A selection of poems written in a Pandemic by Damian Smyth


A fine day
Blue sky and wintery sun
Give hope where there is fear
Venice canals
Are clean and fish are seen
In waters crystal clear
Passers by
Steer clear of one another
This plague of modern times
Will run its evil course
While I take shelter
In these words and rhymes.


Apart to Play

Is staying apart
How strange these times we’re in
A nod or wave
Instead of chat
We lose so that we win
The coffin trucks
Roll slowly through
Bergamo’s silent streets
The elders die
In loneliness
Community retreats


Mothers Day

My mother was
11 months old
When her father died
In 1919
A cooper
No death defied.
The Spanish flu
Took him
And millions more
A silent killer
Like today’s
Our spirits lower.
I think of mothers
On this day
The grand the young
And wish them well
Amid the fear
Their love unsung.


Faraway Hills

The morning light advances
Through the curtain slit
I listen to the birds who come
To feed upon the nuts and seeds
Or search for insects
Under window sills.
The sun is shining bright today
And in the sheltered garden
My dogs stretch out
And sleep and perhaps dream
Of what a lovely world this is
Oblivious to our ills.
This is our disease
Immunity for them
But do they sense our changing mood
Our fears and hopes
Of better times
Like faraway hills.


Exponential Growth

I’ve often thought
About forgotten subjects
That I learned at school
Like Honours Maths and Latin.
I’ve wondered too
Was it time misspent
But not when I now hear
About curves to flatten.
Exponential growth
Takes on a dark new meaning
As we see the graphs
Appear on screens.
The numbers mount
Not abstract but grimly real
As we come to terms with
Just what it means.


My Brother has Alzheimers

My brother has Alzheimers
Though relatively young
He lives in Birmingham
Not so far flung.
In permanent care
His mind askew
Like one way windows
His eyes can view.
But do they see
What lies in wait
Slow drain of life
A bitter fate.
When this house arrest is over
I’ll visit him again
And pray that he will see me
So we may share our pain.


Treasuring these Moments

We will treasure these days and weeks
At home with our adult children
In years to come they will be gone.
From making silly dance videos
To sharing all life’s basic joys
It feels like they will always belong.
When the time comes for them to leave
Our pile of bricks upon this earth
A shroud of memories, happy sweet
Will wrap around our hearts and minds
And keep us warm in wintertime
A glow until again we meet.
The light today is clear and bright
And though the future is not so
We have each other what a gift
That is to calm our troubled minds
The peace within is holding firm
Our family bonds can never shift.


Lonely Death

A lifetime of devotion
The love of man for wife
Is shattered by this enemy
Of life.
The sudden death is cruel
Old age, aches and pains
Cannot mask the darkness that
To hold her hand in death
And whisper a farewell
Is how he hoped
It might all end.
To die alone in fear
Among masked faces
Is not the passing he wished
For his wife and friend.


Searching for New Pastures

A horse is in the playing field
Searching for new pastures
Just like us all.
The dogs give chase to something new
But turn and hurry back
At my frantic call.
The world is on edge or so it seems
Peripheral vision sharpened, clear.
A thrush flies by in search of food
Or maybe twigs, that time of year.
In contrast to the mounting deaths
The cup of life is being refilled
The wheels keep turning on we go
At every turn I’m scared and thrilled.
A horse is in the playing field
Searching for new pastures
Just like us all.
I dream of days and weeks to come
When we will flower again
Like sunflowers tall.


The Mask

To wear a mask or not
That is the question
Some people do some don’t
Just a suggestion
I have a homemade one
Folded an old scarf
It makes me look so strange
Having a good laugh
I could be the Lone Ranger
Without his Silver
Will enemies run in fear
Or quake or shiver?
Or stretching it a bit
Could I be Zorro?
Today I make a mark
But gone tomorrow.


No Other Place I’d Rather Be

How can I not feel joy
Being alive on a day like this
On April 9 in Dublin
The sun shines brightly nature bliss.
Here in Ballymount Park
I see this life for what it is
A treasure and a grace
Unfolding gifts I must not miss.
The dogs lick morning dew
From virgin blades of lush green grass
They chase and roll around
The small one falls head over arse.
I watch them running free
In open parkland by the lake
But hitch them up again
Before they frighten duck and drake.
The swans are by the bank
In search of food I did not bring
I greet them as my friends
Perhaps they’ll listen as I sing.
A shag or cormorant preens
Its silken feathers in the sun
It’s time to head back home
Another day has just begun.
Our lives may be curtailed
But in these moments I am free
I float on through the haze
No other place I’d rather be.


A Different Route

This morning I take a different route
The dogs don’t mind
Old Knockmeenagh Lane is where I go
The day is kind.
My old country friend though long in tooth
Is not dead yet
The thoughtless have dumped unwanted clothes
This I don’t get.
The blackberry bushes will soon flower
And I’ll be back
Checking their progress in Summer sun
Along this track.
In Autumn I’ll enjoy many hours
Picking the fruit
And baking my pies such simple fun
With treasured loot.



The strength of the family bond
Is such a comfort and joy
Now more than ever.
We’re spending a lot of our time
Sharing a small enough space
But we’re together.
While one of us lives in the West
Love fills the metres and miles
Absence no barrier.
My life has been graced from the start
With gifts of friendship and warmth
Love virus carrier.



I started writing poetry about 40 years ago but have been writing more songs than poems until recently, although in many cases there is little difference. The last couple of months have inspired me to write some poetry about my reflections on life during this pandemic. This is a selection from a collection of 66 poems I wrote during this period.

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