be very difficult to bring about, but if more and more people believe in this, then surely change must happen.

First and foremost, governments have to start to put the people first, not money.  We must no longer ignore the poor, the homeless and the many other disadvantaged in our society.  And I believe this can be done, but, having said that, this has to be done with the environment in mind, we must not, in any way, ride rough shod over that. New buildings must not be downgraded, this, I feel, does not fit in to the ecological ways in which we really need to go forward. And we must also support our dearly beloved NHS.

I also strongly believe that we need robust social support systems in place, helping everyone, including us older generation, who depend on small government pensions. We need to ensure that older people are financially secure and receive money that they are entitled to such as Pension Credit.

For those of us in our later years, another positive step is the arrival of many, free, online courses. I, for one, have enjoyed participating in them. I studied for my MA at the age of 70 and this was so rewarding; it has helped with my confidence and makes me feel that I can still contribute to society albeit in a small way.