These uncertain times have inspired people to document what’s happening in the world in different ways. Here we feature two residents who have been writing poetry.
The event poet
Since the beginning of lockdown Col Blane has penned a poem each week. When The Good Life caught up with him in November he had more than 30 COVID-inspired poems under his belt and counting.
“I call myself an event poet as I’m inspired by things that happen, like the COVID-19 lockdown and restrictions,” Col explains.
In his weekly musings he writes (see below), in a humorous way, about isolation and its impact on daily life.
Col, who lives at IRT The Palms, has always admired the written word.
“I always loved English as a subject at school and doing crosswords,” Col explains.
He first started writing poetry some 25 years ago when two close friends were celebrating a milestone wedding anniversary. “I remember a few funny things happened in the lead-up to their anniversary celebrations and I started to write things down, and it ended up being the first time I wrote a poem and I read it at the celebration. From then on I started getting requests – for birthdays, weddings and even for eulogies.”
On an organised tour of North Queensland with his wife Kaye a few years ago some funny things happened. “I wrote them down into a poem and read it out after dinner one night,” he explains. From then on, Col was asked for a poem each evening to read to the tour group, reflecting on the day’s events.
“I try and inject some humour into them when I can,” he explains. “I get a lot of enjoyment out of writing them.”
He estimates he has written about 150 poems over the years. “I have a lot stored on the computer, which I need to catalogue,” he says.
He’s also done ‘roasts’ for past retirement village managers and written a poem about the village bus called The day that Dolly died.
Kaye, for whom he now cares, is Col’s inspiration and she also features throughout his COVID-inspired poetry.
COVID-19. Week 3. Isolation
Week three; it’s finally over, and they say isolation is becoming a bore,
I can certainly understand the feeling, while craving a knock on the door.
Wouldn’t it be nice if a neighbour or friend could drop in for a cuppa and cake,
but, could they have the dreaded virus? It’s a risk we could really not take.
So it’s back to the dining room table, our planning and operations site
to figure out more chores to do, like repairing the kitchen sky-light.
Have you noticed how those groceries we stored, are rapidly going down?
If the chocolates and wine are soon finished, we’ll have to go into town.
I’ve started wearing a mask in the house, my wife says I look like a freak,
I told her it’s not to stop the germs getting in, it’s there to ensure I don’t eat.
Col Blane: April, 2020
Putting pen to paper
Scaffolding, a global pandemic and a gentle nudge from their village manager has inspired IRT Kangara Waters residents to get busy writing poetry.
Resident Pat Carr explains that when the COVID-19-related restrictions first came in, several residents wrote poems to occupy their time and sent them to Glenn Irvine, their Retirement Village Manager, who published them in his email newsletter. “He encouraged others to do the same. I thought ‘Why not? I’ll write a rhyme about COVID’ and a few lines came into my head as I went about my day. I jotted down a few ideas through the morning so that I wouldn’t forget them. When more ideas came into my head I sat at the computer and wrote them all up.”
Pat admits she enjoys playing with words and language. “They are rhymes more than poetry,” she says of her writing.
Her other inspiration has been what’s around her and scaffolding was used at IRT Kangara Waters while building cladding was being replaced. So while standing on her balcony, looking at Lake Ginninderra and the buildings around her, she was moved to write about what she could see. “I didn’t finish the poem at the time but was inspired to when someone had theirs published in the newsletter.”
Pat has written rhymes and poetry in the past and enjoys finding the right words to work in a poem. She also enjoys doing crosswords.
Here’s one of her pieces –
From My Balcony
The water glistens through the trees
So naked, gaunt and stark.
The clouds amass beyond the hill,
All fluffy – white and dark.
On the poles the flags cavort
As breezes come and go.
The wind is chill but winter’s here
And we could see some snow.
‘Tis early in the morning
And cars and trucks appear
As deliveries are made
And workmen don their gear.
The winter wind wafts the sounds –
Men’s voices high and low,
Metallic clangs and hammer rings
As cladding takes a blow.
Upon the scaffolding round Block Three,
Amid the blue surrounds,
Yellow and orange splotches appear
As workmen move around.
As we stay home and isolate
Or take a lonely stroll,
The progress of the cladding work
Gives a topic to extol.
Our ‘turn’ is fast approaching,
Soon the scaffolding will appear
And block the view I have right now –
What will I see and hear?
Men walking past my windows
As they go about their work,
Loud clangs and bangs of hammers,
They really do not shirk.
When the job is finally finished
Later in the year,
What will there be to talk about?
What sounds to really hear?
The cooing of the pigeons
As our balconies they reclaim.
The raucous screech of cockies
In search of fun and games.
By then the trees will have new leaves
That will hide my present view.
Just tiny glints of water now.
The spring world sparkling new!