Locked Down: poems, diaries and art from the 2020 pandemic

Saturday, 28 November 2020

There are superb poems here from many contrasting voices, but this anthology is much greater than the sum of its parts. In it a community – it would be too grandiose and too  limiting to call it the nation, but it needs something grand to say what it is – is talking to itself as it finds out what it is like to go through lockdown and its aftermath under the shadow of a global pandemic, from novelty via tedium and desperation to renewal, resilience and creativity, and on to glimpsed light at the end of the tunnel. Better than a vox pop because more articulate and condensed, this communal production finds in poetry a way to be individual and yet to represent shared experience, from the discovery of new habits, preoccupations and language to new ways to live the interface between solitariness and sociability. We see ourselves and our fellow beings afresh in this mirror held up to the daily life of three seasons in one unprecedented year. By turns enlightening, moving, and entertaining, taken as a whole it is affirmative and uplifting.


~ John Freeman


Shanta Acharya, M.Anne Alexander, James Andrew, Moira Andrew, Anna Avebury, Dorothy Baird, Yvonne Baker, Lizzie Ballagher, Verona Bass, Paul Beech. Denise Bennett, Daniel Benson, Johanna Boal, Anne Boileau, Ama Bolton, Connie Ramsey Bott,Alison Brackenbury, Carole Bromley, Chaucer Cameron, Alison Campbell , Susan Castillo- Street, Marcus Clark, Rachael Clyne, Claire Grace Coleman, Rose Cook, Martyn Crucefix, Judy Dinnen, Brian Docherty, Michael Docker, Aoife  Doyle, Sarah L DixonMargaret Eddershaw, Pat Edwards, Carol Fenwick, Beverley Ferguson, Dominic Fisher, Michael Forester, Emily Fox, Marilyn Francis ,Wendy French, Moira Garland, Victoria Gatehouse, Leela Gautam, Rosina Georgiou,Caroline Gill, Sarah Gillespie, Mary Gilonne, Eileen Anne Gordon,Sheila Gosling, David Greenwood, Susan Greenwood, Wendy Halsted, Ruth Hanchett, Stuart Handysides, Maggie Harris, Deborah Harvey, Jacqueline Haskell, Pippa Hawkins, Caroline Heaton, Jem Henderson, Angi Holden, Jane Hughes, Eileen Carney Hulme, Michael Hutchinson, Rosie Jackson, David C. Johnson, Rema Jyothirmayi, Mimi Khalvati, Julie King, Stephen KingsnorthPru Kitching, Morag Kiziewicz, Sandeep Kumar, Andrew Lawrence, Stephen Lightbown, Toby Litt, Alison Lock, Hannah Lowe, Philip Lyons, Alwyn MarriageAlanna McIntyre, Jane McLaughlin, Anna Maria Mickiewicz, Lucie Meadows, Sandeep Kumar Mishra, Sarah Mnatzaganian, Steven Mwalusi, Ruth O’Callaghan, Mark Pender, Miranda Pender, Geralyn Pinto,Kate Pursglove, Ann Preston, Mohammed Qasim, Lesley Quayle, Peter Reason, Emily Reynolds,Jenny Robb, Marg Roberts, Adele V. Robinson, Peter Scalpello, Julie Sampson, Myra Schneider, Susan Jane SimsAndy Scotson, Alex Smith,Anne Stewart, Tessa Strickland, Janet Sutherland, Robin Thomas,Denni Turp, Susannah Violette, Jo Waterworth, Irene Watson, Maureen Weldon, Richard Westcott, Carol Whitfield, Catherine Whittake Dilys Wood, Natalie Wood,John Wright, Shirley Wright, Zannah Kearns, Pam Zinnemann-Hope.
Profits will be donated to Mark Sims’ fund for Cancer Research UK

Thank you to everyone who has contributed to making this really special.

The anthology is now available to pre-order. £15

ISBN: 978-1-909404-41-0 


Sample poems:




In my old life a sparrow died in my letterbox 


flew in and was trapped, her body desiccated in that summer’s heat 

and glued itself to a letter that said on the envelope: 


“It died that was all. Birds die. How long do sparrows live anyway?”


That is a true story


This morning a sparrow conjured herself into my bedroom, in my dream her wing beats were my heart as it fluttered to wakefulness, they were her skirts as she, frantically fell from the window like Alice down the rabbit hole. Then they became wood splinters, spread like stiff fans, with her little body gasping for outside.


This sparrow fell into the pocket of a bag like small change. A pink and sparkly second-chance-at-life womb readied her to find the sun again.


I midwifed her and as she perched on the edge of her canvas precipice. From here she saw the sky, turned to me without her wild-to-human flinch then flew away.


How long do sparrows live anyway?


Susannah Violette



With thanks to Helen Dunmore for the quote which comes from ‘Counting the Stars’.



Something to do with love


Surveying the locked down map of my world –

windows opening to landscapes of uncertainty, 

Time dances like a god in the changing light.

Dwelling in possibility I take nothing for granted,

accept life as it comes, not the way I want it.

Something to do with love, a prayer to protect

us from an innocent touch. As the death toll rises,

so does fear and courage – key workers keep carrying

on, laying bare the injustices of our world.

Knowing there is no going back, we hang on 

with the furloughed, believing in blue skies, bird song,

and spring in the dreadful winter of our hearts. 

Hope lives like a virus born with a message –

Life’s a gift, a thing of beauty, cherish it. 

Shanta Acharya