Isolation. A poem by Linda Ibbotson

( Published in ‘The Silence’ a Cobh based project June 2020 )

On Patrick Street, silence weaves between pavement cracks,
surrenders to white lines we are told to stand behind.
From a second story window my eyes trace the skyline,
empty light and concrete stare back at me
and I feel like a caged bird.
I think about walking along the Quays or Grand Parade,
remember shopping for fish and olives in the English Market,
buying a vintage silk dress at Miss Daisy Blue,
before coffee and blueberry muffins at Fellini’s,
in the alleyway I now forget the name of.
It was the simple things we once took for granted,
before everything changed.
Tonight, I watch the world turn in half time,
watch the dragging hands of a clock,
until eight pm when our hands again turn into song,
supporting those on the front line, risking their lives to save ours.
On a balcony in Barcelona, José Carreras sweetens the air with Verdi,
Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves – “Go, thought, on wings of gold”*
reminding us of loss and captivity,
while closer to home someone reassures
with Derek Mahon’s poem “Everything is Going to be Alright.”

Soon, we will step from the shadows of this wreckage,
wondering when we can again touch, wondering which way to turn.

*The opera with its powerful chorus established Verdi as a major composer in 19th-century Italy. The full incipit is “Va, pensiero, sull’ali dorate”, meaning “Go, thought, on wings of gold”.


Linda Ibbotson is a poet, artist and photographer from the UK, currently residing in Co. Cork, Ireland. Her poetry, artwork and photography has been published internationally including The Irish Times, Irish Examiner, Poethead, Levure Litteraire, California Quarterly, Itaca (featured Irish poet and translated into Romanian), časopis Harmonie (Czech music magazine) Limelight ( Australian classical music and arts magazine) Boyne Berries 27 and Live Encounters. She was invited to read at the Abroad Writers Conference in Ireland. Her poetry has been read on radio and performed in France by Davog Rynne. She writes a poetry and arts blog ‘Contemplating the Muse.’


  1. So visual, such wonderful, empathetic words. Loved it, touched a nerve.

  2. […] July 31, 2020 / lindaibbotson Thrilled to have a poem Isolation published in Pendemic! The Irish Poetry Reading Archive at UCD Library is to preserve this incredible archive of social history. Pendemic was featured in THE IRISH TIMES 30/04/20 and several of the poems read on RTÉ’s Poetry Programme 01/06/20! Thank you so much Niall McArdle, Joy Redmond, Liz Quirke and Ruth McKee! This poem was first published in ‘The Silence’ a Cobh based project 25/06/20. […]

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