Lockdown losses and Screened off. Two poems by Jackie Biggs

Lockdown losses

You will expect me to say
that I miss
the sound of waves crashing on the shore

seagulls curling, a buzzard soaring, calling
the blue horizon over a weaving sea,
rocks rolling, scent of salt and seaweed

the feel of fine sand between my toes.
And I do.
And I miss the mountains we walked,
all the woods and waterfalls,

but most of all I lack
the sound of your voice, your eyes on me,
your happy face on the pillow next to mine

your hands, your warm body
our loving arms wrapping around us
in the scent of our night
the sound of your breathing.

Screened off

Inside, all life is behind some screen –
virus-help pages, poetry and art groups,
lockdown watch parties,
text messages, Skype, and TV,
unending video attachments in Messenger (no thanks),
Zoom events where writers are divided by boxes
and ‘live literature’ becomes blandly televisual.
Friends display photos of their walks
and views from their windows.
Here it is, they say, real life is still out there,
and it is still beautiful, and how quiet it is.

Once a day I leave this place.
Stepping through the front door,
like passing through a shield

and I find that outside is
Fierce blue sky is intense behind
black branches of still-bare trees,
lambs bleat too loud over their
mothers’ strident greetings by the field gate.
A tractor worries back and forth across a field
and clatters a trail through my head.
I chat to a woman outside her cottage in the village,
she’s trimming a hedge,
(not now, I think, what about the birds?)
She’s going back to work tomorrow,
on reception at the GP surgery.
Be safe, I say, staying two meters away.
The verges are fearsome with searing yellow
hoards of daffs.
I want to turn down the dazzle
reduce the volume.
Preseli top seen from the summit
of our hill remains aloof, too distant to touch.
A cyclist passes, too fast in a blur of black lycra,
too close, he doesn’t look up.
A family, Mum, Dad, toddler,
pushchair with baby, Jack the collie dog on a straining lead,
we pass on opposite sides of the narrow lane
share a nodded greeting.
Keep away, don’t cross the invisible division,
the too discernible partition,
our ever-present threshold.


Jackie Biggs’s second poetry collection, Breakfast in Bed, was published in Autumn 2019 by Indigo Dreams Publishing. Her first, The Spaces in Between was published in 2015 by Pinewood Press. She has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and was Highly Commended in the Welsh International Poetry Competition and in the R S Thomas Festival Competition, both in 2019. She reads her work regularly at spoken word events all over west Wales, where she lives, and is a member of the Rockhoppers – Coast to Coast Poets performance group. Some of her poetry appears on her blog here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *