You cannot call my name.
We will remember for all time the summer of this year
when last Spring, woodlands and forests had a quietness
almost an expectation
as if the trees knew and were waiting.
I would not describe it as tenseness,
the quiet wasn’t peaceful either.
It was what I would describe as resignation
if I were to attach it to a humans form.
After the heavy rains of winter,
people described them as exceptional,
rains the like of which no one could remember.
No one had seen such rain who was still living.
Out on the openness of the mountains plateau.
It was different.
On the hill above the village,
water took the shape of fear.
Carried on the edge of the wind,
its swiftness gave no cause for concern,
gave no cause for the alarm to be raised,
or bells to be rung on the church belfries and spires.
The smell of death spread thinner than wisps
of smoke, through hard weather whitened grassland,
beyond the horizon, its source unseen, at first,
but what did that matter in any case,
it was what it did when it arrived,
for all to see,
that was what mattered.
Death came anyway.
It used a cipher to hide behind, another’s form,
another’s name, to confuse, to distract.
Tell me your name. It is useless to ask.
I have no name
I am nameless
I am as old as time.
Death comes easily. It is always there — always near, always close by waiting. In March 2020, I suffered heart failure and came close to death. I didn’t survive because of luck — although I was lucky. I lived because of the professionalism of medical staff in our local hospital’s Accident & Emergency Unit. I was discharged five days later after two operations and a defibrillator pacemaker. That wasn’t luck. I know that if I lived in another country without a National Health Service I would be dead — death would have had its way.
I listen to the news casts each day, hear the latest covid stats — the number of new cases and the number of dead. Occasionally I see photos of crowds of people celebrating, ignoring the risks and the consequences, and the following week the spike in the stats that follows as sure as night follows day. I muse on whether people place so little value on their lives that they are willing to place themselves at such great risk. It suggests to me a mass Russian roulette.
I avoid crowds or social events in which there will be a large gathering. I am an artist, writer, poet who enjoys my own company and isolation doesn’t weigh heavily on me. More importantly it gives me time. Time to write, time to read, time to play with pen and wash. And there is so much to see, feel, smell and breathe in. Every walk offers a richness of opportunity. I do not live in a town or a city but on the outskirts of a town in wooded countryside. On the last day of the year 2021 I think I am lucky.