Nocturnal Animals and Unsocial Distance. Two poems by Alan Carroll

Nocturnal Animals

The slowly revolving blue light
approaches cautiously on the midnight lane.
Then, in the headlight beam I see
a hare, unhurried, a graceful silhouette
loping along the road
as the ambulance follows, careful not to scare the animal
into a sudden, fatal turn.

Men in masks keep their distance
as they enter by the rarely-used front door
and collect their fragile cargo.

I clean the house, wash the sheets,
set the stove ready to light
in the hope it will be needed.

In the blackness before dawn
I persuade myself to go home.

On a deserted road before Prosperous
a rabbit darts from the ditch
and the thud beneath feels like an iceberg.

But in the red glow behind me
I see a white tail bobbing away
and I am thankful that he, at least, survived.
Then, in confusion, I turn on the windscreen wipers
as tears fall.

Unsocial Distance

Social isolation
fear of congregation,
this contagious nation
turns its face away.

Neighbours on the lane
pass my window pane.
Before they see me watching
I turn my face away.

Sneaking to the store
buy one, then buy more,
the lady at the checkout
turns her face away.

Poor Betty from the Way;
the cancer had its day.
People at the church
turned their face away.

Will it ever be the same
if we get to win this game?
Our grief has turned to shame
as we turn our face away.

This viral curse
is getting worse
it’s killing more than people.
Social isolation, fear of congregation,
an inward looking nation
will turn its face away.

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