Day 29 — the end of my GloWriMoPo 2-part poem experiment

29 Emergency.jpg

While I don’t think this poem works as well as I hoped it might, I was keen to complete because I thought it an interesting idea & I wanted to try & show in semi-poetic sense how acts of non-isolation impact others. Given a chance I’d restructure the first part giving me more flexibility in part 2. And once this month’s all over, & I’ve recovered, I might just do that.

Here’s the link to the first part if you want a refresher.


Quarantine: part 2

what Donnie did this week

1. the days in bed didn’t help
he ended up being rushed to hospital
where he’s spent the last week
on a ventilator …

a selection of consequences of the things Donnie did instead of staying home

1. Plane
several people at Donnie’s church feel unwell.
including the pastor who has performed three funerals in the past 48 hours.
the lady that prepares the community meals hasn’t come in for days
one of the cabin crew felt feverish in Perth a couple of days later
  but had to work a flight back to her home Brisbane
  before she could self isolate.
her housemates have been looking after her.  

2. Shops
1st time. the check out girl who served him caught what Donnie has
 — but as she’s a casual with no sick leave
   she’s been at work every day since.
2nd time. the woman who used his trolley after him has a cough.
3rd time. when he coughed without covering his mouth
   the butcher couldn’t avoid breathing some in.

3. Grandmother
his grandmother died
   (though she has lots of loo paper in reserve).

4. Beach
thankfully Donnie encountered no one at the beach.

5. Haircut
his barber has come down sick.
his barber’s young son too.
  & the mum of the kid next door who looks after him after kindy.
his barber’s son’s kindy teacher is sick, but has recovered.
  her mother has not.
his barber’s parents are also feeling ill.

6. Bus
three passengers that Donnie coughed near are sick,
   including one who has CF: she has been hospitalised
   & is in a critical condition
one of the nurses at the hospital is so overwhelmed
   he’s contemplating suicide.
the single mother he sat next to is having trouble breathing.
   she doesn’t know who’s going to look after her young son.
two high school students had the virus without even really knowing.
their English teacher was not so lucky.
the driver has died.

7. Mates
Gary felt crook but kept going to work.
Gary’s boss has a fever.
Greg too felt a bit funny, but stayed home in bed.
Greg’s wife is now in bed too (& not in the fun way).
Greg’s wife’s mum dropped off some soup for them.
   and did a bit of tidying up.
   now she’s having trouble breathing.
Bill is fine.

… sadly Donnie
has recovered.

Day 24 — doing one’s bit in trying times #notallheroes

winner TRIM.jpg

A smaller more personal poem today, after the excesses of yesterday.


peak pandemic

how perfectly pleasant
to sit inside  rug on lap
book in hand  tea by side
warm as butter  slowly
melting into  hot crumpets
dog  snoring nearby

while outside  trees writhe
in the window-rattling
thunder-spreading wind
the sky grey  in all ways
& the rain hits the roof
like  a million microscopic
viruses trying to breach
my home’s   defences 

all while knowing 


life has reached peak



Note: I’m borderline embarrassed to admit (but not quite really) that I almost spent more time looking at images of cups of tea next to books by rainy windows than I did writing the poem. OMG I’ve discovered a new way (as if one was needed) to waste valuable interwebs time.

Day 18 – silly Sunday, but a day early

18. Rubysickly

Last week Silly Sunday was a day late, this week a day early. Next week will be the correct day I promise.

The reason I’m posting silly Sunday today is that the prompt for #TheDirtyThirty2020 (which I’m also doing this year, why, not sure, seemed an okay idea once upon a time) was limerick. For which I wrote two, both Coronavirus related. So in the efforts of saving time, energy, & getting back into bed sooner, I’m doubling up by posting here too. Technically since I wrote two limericks I’m covered anyway, but enough justification.

Also, what’s the record number of naps taken in one day? Asking for a friend.


There once was a ship Ruby Princess
Whose arrival caused much distress
…..for most had a virus
…..but Dutton was desirous
At home they all should convalesce

There once was much talk of a curve
how now it’s flat we needn’t observe
…..cos we’re tired of inside
…..even if others must die
Which you gotta admit takes some kinda nerve

Day 17 — social isolation

17 jetty

Pretty self explanatory. Trying to play round with form & content.


the distance we’ve been given

& then almost overnight
the whole world changed
& together we faced something
we hadn’t experienced before
(or at least not for a hundred years)

we learnt a new vocabulary
we  distanced  ourself  socially
we focussed on    curve   flattening
we  realised    remembered           perhaps
just           because        we’ve       doing
      something        for          a

few                  decades                                  doesn’t

mean                                                 we

need                                     to                                         keep







Day 06 – close to home

Red V big

Not much explanation needed tonight.



in these anxiousladen : hypertensile times : over doctor googling : affects mental health : almost more than any virus : attacking flesh

a pre-exisiting history of weak lungs : can’t account for : this shortness of breath : when walking : into the next room : to make another cuppa ; every whimpered cough : bubbling up like lukewarm lava ; the-not-quite-hot : but-definitely-warmer-than-bugsnug : flushes ; the soft aches of exhaustion : in every cell ; the intermittent bouts : of nowhere-near-migrainial misery : but discombobulating enough : to warrant frequent napping ; all adds up : to not quite anything 

simultaneously : not wanting to : over-react : read too much into it : complain : cos it’s probably nothing : don’t want to : over-whelm : the local medical centre : probably : just a hangover : from last month’s laryngitis : after all : other than living in a : designated cluster area : what chance has there been : to jump on : this global pan-wagon

Day 05 – my first ever 2 part GloWriMoPo(em)

Sick at home with high fever

Um, this still isn’t the poem I promised yesterday; that’s the “trouble” when there’s lots of ideas bouncing round all the time. (You might get that poem one day or you might not.)

But this isn’t quite the poem I was hoping to present today either — hence the brillo idea of making it a 2 part poem. Part 2 will make it’s way onto these pages in a week or so. (I love it when form & content inform each other.)


Quarantine: part 1

8 things Donnie did last week instead of staying at home

1. Disembarked the Ruby Princess … & caught a plane back to Adelaide
2. Bought some toilet paper, he had plenty … but was on the shelf so why not
3. Visited his grandmother, gave her a hug … & the loo paper too cos she was out
4. Spent the day at the beach … probably the last warm day before winter
5. Got his hair cut, sneezed once or twice … those chemicals always set him off
6. Caught the bus, coughing as he did … people looked at him, big deal
7. Returned to the shop three times … cos he kept forgetting things
8. Visited a few mates for a brew … though Bill, the bastard, wouldn’t let him in

What Donnie’s doing this week

1. Feeling under the weather … so decided to have a couple of days in bed

Day 02 – the apocalypse tiptoes slowly in

02 Villette

Hmmm, another nice one. When does the apocalypse get here?

Patience, I’m going over some of the books I’ve been reading recently & gathering all the bits I need. Soon the dystopias will start.



what is being termed
social isolation by every
suddenly ultraexpert
medical practitioner
& socialmedia maestro
on the digital planet
sounds less like weeks
of solo soul hellage
cut off from the world
& all that other so-called
                         important stuff

& more like a couple
of normal gareth days
slipping stretchtinglingly
into several lazy idyllic
weeks of sublime solitude
— even if that slippage
means i’m not sure whether
it’s sunday or september
(so long as nasty things like
curve flattening & latest
statistics are somehow
                          over looked)


Photo: Villette enjoying a lazy autumn day at home, unaware of the term, “social isolation”. (Also, I didn’t realise she too is half-slipping until I uploaded the pic, so a double whammy)