What do we say to our children?

What did you do daddy?

when the butchers

knocked at the door

sharpening their knives

to cut with their smiles

What did you do daddy?

 

What did you do daddy?

when the thieves

in grey striped suits

sat at the cabinet table

ready to cut with their knives.

What did you do daddy?

 

What did you do daddy?

when the nurses and doctors

worked too many hours

and had no more time

to look after us or you.

What did you do daddy?

 

What did you do daddy?

when all the teachers

working too many hours

had no more time

to teach your children.

What did you do daddy?

 

What did you do daddy?

when all those liars

with their crocodile smiles

did what they did

and wanted to do anyway.

What did you do daddy?

 

What did you do daddy?

When all the taxes you paid

bank-rolled the bankers,

the liars who thieved our Services

and skinned them to the bone

What did you do daddy?

 

What will you do daddy?

Now the services are gone

and the rich get richer

and the poor get sicker

and no one’s listening to you.

What will you do now daddy?

 

What will you do daddy?

When Covid-19

Is killing the old and the young

And all the others in between

And the nurses and doctors

Have no protective kit

Have no masks to shield them

And there’s no tests

Cos everythings run to the ground

Are you clapping daddy?

What are you clapping for?

 

©robcullen2020

First published in Rob Cullen’s collection “Uncertain Times” 2016 with update.

The year of magical thinking…

Rereading a review by Hilary Mantel of CS Lewis’s writing on grief – Guardian Saturday 24th December 2014 I came across a quote from Joan Didion’s The Year of Magical Thinking…which led me to another…

“This is my attempt to make sense of the period that followed, weeks and then months that cut loose any fixed idea I had ever had about death, about illness, about probability and luck, about good fortune and bad, about marriage and children and memory, about grief, about the ways in which people do and do not deal with the fact that life ends, about the shallowness of sanity, about life itself. I have been a writer my entire life. As a writer, even as a child, long before what I wrote began to be published, I developed a sense that meaning itself was resident in the rhythms of words and sentences and paragraphs, a technique for withholding whatever it was I thought or believed behind an increasingly impenetrable polish. The way I write is who I am, or have become, yet this is a case in which I wish I had instead of words and their rhythms a cutting room, equipped with an Avid, a digital editing system on which I could touch a key and collapse the sequence of time, show you simultaneously all the frames of memory that come to me now, let you pick the takes, the marginally different expressions, the variant readings of the same lines. This is a case in which I need more than words to find the meaning. This is a case in which I need whatever it is I think or believe to be penetrable, if only for myself.”

― Joan Didion, The Year of Magical Thinking