Poetry Blog – A New Normal

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I wrote this one lockdown morning, a few weeks ago in the early hours. I couldn’t sleep, as has been the case all too often lately. I felt creative – what had kept me awake was that phrase, ‘a new normal’ that we’ve all been trying to get used to lately. I had a few lines swimming round in my head and decided to get up and try and write something. It’s no understatement to say that COVID-19 and lockdown/quarantine has changed everybody’s lives immeasurably. One thing that it has done for me is boost my creativity and on this particular early morning, that feeling of having to write something, combined with fear and uncertainty had me scribbling for a good hour. Amongst other things this poem was the result.

A New Normal

And from our fearful hibernation a new normal emerges.
Where faded lines on the ground tell us where to stand and judgemental frowns tell us how to do it.
Elsewhere, no lines are drawn in the sand and crowds flock like fearless pilgrims to beaches and beauty spots.
No one can count to six anymore.
Those we have lost, it seems, are easily forgotten for a burger or an ice cream.
You paid your dues in Thursday night applause, after all. This is the least you should expect.

Meanwhile, some still huddle together, scarred by the past and frightened of this new way of life, feeling our way back tentatively, occasionally forgetting ourselves at the sight of a friendly face, then paranoid that we stood too close.
Our children leave us but remain in bubbles for safety.
Life has to move on, yet we wish to stay this way forever. Confused like a swirl of spinning leaves, we have no answer.
We are passengers, resisting yet blown along all the same. Powerless. Frightened of a silent, faceless foe.

We frown at those who attempt to live again, but know we must submit ourselves back to the crowd sometime.
Sometime.
We don’t know when.
It is a devilish inevitability that awaits us. And we know we cannot shake its hand and be done.
We scold ourselves for feeling afraid, for not daring.
Life, it seems might simply never be the same again.
However brave, wherever you stand in that crowd, the back of your mind will always echo with the voice that warns against the new normal.

Some notes…

I’m not returning to work yet, but have many friends who are. The world scares me a bit at the minute. I keep hearing that phrase ‘new normal’ but I’m yet to discover mine because I’m so isolated. That made me write the poem.

It’s amazed me watching some people, who rather than adapt, seem to think that they’ve been locked down enough and that somehow time has healed things. That’s there in the line about ‘pilgrims’ and the line about ‘Thursday night applause’ refers to the Clap for Carers campaign in the UK, where people have stood outside their homes every Thursday night to applaud and acknowledge the work of our NHS. I think it’s a brilliant gesture, but have always wondered if some see it as some kind of badge of honour that allows them to take the moral high ground and then and go and do whatever they want. The fact that ‘no one can count to six anymore’ references the government ruling that people could gather in groups of six when certain lockdown rules were relaxed and many people seemed to just believe that what they actually meant was groups of over six or just multiples of six!

The line about feeling paranoid was just me referencing the fact that when I have bumped into people on our lovely government sanctioned walks, I always leave the situation wondering if I’d dropped my guard and mistakenly stood too close. I’m not the most tactile person, but nor am I a natural at standing two metres away from people I’m talking to!

The final verse was meant to represent the uncertainty of some people. I know in our house, we’d rather stay locked down, while understanding that this all has to stop somewhere and that things are undoubtedly a lot safer now.

Anyway, I hope you like the poem. It was an attempt to get out some of the frustration and fear that I have felt over these last couple of months and also at the situation that we find ourselves in now amidst the prospect of the ‘new normal’.

Feel free to leave comments – it’s always interesting to hear what people think of something so personal.

Author: middleagefanclub

Man, husband, dad, teacher, coach, Geordie. Former street dancing champion of Tyne and Wear, guinea pig whisperer, developer of the best-selling fragrance, Pizzazz and alleged liar. Ex male model and a devilish raconteur. No challenge should be faced without a little charm and a lot of style.

22 thoughts on “Poetry Blog – A New Normal”

  1. Excellent poem, it really stirred up a lot of emotions for me! Particularly, “We frown at those who attempt to live again, but know we must submit ourselves back to the crowd sometime.”

    I especially feel this as an expat living in Cambodia. We’ve only had around 140 cases here and I do not know a single person out here who has had COVID. Not even “a friend of a friend”. At first, all of the expats were following the guidelines of our home countries and self-quarantining. Over the last two months, a lot of us have started to wonder how long we should be doing that when all signs point to it being contained here.

    There is more than a little guilt associated with having the luxury of going out without few restrictions when so many of our friends and families back home are on lockdown. But, as you say, “we must submit ourselves back to the crowd sometime.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much! It’s such a strange time at the moment. We’re seeing here that the slightest hint of easing of any lockdown conditions is turning peoples’ common sense button off. Pubs and bars opened again yesterday (at 6am!) and this morning we were greeted with so many pictures of people in crowds, drinking in the street, without a care for social distance. And then there’s people like me who are still pretty frightened by it all. I think we lost over 40,000 people here, so I’m not sure why people take it so lightly for the sake of a beer or a day out.

      Like

  2. This is wonderful, I loved ‘no one can count to six anymore’ and loved it even more when I scrolled down to read that this was referring to the government rulings of groups of six. I think lots of people have reached a point where they are so fed up that they are quite happy to pretend the virus has just gone away by magic. You’ve hit the nail on the head with this one!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. Some people’s lack of thought is just staggering to me. I understand the urge to see people and live freely again, but some of the images of people enjoying a beer last night here – in their hundreds – defy belief!

      Like

  3. Very nice poem. It’s very interesting now, to take a look on how different persons are looking to all this situation in the world. How we have survived and suffered. How we have enjoyed and relaxed. And how our thoughts have changed!
    I also wrote a small poem about the beginning of the lockdown… and now looking back – now I would write it totally differently.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I just couldn’t help but reblog this! The intricate and yet so simple mannerism of your writing left me in awe! Followed you right away, liked and reblogged! Kudos pal! Looking forward to more and more stuff from you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. You’re too kind! I have a few other poetry blogs lined up, so there’s more to come. I’m in a bit of a rut with writing at the moment though and it’s been a couple of weeks since I wrote a poem. I’m sure something will come along and give me a push!

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  5. Love this. I have so much admiration for poetry, because I can’t do it 😂 ask me to write anything else and I’m on it, ask me to write poetry and all your getting is a blank look from me.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This was so lovely.
    Everything going back to normal in the middle of a pandemic has truly been so scary and this was just so heartwarming to read and know we’re all feeling similar emotions.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Brilliant poem! I felt like this poem was describing the exact thoughts and feelings in my head. Your writing is beautiful and you have a way that allows it to flow smoothly and create a realistic atmosphere.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. ‘Those we have lost, it seems, are easily forgotten for a burger or an ice cream.’

    That line got me, still amazed me that people were willing to block off the road and wait idealing in their car at their local McDonalds/Burger King just for cheap rubbish while local small family restaurants which were offering takeaway options to try and keep afloat went under.

    With things going forward, it certainly is a case of adapting while still being respectful to others. I never really got the Facebook outrage posts ‘look at X park/beach/town centre how busy it is’ – being quite moral but ignoring the fact that they are there too adding to the numbers!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It certainly has been a strange time. Lots of people have taken the moral high ground until they got a little bit bored or decided that their human rights had been infringed because they were being asked to stay indoors.

      Liked by 1 person

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