Literary Lockdown

021 – Let Them Teach

Let Them Teach

Homeschooling? How are you getting on with it? 
How’s that working out for you?
How do you think you’d be getting on with it
With thirty kids, not one or two?

Where you couldn’t change the wifi password
Or send them to their rooms
And their parents don’t believe a word 
When parents evening looms

We do not pay our teachers enough.  We don’t.
They truly deserve far more than they get
And worst of all, when your child gets inspired
We don’t let our teachers teach, lest some target not be met

If and when we send our kids back
Once more, unto the breach 
Let’s rally behind our teachers
And let them bloody teach.

(c) Michael Gurner – May 2020

Literary Lockdown

020 – Common Sense

Common Sense

‘Why don’t people just use their common sense?
Instead of guidance in a pandemic? You stupid fucking twat.
Those who agree with you, and those who ‘knew why they voted for brexit’
If you ever need a circle, then look at the Venn diagram for that.

Before you start – I know you that you know why you voted to leave
And what common sense means to you
But your inability to see that not everyone agrees
May well be common, but sensible?  Untrue.

It’s why we have speed limits and tests of our driving
And anywhere else where the outcome
Of people just doing whatever they think
Means that countless more people succumb.

So shh common-sensers, hold onto your tongues
And stop with your whinging – it’s insane.
We need proper guidance and rules for our health
To avoid death figures peaking again. 

(c) Michael Gurner – May 2020

Literary Lockdown

019 – Flirty by Nature

Flirty by Nature

It’s oft remarked in recent days
That birdsong seems more present 
Perhaps we’re more inclined to hear
A chorus rich and pleasant

Though today I stopped to think awhile
Engrossed in sounds diverting
I realised what we’re listening to
Is horny birds just flirting

(c) Michael Gurner – May 2020

Literary Lockdown

018 – This Is Not Accidental

This Is Not Accidental

Prepare the detail, then make the announcement
Not make the announcement, and then have to say
We’ll explain all the detail a little while later
So confusion then reigns for the following days

The voice in your head shouting out loud and clear
Asking ‘how can they get this so wrong?’
Needs to pause and consider that all your confusion
Is just what they want all along.

This cannot be accidental.  It can’t.
So what is the purpose not stated?
It has to be there to distract us from all
Of the hideous mess they’ve created

While we try to define what they want us to do
We’ve stopped asking how we got here
And why we should trust just whatever they mean
When and if that should ever become clear.

(c) Michael Gurner – May 2020

Literary Lockdown

017 – Sounding the Alert

Sounding the Alert

And so we all find ourselves waiting
On the edge of our still locked down seats
For our PM to bring forth his update
On how we’ll return to the streets 

Whatever confusion he brings us
However unclear are his words 
We know that we’ll have a new slogan 
To magically safeguard our herd

Staying Alert ‘stead of Staying at home 
Seems reckless in any extreme
And Taking Control of the virus? Absurd.
I’m disturbed at how crazy that seems

And so while the government dither
And the media brief in their stead 
The public continue to make their own rules
And the virus continues to spread.  

(c) Michael Gurner – May 2020

Literary Lockdown

016 – Ooh! Look Over There!

Ooh! Look Over There!

Have we got a target for you! 
So stop all your worrying now. 
We’ve really outdone ourselves here
It’s so stunning we’re taking a bow

This new target’s massive and shiny
Perhaps the best target there’s been 
That last target’s really old hat now
It’s lost all its glamour and sheen

Ok we’re not currently meeting 
The last target figures we set
But look at this shiny new target
Which luckily isn’t due yet 

(c) Michael Gurner – May 2020

Literary Lockdown

015 – V is for Remembrance

V is for Remembrance

The perspective that time has bought, should be woven into this day
Lest we fall into the same trap, that led there in the first place
This was not victory over Europe.  This was not even victory over Germany.
It was victory over fascists, who had sought to create their master race

Victory over those who believed that simply by accident of birth
They were born to rule over all they despised 
That their ancestry and bloodline was so superior to others
That it gave them the right to demonise

Demonisation of ‘The Other’, left unchallenged.
Led to Genocide.  It.  Always.  Will.
Events like today need to remember, not any superiority or victory
But our fragility and that the risks live with us still.

(c) Michael Gurner – May 2020

Literary Lockdown

014 – Cold Metal in my Hand

Cold Metal in my Hand

I’m trembling.  Both physically and mentally.  
This is genuinely terrifying.  
I feel the weight in my hand, the cold metal in my palm. 
I’m torn tween exhilaration and crying

I raise my hand, surprised again at how unwieldy it feels
Feel the pressure gainst the side of my head 
It’s time.  I need to do this.  I’ve suffered too long. 
But my mind is filled with fear and dread

But as I stand there, staring intently at the tired face in the mirror 
I have a question for the face I see reflected there 
Should it really be so hard, should it be so tough for me
To use these clippers to cut my own hair.  

(c) Michael Gurner – May 2020

Literary Lockdown

013 – The Video Call

The Video Call

You’re on mute.  Click the microphone.  You’re on mute!
I can’t hear you.  Can you hear me?  Don’t speak – nod or thumbs up?
You’ve turned the camera off now.  It’s off.  I can’t see you now.
Can you see me?  Are you nodding now?  That won’t help.

Gallery view.  GALLERY VIEW!  Top right hand corner.
Are you on a Mac or a PC?  Phone or tablet?
What do you mean you don’t know?  You must know!
Is it in your hand or on your desk?  It can’t be both!

That’s in virtual backgrounds, but I’d leave it for now.
Focus on looking at the camera.  That’s just your forehead.
Now I’m looking at your chest.  Mum!!!!
No – you’ve muted yourself again.  Oh god.

(c) Michael Gurner – May 2020

Literary Lockdown

012 – Bottle Bank Shame

Bottle Bank Shame

There’s no space in the house – windowsills are full to brimming 
They’re everywhere I turn and it’s no game
Pretending they’re a feature stopped convincing long ago
And there isn’t anybody else to blame

All cupboards full of toilet roll and pasta, so they’re out
I understand that reason’s pretty lame
I cannot use the garden, case next door should chance to see
Though I hope and pray their house is just the same

Is it an essential trip, maybe go after dark?
Avoid the risk of negative acclaim?
But if they hear me clinking there’ll be no way to deny 
The extent of my bottle bank shame.

(c) Michael Gurner – May 2020