Is freedom born in a fire burning a palace?
Six miles, again, we’ll go today,
for honour built on broken blades.
We’ll tame these meres; skate far and fast,
with hopes that winter, long may last.
For cold that creeps and freezes fen
brings out the Runners once again.
In tests of wit and skill and speed
on crystal lakes, still wreathed with weeds.
Contracted muscles, chests pulled tight,
like frightened birds, we take to flight.
Sinews screaming, taut like wire,
in every eye, a glint of fire.
On flooded fen, we carve our names
as brackish blood runs through our veins.
The lure of wealth may spur some forth –
we skate for love and all we’re worth.
This subtle smoothness, ice unspoiled,
a canvas stretched o’er sunken soil.
To skate the marsh is to be free:
‘These Fenmen do not run; they flee!’
They said that he died, the old man from the flats
Diabetic and eighty, he fitted the stats
An ambulance came, was a call from his daughter
They took him away, Covid lamb to the slaughter
Connected by wires to machines made by Dyson
No time for goodbye or a kiss from his grandson
‘We did all we could, please prepare for the worst’
They’ve said it so often the lines feel rehearsed
Another bed empty, another one bagged
Another confirmed, another toe tagged.
No poem by Auden, no black horse with feathers
The only respects are for distancing measures
We scuttle from houses like terrified spiders
To clap the front line, as it serves to remind us
We’re here, still alive, and not yet met our fate
Then return to our fears at one-minute past eight.
I was inspired due to the way the world had changed during the start of coronavirus, everything was nearly the same but not quite right so I wanted to create a piece of work to reflect this.
The strange wonderland world appealed to me and I decided to paint my version of it. The clock where the hands don’t move represented the limbo we were all in during lockdown.
Here’s just a couple of pieces of Luke’s, check out his instagram for more!
Luke tells us:
I’m working on new stuff all the time and hopefully getting better.
An animal for which we care
Must be the big brown cuddly bear.
Bears are furry, bears are climbers,
Bears are loners and not rhymers.
Now and then to break this rule,
One meets a bear who’s no-one’s fool.
Whenever he can spare the time,
He has a flair for making rhyme.
Returning from the woods one day
The smallest bear was heard to say,
‘I think that I can see from here
Our door is open, Mummy dear!’
The little bear was soon proved right
As presently it came in sight;
The burst door was a nasty shock –
It would require a brand-new lock.
With claws crossed all three went inside,
One by one, not side by side;
The biggest sat down on his chair
And combed the tangles from his hair.
The second curled up on a couch,
With her pipe and tobacco-pouch.
The smallest bear fell off his stool
Which fell apart – he felt a fool.
Next they viewed the kitchen table,
(It’s the sequence in the fable)
Look! The large bowl has been tasted,
Food spat out and now it’s wasted.
The medium bowl was also sampled –
Dropped and smashed and contents trampled.
The smallest basin was upended
The silver spoon extremely bended.
They each went on to their own room
Filled with dread and gathering doom
Big bear’s king sized water-bed
Was in a pool where it had bled.
The next bear’s bed was hard and flat
The air inside had been squashed out of that.
The little bear’s bed was unbroken,
Its tenant snoring and unwoken,
This story must come to an end
Before it drives us round the bend;
It might be happy, might be sad,
Fit for a girl or for a lad;
Ursa Major, Ursa Minor
Or a panda with eyeliner –
Remember, take a lot of care
Recruiting your cub’s next au pair!
The previous time I wrote a poem I was 12! Taking three science GCEs at school I dropped the Arts.The Three Bears is my second poem, lockdown has saved my bacon but I shall have to create some doggerel for when things reopen
With thanks to Andrew Bottley and Alan Wheeldon for introducing Natalia to us! “Natalia Shlyapina is a floral designer from Tyumen, Western Siberia. She first studied her craft at the International School of floral design in Moscow called “Nicole,” which just happens to be the …