Rob Punton

Updated: May 25

Poet of possibilities, activist and businessman. I have been keeping a diary of the pandemic, and now like an overprotective nervous parent not ready to set my kid loose on the world. But hey hoo off she goes. Enjoy her but please respect her. 


A Diary of the Self-Isolated

17th March 2020

Several days ago, I made what I thought was a sensible decision to self-isolate, primarily for the wellbeing of myself and those I live with, who I love and care about. That decision seemed to be vindicated when the government brought out a list of people who should self-isolate, which fall into several categories.


So far, so good. However, while I and other members of my household are force to hide away from society, left to suffer, forgot and abandoned, (I know that is not the case with me luckily) other members so my household are told they must continue to go to work. If someone could please explain the point of this because frankly the logic of it is lost on me.


If I stay in to stop infection infecting me, but my housemate is forced to carry on, as if nothing is any different.


Then what is the point of self-isolation?


Poetry entry for the day:


Expendable or (Boris Bugger You)

Do you fall into the expendable bracket

Are you old, sick or disabled

Seen as a loved one that others

Must regrettably be ready to lose

If not you then your Mother, your Brother,

Your Father, your Sister, your children or grandchildren

Your Wife, Husband, or Partner

May well be on such a list

Well Boris Bugger You

This feels more like Hitler’s Europe

Then England’s green and pleasant land

Only Boris is using Coronavirus to purge

Not the Concentration Camps

Well Boris Bugger you

Europe closes its factories, schools and businesses

Boris says I’ll have none of that

Commerce must prevail, never mind the poor people

There are too many of them anyway

Well Boris Bugger you

While the rest of the world’s leaders

Worries for the worst, mourns over those lost

Our government count their coins

While the countries citizens pay the ultimate price

Well Boris Bugger you

Remember this people he is the leader of your choice

The one you chose to take us into the future

I won’t say I told you so,

as it could be the last words, I utter

Well Boris truly has buggered us


19th March 2020

This sums up how I feel today. Written through verse as that is how I best record and express myself.


Self-Isolation

When you help people

Steer a safe course through life

When people’s journeys are curtailed,

through no fault of their own

Then no wonder you lose focus on your purpose

When you help folk translate their stories

Then they have no tale to tell

Because their journey is put on hold by external forces

Your pen can lie idle your brain can addle

Your imagination can fly into flights of fancy

You can only watch so many episodes of old stories

Listen to so many past songs sung by other souls

The prose of other authors become

hollow and empty over time

like hopeless, useless clothe hangers

if you have nothing to hang on them

this is what isolation and marginalisation looks like

you can call it self-isolation, say it’s for your own good

soon it will become voluntary imprisonment

your home will resemble a gaol,

your family cellmates or guards,

and this is only after two weeks

Today, I received an email from Louise Redskull from Solihull MBC Social Work department wanting me to contact them over any concerns I have over my support package. I am happy they are showing the foresight and care to contact me, (even though I know Clenton prompted them). Personally, I have a good enough relationship with them to know they’d never abandon me. I know many more in my situation are not so lucky. I reassured them if they keep funding my package, we’ll be fine. Should things change I’d be in touch.


1pm

They emailed concerned about cover should my PA’s become ill, whether I had enough food, both said ok with. I did say need some more gloves to stop infection spreading.


20th March 2020

10:50 am

Another day, another entry, I turn my mind to those that unlike me are not able to shut the door leave the horrors outside to stay safe and well. They must put their wellbeing at risk to keep us safe.

To these brave souls I pen this poem in tribute.



Dunkirk Spirit

In times like this we must remember

How lucky some of us are

We can run take shelter from the horror

Lock the doors, bar our windows

Try to keep the terror outside

Others don’t have that option

They must face the terror afresh everyday

To keep the rest of us safe, keep society going

I think and hope that is what people mean

By Dunkirk spirit

Those that put their safety in jeopardy

For the sake of others

Because to compare the spraying of bullets

The falling of bombs,

To a virus born on a breeze

Is an insult to those facing war

Every day of their lives

21st March 2020

7:30 pm

Today is the first day that pubs, clubs and restaurants have been closed. In my opinion not before time, to call time. But that is not what I want to comment upon, no I want to talk about the British mob mentality.


As I have said last night was the final night for some time that these establishments were open. You may think under the current circumstances it would have made little difference but oh no the pubs where rammed crammed. People had little or no consideration for their own health or safety, nor that for those they loved. No, they crowded into those infected spaces just to guzzle down the last drop of grog.


That is what I mean by British mob mentality.


On a much more pleasant and uplifting topic. Today I participated in the online SUTR online rally. A couple of weeks ago the March and rally’s in London and Glasgow were cancelled in response to the Coronavirus outbreak. So, it was very rewarding to take part in the online alternative.


Of course, it was wonderful to listen to many and varied inspiring talks from great orators from this country and across Europe. But also, after days into semi self and partly enforced isolation, it great to feel active and involved in making a positive difference.

Let’s hope there are more such online activities which will go some way to ensuring my mental wellbeing during this prolonged period of isolation.


So, I’ll sign off for today. But before I do here is my poem for today.


Calvary

Do not leave your bucket list

On a bookshelf to gather dust

Or, before long it will become

A dreamy desire left unfulfilled

We may all sing the same song

But we all sing it differently

We may all see the same scene

But paint different pictures

That is the beauty of

Diversity and difference

No voice sounds the same

No eye sees the same thing

Remember life is but a journey

Towards our own mount Calvary

Gather your cavalry, go find

What you want, the person you can be,

Before it is too late

You are my cavalry, so mount up

Let us ride off together, as one,

Then may be, we may achieve what is right,

Before it is too late

Another day of isolation passes

Sunday 22nd March 2020

12.45 pm

Another day of isolation dawns.

It is thirteen days since I self-isolated, back then it seemed different I chose to go into hibernation for my good and that of those close to me. During this period, it came down from on high that people like me should lock ourselves indoors away from my fellow comrades and citizens. Now it seems more like imprisonment, no longer in my control. Part afraid in these tense times that should I venture onto the street I may be chased off or even physically attacked for daring to go abroad.

On another subject I am struck by how you see things depends on where you view them from, on one’s experiences and life. In other words, perception. Let’s take the situations I comment on in yesterday’s entry. The fact that many took to crowding the pubs and clubs while they can before the close their doors for a prolonged period.

“While I look upon the act as being careless, selfish or foolish. Another sees the same act, as not allowing a dangerous situation to curtail their freedom and lifestyle.” As I said it is all about “perception”.


2.45pm

I have just been in communication with Manjit about bringing Poets against Racism (PAR). We have decided to post some poems on Facebook every Sunday, great idea. So, now like all poets I must decide on which poems to post, whether one already penned or write something new? Well we’ll see how my imagination sparks today. Watch this space and the PAR Facebook page for the answer to this quandary.


23rd March 2020

11.00

Today I hear a letter wings itself towards me direct from the NHS, stating from the date I receive it I must self-isolate for 12 weeks. Self-isolate they state, well I have been self-isolating for 2 weeks, but this won’t be recognised


This once more brings the importance of language to the foremost. Self-isolation is what It states that you do it to yourself, you are in control. Once it comes from another it becomes a command the control passes from you to another. The situation has moved from self-isolation to house imprisonment.


The poem below accompanies this thought.


Plagued

If we breakthrough this dreadful death plague

It will be like being freed from incarceration

Like a cage bird allowed to take flight

We are under house arrest

Afeared to set foot afield

In case, we are accosted by an unruly crowd

Will our front doors be crossed

Marked as placed deceased by plague

Like expectant prisons we wait patiently to be paroled


12.25

Just penned another poem so here I go:


Hibernation

Firstly, we stood still in self-isolation

Taking responsibility for our own safety

Fully aware of our own wellbeing

Feeling proudly of the health

Of those around you

Then word comes from on high

Stating we must lock ourselves

away from the outside world

condemning us into incarceration

locking us in house imprisonment

with all this change going on in our absence

we can only wonder what world

we’ll find when finally

we emerge from a

long and lonely hibernation

24th March 2020

1.20pm

When you are in isolation you have no timetable. I have often said that time is an enigma to me, and this is no clearer than now. Day becomes night, night becomes day. You can sleep during daylight and be bright and alert in the darkest hours around midnight. This can seriously affect your equilibrium, your emotional and wellbeing. In such times you can be watching T.V. at 3am, writing poetry at 2am or sleeping at 1pm. It would be so easy to let things lip and to be honest I have done in the past during similar times when I was in a dark please. So, I must try not to let myself slip. Hopefully others will help me, as I hopefully aid others.


I see myself as a social animal and rely on others to stimulate my mind, hence I am usually never home so being stranded day after day without human contact and stimulation is very testing. Thank the lord, for zoom and other video conferencing apps, but still I crave for human contact from varying types and situations.


Boris for all his faults and there are many, is struggling under the yoke of leadership and contrary to all my instincts I find myself feeling sorry for him. He is in a no-win position, if he comes down hard on people, he will be branded a dictator, if he is too soft, he will be called a weak lily-livered leader.


He has asked citizens to be responsible for the safety of themselves and others and self-isolate, which not only was ignored, people did the opposite and flooded out on the street and dramatically increased the chances of spreading the virus. Then when he increased his efforts and instructed people to only leave their homes in essential visits, once more this was totally ignored, especially in London. Do people living in our capital honestly believe it is one rule for everyone else and they are special or immune. These numskulls don’t seem to realise that through their thoughtlessness they are threatening all our lives.


What will it take to get through to them that this is serios, not a joke! Police detaining them in internment camps or the army rounding them up at gunpoint. Because that is exactly, what will happen if their stupid behaviour forces Boris’s hand. He will have no other option.

Here is today’s poem on that very topic:


People of Britain

People of Britain why do you act like fools

Everyone tells you we are all in peril

Yet still you travel abroad mingle and mumble

About being told what to do

Refuse to close their doors to the outside world

Self-isolation was a sensible choice

Most of you refuse to volunteer to do this

So, the government had little choice

Lockdown was announced in a firmer tone

Yet still, like truculent toddlers you refuse to comply

You still scurry and stamp on city streets

Like headless chickens, heedless mindless

of the damage you do, your actions delves us deep in poo

As you ignore what your told, for safety and se of us all

But must we be commanded locked down, locked up,

Before we realise the seriousness of our situation

If you turn your stubborn face to authority

Then the chance of coming out of this unscathed diminish

You put the lives of our loved ones at risk, shame on you

Be aware, beware, if you are not to be told, then you will feel

As the smoothing voice will be replace

By the butt of the baton to your bonce

The barrel of a gun pointed at your face

Before you yield must you bleed

Before you see sense, but we beat you senseless

For God sake, grow up, see what must be done

Before it is too late


On this solemn, sobering note I’ll sign off for today.

Wednesday 25th March 2020

1.30pm

That is after fourteen days in isolation finally got myself out of my comfy bed, yes you right stinky pit too. I know what you are thinking lazy f**ker and I must admit on many levels you are correct in that comment come opinion. But let me put forward a violable defence. (well sounds good in my head, let’s see what you think)

In these times of self-isolation, it is extremely hard, if not impossible, for people such as me to keep a safe distance from people. As an individual who is totally reliant on others for every element of personal care, it is impossible to maintain the 1.5 metre safe distance rule. I’d need to be a freak to be able to hit a pee bottle from 150 cm, or have lungs of a superhero to suck up tea through a 1.5m metre hosepipe, they say you need a long spoon to sup with the devil, well I would been Lucifer’s longest feeding utensil to stay safe while keeping alive.

The point I am trying to get over in my rambling way, is that by staying in my bed I am trying to keep my contact with others to a minimum and thereby ensuring we all keep as safe as we can under this trying times.


Safe distance

In these most trying times

We find out about true friendship and honour

Some suggestions are impossible to keep

Safe distance being one

People like me must have physical contact

To see to our simplest personal care needs

Without which I could never survive

I would be called a freak

If I could hit a pee bottle from 150 cm

Or, have the lungs of a superhero

To suck up tea from a 1.5m hosepipe

They say take a long spoon to sup with the devil

Well, one would require Lucifer’s longest utensil

To be fed from the safe distance and survive

So true friends make big risks

To keep you safe and alive

26th March 2020

4am

And so, it has happened my body clock has decided to revolt and hence I find myself said up on bed at 4.25 in the morning penning the diary entry. As I was lying in bed with verse running through my head I thought let’s get it down on paper before I forget it, normally when I am struck by the cryptic, mystic muses at such ridiculous hours of the day I try to shelf them till the morning and go back to sleep knowing I must get up to start a new day. However, as this isn’t the case these different days, I thought stuff it lets get up and give it a go!


So here I am my much-maligned Personal Assistant Mike answered the bell, sat me up, set my laptop up, looked at me slightly astonished then scurried back off to bed, muttering silly sod, or some such thing.


And here it is the idea that was planted in my mind and forced me up at such an ungodly hour.


Entitled

I may not be a Prince or Princess,

A Lord or a Lady,

Be acknowledged by the state,

Anointed by a church,

Honoured by the establishment,

Even though I hold no title

I am entitled to live my life

I refused to be one of

The loved ones you

Must be ready to lose

I can neither survive nor thrive

Through isolation, be it self-imposed

Or enforced by others

I thrive as part of a party

In fact, I view myself

As its life and soul

Do not view me as a houseplant

That can be potted, fed then placed and forgotten

I will wilt away and die

I am more bolshie, then Bonsai

Put me in a garden full of difference and diversity

Where we can all bloom, blossom and flourish

Let us use our senses to

Smell soft scents not strong stenches

See beauty before us not badness around us

Taste sweetness in every morsel

not sourness in every mouthful

feel people’s compassion and passion

empathise with people

don’t thrive on their pain

Let hope lift your heart

Let your spirit take flight

Soar high in the sky

Then maybe we can come

Out of these trying times

Bigger, better and stronger

Then we were before

So, I hope you think it was worth the raid into twilight time.

While I am here let me talk about some benefits that have come from the self-isolation enforced on us.

Firstly, it has given us the time and space for some self-reflection. In today’s hurly burly world we spend so much times doing things and so little time thinking about why we do them. During this time hopefully we can put aside same time for this, I fear however we will more likely spent more time panicking over what we are not doing.


7.30 am

During these times we need to find other ways to meet, plan and support each other platforms such as Microsoft Teams and zoom allows to do this very effectively. It also means we can expand our audiences and communities, people from far afield can now converse from the comfort of these own homes. One know when using such technology does not have to worry over travel, transport costs, whether the venue is accessible for everyone, including toileting facilities.

No one is saying once these restrictions are lifted, we shouldn’t just automatically go back to meeting physically, after all, we are social animals and need to meet, have bodily contact, but we should continue to use the tools at our disposal. After all, that is how humanity evolves.

Here is a short verse exalting the virtues of zoom.


Zoom

I find zoom such a boon

Never having to find a room

Worry if I can find that room

Gaining access to a space

Can be a real pain

With zoom I can stay home

Pee in peace

And still meet and mingle

At my ease and pace

Getting back is not a race

I wish stopping conversations

Was so easy, pressing mute

When you’ve heard enough

Or they are waffling on to long

Yes, I love to zoom

At any time of day,

or into the night


27th March 2020

Last night was Clap for carers, were people showed solidarity for the hard work carers do. Especially, during these testing dangerous times when they put their safety and lives at risk to ensure those most “vulnerable” in our communities are safe and supported. They do this whilst being paid the most menial pay while doing one of the most important roles.

Anyway, back to last night. Obviously, due to the crack downs a safety precautions surrounding Cov-19 we cannot gather in group to show support and solidarity, so people were encouraged to go onto their doorsteps, balconies, and clap for the carers at 8pm last night. I like many more who rely and appreciate the sterling work they do wanted to join in. Unfortunately, I am unable to clap due mainly to my condition making clapping impossible, so when I clapped it turned into me slapping myself in the face. A very humorous, slapstick moment (especially for Mike and Darren my P.A.’s). But it does show that those who think up these things, don’t think them through. An action to show solidarity excludes a large section of society ho rely on these heroes, yet they can’t take part.

My poem that accompanies this:


Clap

Tried showing Solidarity to Carers

By clapping for carers

Due to my coordination problems

Ended up a slap in the face

A clap ended in a slap

Painful but at least I tried

That’s how easy good intentions backfire

Here ends my Clap, Slap, Rap.

It has just been announced this morning that Boris Johnson our gracious Prime Minister has contracted Cov-19. That means he know joins Prince Charles, who contracted it on Tuesday. I posted on Facebook that shows that it’s not all doom and gloom, I am sure some may say that is in bad taste, but I say to them it’s called humour.

Last night I caught by on Emmerdale, (yes, I admit to being an Emmerdale and Corrie junky) I haven’t watched it much since the pandemic broke out. I was struck up the fact it is filmed weeks in advance, so we are currently watching a pre-pandemic world and I found it eerily unsettling. People still frequenting pubs, clubs and cafes, people still hugging each other in public and I found myself wanting to shout at the telly “STOP DOING THAT!”

On a serious note I wonder whether showing these pre-recorded programmes is wish. While the real world “goes to hell in handwash”, soap land goes on as if nothing has changed. Of course, for them nothing has changed. I wonder whether subconsciously people look at these scenes and think well if they can carry on like this, Why can’t we?

Does ITV have a social responsibility that mean they should not be broadcasting it in its current format?

I know this shall become a redundant conversation very soon as they run out of canned shows, but still an interesting question.


3pm

https://metro.co.uk/2020/03/27/people-syndrome-may-lower-priority-live-saving-coronavirus-care-12466194/?ico=pushly-notifcation-small&utm_source=pushly

And so, it begins…

Mark this time and date down in your diaries when the powers that be started to be decided who was worthy and unworthy of receiving treatment to be made better.

The State of Alabama in USA are the first to come out openly and say certain categories of disabled people should be left to die rather than wasting recourses on them. Yes, my condition is on that list.

This is how things started in Nazi Germany and look where that ended in Concentration Camps were millions where exterminated.

Don’t tell me it won’t happen here – it has already begun.

Scary frightening times to be alive – The question being for how long.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07JJFLZZC/ref=dm_ws_tlw_trk9


Akton 4

They came in the hours when none stirred

The time between the end of night

And the beginning of morn

They dragged him from his slumber

From his bed

None came to his aid

Some neither knew nor cared

Some feared they’d be taken instead

The only evidence he’d been there

The piss stain he left on the mattress

Taken to a hospital he’d draw

his fatal final breath

the death certificate reads pneumonia

reality reads barbiturate poisoning

body thrown in a mass unmarked grave

with hundreds like him

never to be named

never to be remembered

empty wheelchairs, redundant crutches their only memorial

thus, ends the life of a disabled boy

like so many of his peers

extinguished, expunged, forgotten, unidentified

because of Akton 4

Carried out at places like Hadamar

Why didn’t anyone take any action to stop Akton 4?

The true and honest answer

No one cared what was happening to those people

If they were left alone!

© Robert Punton

March 2018


Something I wrote in 2018, exactly two years ago to mark the murder, no extermination of thousands of disabled people during Akton 4 which took place in Germany in the 1930 – 40’’s.


I thought I was remembering our horrific past, not reporting on our present or foretelling a terrible impending near future.


6.45

Just finished my update of Akton 4, hot off the word processor –


Testament

The spectre of fear once more hovers over our houses

As the echoes of the past seep into our present

Things we hope were forgot come home to haunt us

Talk of unworthy of life, better off dead, useless eaters

Phrases thought dead and buried by many

We know find were only lightly covered over in shallow graves

Like we have been warning for ages,

yet you failed or refuse to hear us,

our words of warning bounced off walls flying over your heads

labelled us as harbingers of doom and gloom

we were placated and put in a corner while the ground

was made ready for the pyres that will burn our empty bodies

once more the plans of Akton 4 will updated

then swiftly puts into horrific deadly effective efficient action

the door of places such as Hadamar will be reopened

disabled citizens will be exacted from the arms

of their loving families and communities

entering building from which there will be no exiting

an injection will bring about the termination of our existence

our corpse will be shovelled piled high in huge ovens

incinerated until you can no longer

tell where one person ends another begins

mixed ashes scattered to the four winds

our only memorial the know redundant chairs and walking aids

as memories of us fade from loved one’s hearts and minds

so, hear my words, heed my verse, as they may be my last

a final testament of a live worth living


7.00pm

Well here ends my entry for today. A very alarming and interesting day, I have written more today than any previous day, but there has been much to report and ponder. To say we live in interesting times is a massive understatement, let us pray we survive these truly horrific times.


So, on that thought I will sign off for the day.

Let’s see what tomorrow brings.

Saturday 28 March 2020

3:00pm

Just spent an enjoyable inspiring 3 hours on zoom at SUTR national organisers conference. It’s is inspiring to realise that although millions in self-isolation or quarantine in fear for our lives, we can still let together plan and support our mental wellbeing.


One gets so engrossed in your own situation and problems, that we forget other people’s perspectives it is eye opening to be reminded that others, have it just as bad, if not worse, as they are coping with multiple discriminations on top of convid-19.


As people have said we may be socially inactive, that does not mean we have to be politically inactive.


I see reports that sports stadium are being converted into hospitals and more worrying temporary morgue, if nothing else shows us the extent of extreme situation we find ourselves in this does.


Well as nothing else comes to mind I am going to finish here and go and engulf myself in reruns of Law & Order. By the time this isolation is over I shall be an expert on Law and Order and Law and Order SVU, to the extent I shall be able to go on Mastermind with it being my specialist subject.


Okay I’m putting my typing finger away now.


1st April 2020

4pm

Well I haven’t written an entry for a few days. The reason being plainly, just couldn’t be arsed. Spent very little time on laptop or online, because all you heard, see online lately is negativity and despair where has all the happiness and hope gone.


I begin to think that fear, misery, despair and mental fatigue will be the death of us, much more then Covid-19.


F.E.A.R. (False Evidence Appearing Real) vs H.O.P.E. (Horizons Opportunities Possibilities Equity) When I use H.O.P.E. in this way I almost wish I had a stammer because I want there to be two h’s, two p’s and two e’s (happy horizons, positive possibilities and equity everywhere).

In these most trying of times, when we needs hope most it seems that fear once again fear wins the day. Is it only my negative feeling, or do people prefer to feed off fear.


Today is 1st April (April fool’s day) I wonder how many of us woke up this morning hoping that the last few weeks had been a massive April fool’s prank. Alas, it’s not the case.


I have written my April fool’s poem and posted it on my Facebook page several people seem to like it. Here it is:


April fools

It may be April Fools

But this is anything but cool

Sitting here on our lonesome stools

Awaiting instructions from those who rule

In fact, some may say it is quite cruel

Very short (for me), not very sweet, but to the point.


Today Mike and I Should have been on the final day of the Associates course in Malvern, of course, because of lockdown that has not happened. Everyone knew it but no official notification was sent until one of the group members thought that it might be a sensible idea to seek some clarification. How I wish he hadn’t. Now it transpires we have several more video conference calls over the next few months, as well as doing the final day in October.

I know they think they are trying their best to be positive and supportive but to be honest I am inundated with request for zoom and teams meeting, without them adding more.

As the days meld in weeks and then months I wonder whether our greatest fear is whether Covid-19 will kill us or whether it will kill those we love, that when we finally released back into our communities far less of our family, friends and comrades will be there to meet and greet us.


Another poem I have just penned leading from this entry.


Fear

As we sit in our empty rooms

Perched on our lonesome stools

Praying for freedom from the places

We once called homes

Our spaces or sanctuary

Are slowly being turned into prisons

Places we now cherish, we may soon loathe

Spaces we dearly love,

Turned into hovels we hate

The voices of those we hold dear

Will soon begin grate our ears

Muddle our minds

Do we fear more that this pandemic

Takes our lives

Or that when we are finally released

Allowed back into our communities

Those we love, our family, friends and comrades

Will no longer be there to meet and greet us

It has just been announced that 500 more British citizens have died from Covid-19 today. Which only goes to highlight what I wrote earlier. It is best to turn your senses off sometimes, if all you are processing is despair fear and depression.


3rd April 2020

10.55pm

Today the death toll in the UK hit 700 and 1,00,00,00 in the world scary times.

Today’s poem:


Venturing Out

Today I strolled in the backyard

Spent some time in the sun

First time set my wheel outside sine self-isolation

It may not seem much to shout about

But in these troublesome times

It felt quite courageous and progressive

As I like to say

Big things start with Small Progress Movements (SPM’s)

Who Knows may be next week

I might take promenade around my local park

I will need to be careful in case

My neighbour spot me

They may Stone me for daring to

During this pandemic

You may think I’m jesting

In the main I am

But in this current climate

Who confidently be sure

Had a very inspiring teams conference with Clenton, Jack my colleagues from CNS Giles Allen a friend of Jack’s, and Jim Thomas from Skills for Care. I know I have said this before I do love video conferencing.

Anyway, enough for now. Time for bed, as Zebadiah used to say. BONG!


4th April 2020

1.00pm

Earlier today it was announced that Sir Keir Starmer has been voted as the new leader of the Labour Party following a vote by the Party Membership. He replaces the Honourable Jeremy Corbyn.


Just as the election of Corbyn as Labour Leader back in September 2015 was a bright day for the working-class population of Britain, heralding in a period of hope for us all. I fear that the election of “Sir” Keir Starmer is the complete opposite a very dark day for the working-class.

It is reported that the purge of Corbyn supporters from the Labour Party NEC has already begun and Socialism has packed its bags and left the Labour Party. Many true Socialists look back on the days of Tony Blairs reign as Labour Leader with real sorrow and regret, how he betrayed our roots and rights by steering the working-class party too far to the right. If the early hour of ‘Starmer’ are anything to go by then this latest leader may make Blair look like “Lenin”.


Here is a poem I have just penned marking this momentous moment.


Starmered

I see the shadow of a Tory in the feature of his face

This new Labour Party leader “Sir” Keir Starmer

Forces me to stammer “He is a Sir for fucks sake”

Ask yourself this how can a knight of the realm

Lead a working-class revolution

I see a return to the days of Blair’s new labour

I am saddened but not surprised

I fear Socialism has packed its bags and Left the Labour Party

Leaving those who remain to be steered

to the right by Captain Starmer

We are forced to cry out into the void left behind

Who will fight for our rights now?

May the Heavens help us

I fear the worst as we

Baton down the hatches

and get ready for a battle

coming at me from all sides


Well while this allows us for a moment to be distracted it isn’t long before we are force back to the reality that shadows everything else the Covid-19 pandemic.


I was pointed in the direction of a report published by Dougherty Street Publishing, titled #Disability, coronavirus and international human rights, published on 21st March 2020 and updated on 2nd April 2020. See link below

https://insights.doughtystreet.co.uk/post/102g27s/disability-coronavirus-and-international-human-rights?fbclid=IwAR2dUT6m4ylNJzig_fBkCHJwGY03ag1_xlBXPpcJj-fcHSQMQzjDnmmVTkk


it is a must read and I cannot do it justice or go into it in detail here. They address four topics of concern in this post, which are as follows:


A. Information accessibility

B. Social distancing and isolation

C. Institutional care facilities

D. Equality in health provision


As I say you must read it for yourself and draw your own conclusions.

But what is striking is how little thought, consideration or care has gone into how we ensure the safety and survival of a section of our community, which is forced into vulnerability by the action and inactions of others. Sometimes, by ignorance, sometimes by blatant actions of people who frankly don’t give a flying fuck.


We all like to think we live in a world where bad things only happen through ignorance and lack of thought. In fact, for some if they don’t think like that they could go on.


But the truth is if we don’t recognise that certain sections of the world’s society would really prefer disabled people were not here and confront them and fight back then the reality of the situation is, we will soon cease to be. That is why such reports as the one above need to be read and shared with as many people as is humanly possible.


6.30pm

Childhood

In this time of self-isolation, we find ourselves, or should I say I find myself, doing a lot of self-reflection. That being of my present situation and my past.

Over the last few days, I have been giving much thought to my childhood and it has become clear that how I show things was very different to how others may have perceived things.

So, let me try to put things down as I see them, this may help others understand, but just as important may help me get things clearer in my mind.


Let us start by putting things in their historical time and place. As a child of the sixties, born in 1963, I was destined to be thrown into the murky world of “special education”, which anyone who went through this institution between the 60’s – 80’s will if they are honest with themselves, will admit, some with enthusiasm, some not so openly, that these where our darkest days in the direst of places.


Whilst the education establishments for normal” able bodied children had flourished, enlightened and educated those attending the cesspits that we were housed gave no thought to our educational or emotional wellbeing. We were parked there waiting until we were 16 when we would be shipped to residential homes where we would be housed until we shuffled off this mortal realm. Or, so the powers that be thought. I and some of my fellow peers, or inmate as we saw ourselves had other ideas.


If I had been sent to “normal” school back in ’69 I know that I would have never survive in that environment. A very small fish in an ocean of danger, there I would have been the bottom of the sea struggling to survive. As it was and I’m not boasting or denigrating others, here, as I grew into adolescence, I realised my intellect, personality and humour I realised I was a large fish in a very small pond.


I guess this is where perception and context come in. You see a couple of years ago I contacted someone through social media, (Facebook to be exact) I asked him to accept a friend’s request and the response I received shocked me.


You see he told me that as a boy at school I bullied him and that he had never recovered from the treatment I dished out to him.


When he told me this, I don’t mind admitting I was dumbfounded and horrified. Was I that evil teenager he portrayed me as. I had to do I lot of reflecting back upon my childhood and after standing back viewing things through a different lenses, both from his point of view and the lens of the adult me I can see why he has a completely different take of the tale.

I also spoke to an old schoolmate who shall remain nameless for his own reasons and he confirmed what this person said and what I really realised what was the truth I was a teenage school bully. This is a confession I am ashamed to admit and if I had the opportunity to apologise I would. I know that there were others that must have felt the same.


While I saw myself as a wilful child in a wilted body, trying to do the best I could with the limited resources at my disposal. Others saw me as a twisted mind in a twisted body, taking advantage and using them.


Who was right and who was wrong the reality is we were both right and wrong at the same time, it all belongs in the context and perception.


I am not trying to justify the actions I took or the things I did. I know what I did was wrong. It is just we are all prisoners of our own stories, victims of our past.


In my meagre defence I am conditioned by my condition, impaired by my impairment, disabled by how society sees and treats me. Until society changes their must always be strife if we are to survive. In this dog eat dog world, we must hunt, bite or be bitten, life or die. That is true of a child or an adult. No different know as in times gone by. It will I fear be ever so.


Here endeth my defence I can know only await your judgement, take your sentence and bear it the best I can. May whatever awaits my spirit have mercy on my soul and spirit.


At this most troublesome time it seems appropriate, almost cathartic to get this off one’s chest.


Signed

Robert James Punton – Dated 4th April 2020


7th April 2020

3.50pm

Well I haven’t written anything for a couple of days, the main reason being I haven’t doing anything in that time, not even opened my laptop.


Just lay in my bed watching t.v. vegetating hoping everything will just vanish, go poof

What has happening in that time people are becoming more paranoid either blaming or denying its pandemic fever at there. Mike my P.A. has come off Facebook things are so bad reading some of the stuff on there is beginning to affect his mental welfare. To be honest I don’t blame him.


The death rate from Covid-19 leaps up daily as of today the deaths stand at over 6000, jumping 854 today as of 4pm. The worst day so far.


In other news, our illustrious leader has been rushed into intensive care with coronavirus. It has just been posted that we should clap for Boris. I don’t wish to appear callous and I truly don’t wish anyone to die, but I can’t bring myself to clap for him. I am sure some of you will not be happy reading this, but I am just being honest.


I am writing this entry sat in the garden it is a warm sunny day for April and it is so ice to get out and fill my lungs with fresh air. (Well as close to fresh air as you can manage in Birmingham)


Here is picture to prove it really me out here.


And finally, before I go back to Amazon Prime or Netflix. Here is my poem for today.


Beautiful Day

What a beautiful day to sit in the garden

Soak up some sun rays

Dream of brighter days and happier times

Hope for times when we can sip cool drinks

From long iced glasses

Enjoying the comforting company

of those we now long for

in crowded garden gatherings

where we can mindfully and mindlessly mingle

without fear from contamination

8th April 2020

12 noon

Today I find myself returning to the subject of equality in a Capitalist World, or should I say lack of equality.


While thousands are dying by the day, it seems that when the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is taken into intensive care and he may die, then the national must stop and clap for his survival, I ask you where is the equality here.


As figures are reaching a thousand British citizens a day are dying of the Coviv-19 pandemic what lifts this man above the rest. In my opinion nothing, every person is equal. If I cannot clap for all, then I should clap for none.


Equity for All

I am not unkind or uncaring

I believe in equality and fairness for all

I wish no person harm or hurt

No man is more important than their neighbour

Whether they be Prince, Prime Minister,

Or a common person it matters not

One dying soul should not be held above

The thousands we lose from our presence everyday

If I cannot clap for all then I should not clap for any

Which is why I cannot, will not, Clap for Boris

If some see this as wrong, then so be it


Which only goes to show during these troublesome trying times that not all lives are treated equal, while the majority must take their chances, the high and mighty get preferential treatment.


Let us consider for a moment as football stadia across the country are being turn into morgues to house the dying, those passing from our presence before our eyes. If our neighbours continue to die at 1,000 a day, then within the next three months (which is the minimum period this lockdown will last) then will have enough corpses 90,000 to fill Wembley Stadium. That is very much a Conservative estimate.


As I have said before we must remember that this pandemic is not just a British nightmare. Only yesterday it was announced that in New York City, the authorities there were saying that they were being forced to open mass graves, to bury the bodies of their Covid-19 victims. Now that really is a frightening thing and a terrifyingly sad potent of things to come here.

As I’ve often remarked a stone thrown in a river in the States, soon leads to ripples being felt in the Thames. And from there across the rest of our country.


While I refuse to clap for Boris. I have nothing but enormous respect for those putting their lives in jeopardy every moment of the day to keep us all safe. The staff and now volunteers of the National Health Service. I would clap every moment of the day if it could keep them and us safe and alive.


Imagine that you joined a profession to preserve life, to treat the ailing, support the sick, ease those beyond repair comfortably to the final resting place. They were, are the embodiment of kindness and caring. Now they must marshal the dying to their tombs. Where not so long ago, hospitals were places were your loved ones went to be made better, now we shudder in fear as they enter these institutions, knowing that we shall probably never see them alive again. Add to this the certain knowledge that you will in all probability be joining those you aid soon. How soul destroying must that be? Yet, still they continue to serve without hesitation query or qualm.

Yes, they are truly heroes!

Here is a poem read by the Actor Christopher Ecclestone (of Dr Who fame), written by Matt Kelly, which expresses it far more eloquently than I can. The talent of a good poet is to know when another can say it better

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p088lnwd

And, so life goes on. It has only been just over a month since this nightmare of self-isolation began. It may seem longer, and goodness knows how much longer it will continue, all we know is prevail and endure.

They say what does not kill you makes you stronger. Well I hope it does the latter not the prior.


2.45pm

Just raised my sorry ass from bed, where I wrote the prior entry. I am now sat on my balcony soaking in some more sun.


Sitting here on a sunny April afternoon, with the birds tweeting in the trees, it’s difficult to tell that the Worlds going to hell in handwash.


10th April 2020

Negative Equality

Comments like “We are all in this together” and “Covid-19 is a great leveller” are not only meaningless and contrite they a blatant untruth. This pandemic strikes hardest and deepest at the poor, powerless and disadvantaged, those what start with next to nothing when you take the little support, they have away they truly are left without anything, defenceless to death. I call this what it is state murder.


That support is based on equality of need. Which gives people all the same support regardless of where they start from. Where support based upon fairness, equity support would, should be based on the level of support they need. Thereby bringing everybody up to the same level.


Equality support only maintains the status quo.


The image below best illustrates the difference of between equality and equity.


What this pandemic has brought about negative equality. Which has become the weapon that has brought despair and death to those already struggling to survive on a shoestring. Just as in positive equality does not take individual circumstances into consideration, neither does negative. So, when you remove the same amount of support from those having other support resources it does not have the same dreadful result as those who have no other form of support therefore many who struggle to survive can no longer do so.


For so many the term “vulnerable people” covers a multiple of sins, in truth there is no such thing as vulnerable people in there are only vulnerable situations that people are placed in by the actions and inactions of either themselves or others. So, we implore people to use the term “those in highest risk”.


The reasoning behind this change of term is that “those in highest risk” is far less negative language than “vulnerable people”. We live in a society where the powerful have dominance over the powerless and the words we use help set those boundaries and parameters.


11th April 2020

6.20 pm

True Trust

I am a human being not a bear

I can’t scurry into the corner of a cave

Settle down and sleep for six months

Don’t tell me about social distancing

I need physical contact to survive

From making a cup of tea, to having a pee

Someone must care enough to share our personal bubble

It takes bravery to come into someone’s personal space

It takes courage to allow someone into your personal space

Especially during these trying times where one is putting

Your live in each other’s hands, a partnership like hand in glove

Appropriate when the texture of latex has through

Taken the place of the touch of flesh through necessity

In the current climate of personal safety that is correct

It is touching to know we trust in our relationship

To do all we can to keep each other safe

This transcends the relationship between

P.A. and their partner, carer and cared for,

Nurse, Doctor and patient employer and employee

It is a relationship as intimate and trusting as any other,

it must be that way to work properly for both

During this current pandemic this has been

Clarified and crystallised

Surely even the most myopic amongst us

Must see this as a fact.


This is a poem a wrote today partly autobiographical, partly not. After taking part in the Trade Union zoom conference on Thursday evening, it became apparent that everyone involved in providing support and care for others. Whether that be in a hospital, care home or induvial home setting the relationship between those what provided care and support and those who receive care and support have a relationship beyond any other group undergoing lock down and/or self-isolation.


While it is sensible and realist to expect swaths of citizens to adhere to social distancing, for thousands like myself who have extremely high support needs it is totally a nonstarter. As I said in my poem when you are totally reliant on those for helping you to put liquid into your body and aid you to expel the waste out ( as I put mor poetically to make a cup of tea, or have a pee) then you can not keep your distance, remain metres apart. There must be a very large element of trust.


Contrary to what people think strangers can not support strangers with personal care in these times of global pandemic. You need a strong relationship for it to work.

It’s 8.30 now and I’m growing tired, so I am going to finish here for tonight and continue again tomorrow. Which will be a very strange day.


12th April 2020 (Easter Sunday)

2.30pm

Easter Sundays – Present and Past

Today is Easter Sunday my first one in which there are no eggs at all, either of the chocolate variety of those produced by chickens. I am not totally a vegan, but I am moving b degrees towards it. Even when I was a meat eater, I would go for days without eating meat, but there was rarely a day when I would not go without an egg. The main reason I didn’t proclaim myself a vegan from the beginning of my journey of cuisine change and discovery was the doubt that I could do without eggs. Here I must admit something, when I say I go without eggs I mean in their natural form, i.e. cooked, boiled, fried, poached, or scrambled etc., etc., etc. I still eat things with eggs in, especially if not exclusively cakes.


When it comes to the confectionary, chocolate type of egg, believe it or not, (and I know many out there who know me, will chose not to) I have not been over tempted by chocolate for some time, so, going without that type has not been a difficult chore. Time for another confession, toffees are my Achilles heel.


So, I can say without fear of being stuck down for lying, no eggs will pass my lips this Easter Sunday.


My days seem to be forming into a pandemic lockdown routine, today being no exception. Wake up around 9 am listen to some music on Alexa for an hour, then get up come out on to my balcony with my laptop, get some sun and fresh air. Take part in some zoom or team meeting get some virtual human contact and mental stimulation. Then write a couple of poems and/or a diary entry. After that read, listen to a book. About 7pm or 8pm go back into the house, eat dinner, watch some more tv, until around 10.30-11pm, when I’ll go to bed, maybe watch a little more telly then go to sleep. Then wake up and the routine begins again. Who can tell how long this routine will last.


I have reread on Kindle and listened on Audible to “A Tale of Two Cities” and “Great Expectations” and “Oliver Twist” by Charles Dickens. Now I am beginning to read, listen to, on the same devices “The Crimson Petal and White” by Michel Faber. I will let you know had that plays out, so far so good. Matt Lucas narrated Great Expectations which was highly entertaining.


I wonder how families are coping this Easter Sunday, it must feel strange. Those of a religious persuasion are unable to follow their faith in the usual way. Easter Sunday is a time when families traditionally gather to celebrate family live, that obviously isn’t happening this year because of Covid-19 pandemic lockdown.


I know in our bungalow-hood where there would usually be bustling with the noise of children (a short interlude just to inform you my routine has been interrupted by rain, as I scurry back indoors) as they rush around loudly making boy like screams and Mike cooking up a storm in the kitchen. But today we sit in silence, Mike and Darren sleep on their beds and I continue stoically with my lockdown routine.


This allows me time to daydream, to bring forward to the front of my mind the memories of my childhood family Easter Sundays when like many families we would gather.

Parents, children grandparents, sometimes Uncles, Aunties and cousins. As a family brought up in the Catholic faith, we would have to go to Easter Sunday service, often in our grandparent’s parish. After which you would go and roll your dyed painted eggs down the Castle mound until they are broken, then if you must eat said eggs.


Then back to before mentioned Grandparents house to gorge on an Easter Sunday lunch. After overeating on savoury and sweet delights, the adults slumber slouched in front of the unseen television, the children try to entertain themselves silently scared to make the slightest noise, in case, they awaken the sleeping adults. Copious amounts of wine have been drunk during the meal.


Once those slumbering giants resurface into consciousness. More food is offered, no one has need or want of it, but no-ones wants to refuse in can offence is taken by the offer. If their honest some dare not refuse.


So, homemade sandwiches, cakes and pastries are brought out and more gorging by all is undertaken, everyone knows that every cake, scone, or crumb left uneaten will be parcelled up and packed into your motor as you drive off home.

Once you can stuff no more into your overfed guts, what remains is taken away to be parcelled up. The bored offspring begin to make noises about wanting away, so everyone collects heir thins and in order of distance you need to travel to reach home, the various branches of this family tree take their leave, at peace knowing they have done their bit they must do for another Easter Sunday.

On their way home even if they had room for any more food they dare not call is for fish and chips, because the family matriarch would have a fit and no-one would ever hear the end of it.


I can still hear what she screech at such a sacrilegious thought. “How could you think of takeaway food when I cook such delicious homemade fare”

To her the thought that we kids where mentally screaming “Please, Please, we will give our souls for a golden crisp piece of chip shop cod”


This seems a good place to pull my mind back from the nostalgic past of long-gone family fun(?) and return to present times.


Before I close todays entry below, I share a poem I penned earlier today another shorter version of the story of past Easter Sundays.

Childhood Memories

My memories of Easter Sunday’s

Are happy ones

Of family gatherings,

trips to Grandparents parish churches

for Easter Sunday services

Afterwards of family picnics

Of sitting on blankets on riverbanks

Of serene peaceful scenes

Rolling dyed and painted hard boiled eggs

Down hills my parents had carried me up

In caring, gentle, loving arms

Eggs we had lovingly designed

Laying broken and destroyed

At the bottom of the hill

Having to painfully swallow those eggs

Hard as Hell

I have always hated hard boiled eggs

Oh, those childhood memories

Of Easter Sunday’s begone

But will never be forgotten


13th April 2020

2pm

Well today I had a nice surprise I got my first commission to write a poem. When I awoke this morning, a message was on my Facebook page from Josephine Dumont asking me whether I was a poet for hire. I jokingly said I was open to offers. She explained that she worked with a group of people, whom she knew some of which had passed, and she wanted to mark their passing acknowledge them in some way. She wondered whether I’d consider writing a poem. I immediately agreed that I’d be honoured to do so. We haggled over my commission and after much to-ing and fro-ing agreed a fair price of one frothy coffee and a slice of cake, once lock down was over.


I immediately got down to work, below is the results of my labours, which she seems pleased with the result.

Remembrance

As this pandemic plays out

Lights go out all over the world

The lights I speak of are living souls

Christian, Muslim, Sikh, Jew, religion matters not

Creed or colour is no defence, no protection

Ability or disability is no shield

To this horror we all can yield

Covid-19 hits us all

Care and compassion is what we can all wield

As we take to the field in defence

So, once this lock down is picked

We are once more set free

Look up to the night skies

Where stars are born, to mark the passing of souls

Gives thanks to those we have lost

Be assured to those who care, those who matter

Your lives mattered; we will honour you; we will remember you


In other news today is Michael Orme’s birthday. It must be weird trying to celebrate a birthday under lock down you can’t go out or get proper birthday greetings from your nearest and dearest. His sister came to the door, but due to social distancing she couldn’t give him a hug. His partner Darren although living in the same house could in any shade of form display and physical contact.


We take about the emotional effect on people of this lockdown this is one of many examples.


I put a message on his Facebook page (he has reactivated it to receive his many birthday wishes) which went as follows:


“Happy Birthday Michael Orme hope the sun shines bright for you today. I am lucky to have you and Darren Harrison as PA'S and pals as the last weeks have proven without doubt. Without your support God know what position I'd be in.”


This is not an empty sentiment I meant it. I know from the messages, comments I read and hear how many in my position are struggling to cope, survive during lock down. Without Mike and Darren, I’d be in the shit, literally.


Nike had planned to spend his birthday sunbathing in the back garden, unfortunately, it is far too cold out there to do this. I think he’s a whosh and he should still go out there and brave it, it would make a wonderful picture to share on Facebook.


It is gone 3.30 and here I lie in bed I think today I might just stay here.


Following my long entry yesterday on ‘Easter Sundays – Present and Past’, I have penned another poem along similar lines, ‘Tranquillity’ here it is:


Tranquillity

Wistful memories of long-gone family picnics

Nostalgic fleeting images fly freely across my mind

Being carried seemingly without strain my loving caring parents

To these serene picturesque sights, so pleasing to the eyes

So tranquil to the mind, sun beating down from cloudless skies

Laying upon blankets upon sweet smelling grass

The river Coquet flowing silently and strongly alongside

As it had for millennium before we came,

as it would continue to for centuries, after we pasted

the castle towering over the scene and us

as if it was whispering, this is where your family comes from

this is where you belong, do not forget the fact

It was as if you had no worries, no fears

If only you knew, if only you could bottle that moment

Stay there forever, then everything would remain

Perfect in your world, for all time


Along with a picture of Warkworth Castle which I took from Flickr. I hope I don’t get done for copyright infringement. If I do then hey-hoe there we go.


Well I think that’s my lot for now. I’m off to catch up on my Sky recordings, as I hate to see it grow too long.


Take care, catch you soon.


23rd April 2020 (St. George’s Day)

11.45pm

Well it has been some day’s since I made my last entry, or last confession. It’ not as if I have not had anything to say. It is just that the last week has been busy with work. Who would have thought that lock down would mean more meeting. Every day there are team meetings and zoom conference calls, if not SUTR, it is SWP or Union meetings conferences with carers and people who use services.


On the work front we seem to have time calls between Clenton Jack and I as work comes in. good in many ways but it has meant my diary duties have been neglected

Today is St. George’s Day sad to say there are no end of dragons that need slaying this day.

I had some good news on Sunday following a conversation on Facebook with Adam Linstead one of the actors that helped me record my ‘Bitterfly Justice’ cd, he agree to video record some of my newer poems. These included, Testament, Tranquillity, Remembrance V2, Welcome to Our World, United Front V2.


On Tuesday I had a zoom call with him in which he told me that as a freelance actor the pandemic had hit him hard. Theatre actors where among the first to be laid off and will be the last to return, maybe as late as next year. They cannot be furloughed so he cannot claim 80% of his wages, which means he will have to claim universal credit. Who would have thought it. When Covid-19 struck Adam was playing Andre in ‘The Phantom of the Opera’.

Adam shared one of his poems with me, which was really good, he does not feel confident to share wider yet, I feel privileged that he would share it with me. He also said that he writes short stories for his six-year-old son Rory which he might share with me who knows we may have another A. A. Milne and Christopher Robin here.


Talking Rory Adam shared a video on Facebook of him singing ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ with Rory dancing behind him. It is very funny. I post on link that Rory had upstaged his dad.

See link below. https://www.facebook.com/adam.linstead/videos/10158342117974433/

Something far from funny which was reported that the government had flipped the results of the Covid-18 tests for the Health workers staff, which meant that those without Covid-19 where told they had it and visa-versa. Resulting those affecting going to work, those not affected staying home.


As Mike Orme put so well. “You would not trust these buggers to run a cold bath”


See link below.

https://news.sky.com/story/coronavirus-nhs-staff-offered-new-covid-19-tests-after-initial-checks-found-to-be-flawed-11976873?fbclid=IwAR3YMb20oB2inxGP_YW8kL3p8DCii-xGc0ajXFagkBbBmmT8WjSMPcAz7Y4


Well yesterday it finally happened I had a lock down meltdown. After five weeks of self-isolation I could not take anymore and blow a gasket. It was like a geyser blowing, I shouted a swore at those close to me. I suppose it was destined to happen, being forcefully contained in one place for so long.


It was a ridiculously small thing that made me close my grip, the external mic on my laptop malfunctioned meaning I missed a conference call. It was nothing really, but it was the final straw that broke this cripple’s back, if you excuse the misquote.

Here is the poem about I wrote this morning.


Pandemic Purgatory

A lock down meltdown happened

To me on the other day and others paid

Weeks of frustration flood out

Told those dearest and nearest

To go forth in much more colourful language

Lost my grip, ripped a strip

off the innocent close to me

as the guilty go about their business Scot-Free

I feel like a drowning man and the people in power

Are describing water not throwing me a lifeline

How much can a soul take, before they break

Even a saint, which I am not,

would snap under such circumstances

we sit here day on day

wondering when this will conclude peacefully

there seems no end to our pandemic purgatory

who must repent before we can be set free


Before I go there are three videos, I must share with you. All very funny Number 1

https://www.facebook.com/ian.henery.3/videos/151465903038169/?__cft__[0]=AZXwVN1FClzgCr6zKlADsdbQLqVS9T9QWWvsTnp4xlYA6BgQVRzXXDANQ2xEjjxeU3HUQslyo7hTviFaGKeaRyZ3MABdKEI_LFlxu-ZMhnLxwpTNbvEthxY8M1VHJ6hdNic5YtyMf4fIqQtkYGmBxLhY&__tn__=-UK-R

Number 2

https://www.facebook.com/ian.henery.3/videos/153005096217583/

and Number 3

https://www.facebook.com/robert.punton/videos/10222607345152281/

Well this seems to be a good place to finish this St. George’s day entry.


Stay safe, Stay home, Stay happy stay united at a distance.


12th May 2020

10am

This is my first official entry of the Journals of Pandemic. I have been keeping a diary for over a month, but entries have dried up lately. So, when Ana invited me to join this project it kick started me into action.

So, I woke up this morning to the sun beaming through the bedroom window. And I wonder what the second day after Boris the Buffon address the nation.

The First day played out as many thought it would total pandemonium and panic amid the pandemic. People taking to the road afraid to use public transport, others crammed into tubes like suicidal sardines. None want to be there but are forced by the threatening undertones of our Leaders message. The most dangerous aspect to all this is that it will make things worse.

On a personal level as a person seen as vulnerable, I won’t be allowed out for some time, not that I would my anxiety levels are sky high I fear what world I will face once I dare put my footplate outside my front door.

I am a poet and I mix my journal entries through a mixture of prose and poetry. So, here is one I wrote the other day based on ‘Anxiety’.

Anxiety

I call a pox on those in power Not because of the pandemic More the way they handled it How their actions have made me Others feel and fear Before I would roll out ride out Without any fear or foreboding I saw putting social injustice right as my role Be it rain sleet snow or shine I would march Shout loud and proud for the causes I fought Now I cowed in the corner of my home My house has me imprisoned through lock down Afraid to put foot or footplate passed my front door In case the comrades I once stood proud beside Infect me cause my death by getting too close You have turned me into this timid creature One who would before ride, now prefers to hide I curse you, as I wonder, will I ever be the carefree campaigner I was before so, I call the pox down upon you for causing this anxiety I am sitting up in bed now listening to my ‘favourite’ playlist on Alexa. Wondering what to have for my breakfast, while my Personal Assistant Mike cleans up the kitchen. So, I will sign off for now. Talk later.

12.30pm

I have just checked out the entries of the other contributors of the Journal of Pandemic and I see I have a lot to live up to here.

I have decided to spend a day in bed and take care of my body. Although I am in lock down, I find myself going from one online meeting to another and spending long hours of the ay sat in my powered wheelchair. Today I do not have to attend any so bliss I can lounge in my bed all day.

We have Mike and Darren’s (my P.A.’s) grandchildren staying with us at moment it nice to hear children’s laughter round the house again. Even though I will not admit it out loud! I have peened another poem and done some tidy up work on Adam’s video. Which has been posted on YouTube (I will put link up so you can see it).

Off to watch some TV now

8.00pm

Took some time out this afternoon to catch up on NCIS, Law & Order and Law and Order SVU. Mindless telly but it helped me zoom out and forget about pandemic, lock down and isolation self-inflicted and not.

I am about to have my tea which consists of fishcakes and macaroni cheese lovingly produced by my Personal Assistant (P.A.) Mike. Then return to catch some more tv until bedtime.

And thus, ends the first day of the week eight of my self-isolation. A very relaxing and laidback day. No doubts the days ahead will make up for it.


Monday 18th May 2020


10.40am

Well it has been a week since my last entry. They say a week is an along time in politics, that is certainly true in pandemic political times. While the rest of the world, including Scotland, Ireland and Wales talk and exercise caution in coming out of lock down, not our Boris. No typical of him, it is wham, bam, thank you madam. The economy has taken a bashing so no time to waste, let get out there make the rich more money.


One minute it is you must stay indoors the next it is you must get out there do your thing. Is it any wonder people are baffled and confused. The broadcasts have been ridiculed by comedians and public alike. But it is no laughing matter his bumbling callous attitude to the safety and lives of people could and probably will end up with thousands more dying and an even stricter second lockdown.


It is one thing expecting health and social care workers to put their lives on the lines to support and care for other human beings. It is something entirely different asking school staff to put lives at risk. No one will die if children do not go back until September, like they are doing elsewhere, but they might if they open schools too soon.


It really does astonish and astound me the arrogance of Boris Johnson that he knows better then everyone else in the world. What baffles me even more is people blindly follow him like bleating sheep. When will someone come out and say this Empower has no clothes.


The teachers and staff unions are coming out on mass saying the times no right for going back. But the government is adamant primary and secondary schools will open on 1st June, but it has the same feeling


This may appear like another show down between the government and unions, but it has the same feeling to me of the face off between Thatcher’s government and the Miners’ union in the 1980’s. If Boris’s government get there way and schools open on 1st June, then the floodgates will open and the powers that be will be able to implement their will, riding rough shot over the civil rights of every citizen.


As a Scottish Angela McCormick (I hope I spelled your name right) colleague said, “if now is not the time for the unions to stand and fight, then when is”. I echo her message and go further ‘it is time for every man woman and child to stand up, stand firm and fight’, otherwise we will not only lose this battle, we risk losing the class war.


Here are a couple of my poems on my thoughts, on this subject.


Parliamentary Pretenders

Oh yes, we are the Parliamentary pretenders

We pretend the pandemic is no longer around

We need to convince gullible citizens it is safe to go out

To go back out make us loads of cash

Oh yes, we are the Parliamentary pretenders


Oh yes, we are the Parliamentary pretenders

We pretend the pandemic is no longer around

Making profit is our sole goal as Capitalists

The safety of the people is not our concern

Oh yes, we are the Parliamentary pretenders


Oh yes, we are the Parliamentary pretenders

We pretend the pandemic is no longer around

The schools must open on time,

not to do so would be a crime

The populace must learn that lesson

Oh yes, we are the Parliamentary pretenders


Oh yes, we are the Parliamentary pretenders

We pretend the pandemic is no longer around

The old, disabled, and weak only drag their feet

We would all be better off if they were not around

Oh yes, we are the Parliamentary pretenders


Oh yes, we are the Parliamentary pretenders

We pretend the pandemic is no longer around

These health and social care workers bleat like sheep

About have no PPE protection at work

they should be grateful they still have jobs

Oh yes, we are the Parliamentary pretenders


Oh yes, we are the Parliamentary pretenders

We pretend the pandemic is no longer around

The sooner we can get lock down locked away

The quicker the people will once more know their place

Oh yes, we are the Parliamentary pretenders


Teachers

Teachers Teaching Assistants, all school staff

Do not let them turn heroes into martyrs

Do not let them bully you

Especially as the cause for which

You put your lives on the line

Is not your cause

It is time to stand up, stand firm

Educate the ignorant

Those who do not know

The value of all human life

Young and old alike


2.10pm

From a personal perspective this week has been a good week first the “journal of Pandemic” agreed to publish my diary, hence you lucky people reading this.


Then Sean Cronin film actor and director has agreed to join the amazingly talented theatre actor Adam Linstead in video recording a selection of my poems. So, keep your ears and eyes peeled for that. I will post on youtube and in this journal.


Talking of Adam, he has done another wonderful job of recording my poem “Remembrance”. This poem was my first commission, Josephine Dumont one of my Facebook friends wanted to have a poem to remember some of the people she had lost through Covid-19 from her group. So, I wrote the poem for her. The price of the work was a frothy coffee and a nice cream cake, which I still have not been able to collect due to lock down, but I’m sure she won’t welch on the deal. (joking Josephine)


Tuesday 19th May 2020


12.15pm

Today is a lovely sonny hot May day the type of day were you could easily forget that Covid-19 is still stalking our streets terrorizing our spirits.


I got up this morning and sat on my balcony and started my daily routine which has not deviated much from the routine I outlined in an earlier entry. Before long, the sun came over the bungalow roof, it was so bright, so hot, that I had to retreat indoors, as I could not see the screen for the glare and my balding head began to burn. Hopefully later I shall be able to venture back out when cooler. So, here I sit sharing my muses with you.


It was not till this morning I realised that I had gained a day and that the 19th was repeating itself, as I had identified yesterday as the 19th. It just goes to show how after 7 weeks of lock own days merge seamlessly into each other.


After finishing yesterday’s diary/journal entry I had a meeting with my colleagues and other interested parties around how we can develop a training programme which helps people channel their resilience following lock down. People have put a lot of thought into people’s physical wellbeing, allowing time out to do some form of exercise outdoors way from our houses. But extraordinarily little has been done around people’s mental and emotional wellbeing both during lock down and coming out of it.


As a training provider we must be aware that the way people gather has changed over this pandemic time and lock down. People will be very wary of meeting together in confined spaces so we must look at other ways of facilitating their learning and self-development.


About coming out of lock down I have like many more have severe anxiety over how I manage the reintroduction back into society. This is made worse by the media’s portrayal of disabled people and person’s with “long-term conditions”, will the general populace look differently upon me and others like me?


I have expressed my anxieties and concerns as usual through my poetry. Here are a selection of my verses.

Condition

If this pandemic kills me, which well it might

It will not only be the disease that ends me

It will be the indifference to my condition

It mirrors the Western world’s outlook on my condition

I have a lifelong condition which colours

clouds your vision of me

Which means you care not about my condition

Which in turn will probably mean my condition

Will bring about the end of me

We are all conditioned by your opinion of my condition

I have spent decades trying to overturn

others systematic conditioning to my condition

alas, to no avail, so towards death I must sail

Greatest challenge

Cowering in bed under my quilt

Crouch in a corner of my lounge

Looking out through planes of glass

At a world I no longer recognise

A stage of rage, A state of hate

When I venture out on to my balcony

To get a breath of fresh air

I do not smell the beautiful scent

Or peonies or honeysuckle

The stench of pity and hypocrisy fills my nostrils

Prior to March I would march through my city

Head held high, greeting strangers

Collecting and conversing with comrades and friends

Now anxiety grips the pit of my being

At the thought of my venturing beyond my front door

Scared stiff at the prospect of encountering loved one

Never mind greeting complete strangers

I do not blame the pandemic for this frightening plight

That lies squarely at those in positions of power

Those deemed as Leaders have shown no leadership

Left us to swim alone in a manmade

Shit storm without adequate protection

Then put guilt on us for drowning in the waste

Then they wonder why I call them a waste of space

When this long dark night finally ends

Those of us who survive are left standing or sitting

Will enter a very a vastly different place

We all will have to find our place and space

Once more get people to see not what wrong with us

Focus on what is strong with us

We will have to be brave to join this new world

Where people have been conditioned t

To see my condition as something to fear

Once again, I must steer people to see

The power of my person, not the powered chair

This is my greatest challenge of all



Post Pandemic World

I strain my eyes and ears hoping

To hear any sign of new life

All I sense in response is the sound of silence

Not a pleasant peaceful sound

No, the eerie sound of fear

As I perch in my lounger