Basically the shopping list I need before I can er…go shopping in the covid 19 climate.


The walk up to town for groceries needs
Much more thought in these days of contagion.
We find ourselves inexplicably numb
In this far from splendid…isolation.

Before leaving home, I need to ‘tool up’.
Extra strong mints are my plague doctor’s beak;
They are pointless but make you feel better,
When facing the world in zombie film chic.

Mask on/mask off? A matter for debate.
In place for when needed, the informed choice.
Baseball cap, shades, scarf over face: Me, the
IRA spokesman with synchronised voice.

I pocket the latex gloves just in case
(Why? Are they filming CSI Penzance?)
With anti-bac gel as my crucifix
I face my demons with an armed response

I step out into the almost silence
Of a tranquil Arcadian heaven;
Where woofers don’t bark and tweeters expound
As birds turn up their amps to eleven.

And so it begins, like never before…
Precise concern for the clearest of coasts.
I’m an Indian scout, a covidhound
And like PacMan, ever watchful for ghosts.

I take corners wide, open up on the straights;
Ambush alert in ev’ry direction.
I’ve spent an evening glued to YouTube
To brush up on my hazard perception.

A Ministry of Transport Walking Test
Awaits offenders (who may yet get fined);
Where your every move is analysed
By an instructor two metres behind.

A modicum of skill is applied as
Players tread lightly in this game of stealth.
The best of them can plan five moves ahead
In the hope of winning lasting good health.

Social distance is an unsocial dance
As we pass like Morris Men in slo-mo
And flit like butterflies from shop to shop;
Each one now with its own major domo.

Stood outside the bank or the 8 ‘til Late,
Courtesy and kindness come to the fore.
And for those who don’t quite get two metres
Imagine a coffin laid on the floor.

No money changes hands…no hands change hands,
As touch and being touched become passé;
Contactless, like the ubiquitous cards.
Now the penny has dropped, there it will stay.

Meeting friends is fraught with uncertainty
Now that a hug is out of the question.
How about we bow and curtsey again?
What do you think? It’s just a suggestion.

People replace lost pressing of flesh with
Anti-bac gel rubbed in hand over fist.
Maybe the part of Fagin is up in
A Zoom production of Oliver Twist?

The OCD handwashing diploma
Comes in handy when you’re back from the shops.
Wiping down everything that you’ve bought
With a paranoia that never stops.

Then return once again to the armchair:
You remember you’ve got all the best tunes.
A blest cup of tea and three custard creams
As once more your normality resumes.

A part of me likes this isolation
As my world becomes ever diminished.
Missed friends and family but at least now
I’ve got time to get this poem finished.

© gray lightfoot