The best and worst of us
On deck, late sun, early evening,
listening to the ooze and swish
of the river trickling out through the mud
no one is going to say it out loud.
Here death is for now at least,
one degree of separation away.
The estuary keeps its counsel
of highs and lows, the soothe
of the waves a blanket
we huddle under,
the real world muffled.
The tide could teach us all we need
to know about duality; a
about how without opposites
we cease to be useful
how in these ‘unprecedented times’
exists the best and worst of us.
See how easily we unite
against a common foe,
how quickly we regroup
it's not so much about glass houses and stones
as the battlements and castles
of those who draw up their moats
while lies spread their spores
as quickly as the virus
but even the headlines confirm
postcodes and skin tone
will dictate the odds,
the first casualties
always on the frontline
or piled in flats
that block all the sun
cities bloom overcrowding like mould,
space to breathe is a dream
whispered on estates
with few exits
and even fewer working lifts,
when the caged can stand it no more
they flock to the parks for air,
castigated for wanting what everyone wants.
This afternoon the sun blazed,
no one told the river not to twinkle
that its glitter was an inappropriate response
we’re in this together
only some of us have bigger boats.
And lifejackets. And flares.
No one escapes being scared,
plagued by low level anxiety
but in the face of friends in London
who count bereavements plural, triple, four no sevenfold
here even our fears and regrets
Writing by CHARLOTTE ANSELL
Artwork by FRANCES EDWARDS