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Poem – Pandemic 2020, Coronavirus 19 reminiscent

Updated Wednesday, 7 July 2021

Pandemic 2020, Coronavirus 19 reminiscent is a poem by Barbara Candlish, written in a creative writing workshop run by the Blaenau Gwent REACH project at Aberbeeg Community Centre.

Pandemic 2020, Coronavirus 19 reminiscent

By Barbara Candlish

Reflecting on my Covid-19 days
To be honest it all seems a bit of a daze
You can't do this, you can't do that
You can't go here and you can't go there
And if you do a mask you must wear
Don't forget keep 2 meters distance and wash your hands

There are three choices you can decide
That will be your transformation on the other side
Keep healthy keep fit look after your physique
Look after your mental health don't take to the drink!
Don't eat too much that's a danger to avoid
Now you know the prediction, that may come your way
a hunk, a chunk or a drunk, that's for you to decide.

March 18 2020 just as lockdown began.
I was pleased, a rest, from demands on my time
I'll do this, I'll do that, I'll write, I'll read, I'll play, I'll paint
But for two weeks I felt weak I felt tired
didn't have the energy these activities required.
Lost my taste lost couldn't smell,
Lots of junk food I did consume
Then the warning came
Do you want to be a Chunk!

Thank goodness my energy did return
With gusto I attacked all those activities awaiting my touch
Painting a child's vintage high chair, covering and painting two garden chairs
Painting the shed a lovely shade of blue
There's nothing now I couldn't do

The virus had taken a hold of the world.
A tiny spiked greasy ball was to blame
Lashings of soap and bleach was the only defence
Supermarket shelves were empty and bare
Not a single toilet roll in sight
You'll be rationed to two pieces in the lav tonight

So many people sick and dying over the land
So many medics overwhelmed with a struggle, so hard to bear
We clapped and praised them on a Thursday night
To show we cared

Just when everything seemed to be settling
That was July, I think
We could all take a deep breath
And some tentative forward steps.

September came and it looked like, we think
A second wave is about to hit
They blame this they blame that
Overseas travel, kids back to school
Students at Uni, they like to party.
The real culprit of this, we all must know

Is that tiny spiked greasy ball.

About this poem

In ‘Pandemic 2020’ Barbara takes an often hilarious approach to describing her experiences of COVID-19. Her descriptions of the restrictions imposed on the people of Blaenau Gwent are certainly things to consider for us all in terms of stepping up to the unexpected challenges of life. Barbara’s honest reflections strike a chord with us all – the effects of over-eating junk food are particularly familiar! But she quickly overcame the virus and the force of her personality comes through as she returns to tackle life and the world with gusto.

The poem has an upbeat rhythm which trips off the tongue, driven along by a clever blend of internal and end-line rhymes. The lines

‘Not a single toilet roll in sight
You'll be rationed to two pieces in the lav tonight’

are a striking example of this, not to say a sobering and humorous reminder of the early days of the pandemic.

A work of hope and strength which not only captures Barbara’s own personality and life force but also that of the wider community.

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This page is part of the Blaenau Gwent REACH online exhibition.

Film and audio | Creative writing | Visual art

Digital stories | The history of Blaenau Gwent | About this project


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