To my neighbours I don’t even know. A poem by Patricia Antoinette Higgins

I don’t know you.
I have never even seen you.
I only know of your existence
Late at night-time,
I see lights on in your little house.

You must be hard workers –
Leaving your home in the early morning hours
And returning after dark.

But now,
There is a change –
Is this a Coronavirus change?

No lights on at night-time;
Curtains always drawn;
And the plants in your formerly well-cared-for window bow
Are dried out, neglected.

No lights on at night-time.
Perhaps you have acted on that familial urge
To go back home,
To return to your families,
To care for them
As they fight the virus.

No lights on at night-time.
Perhaps, things not being well with you –
My neighbours who I do not know –
Perhaps you are gravely ill.

No lights on at night-time.
My heart swells with concern.
Is your absence due to Covid-19?

No lights on at night-time.

Meantime, I have adopted your little window-box.
I have added fresh soil,
And each day,
I have watered and fed your plants;
I have trimmed the deadened leaves.

And, this morning,
To my joy,
Two new fresh buds have opened on your Helleboris Niger!
Your Christmas roses are blooming in April
To welcome your return.


  1. Very moving.

  2. Put in words so beautifully. Not an easy thing to do at times like these. Stay well cousin. Good thoughts from California cousins.

  3. Truly evocative of pandemic times.
    I really connected with this poem, its reflection of community, and message of hope.

  4. Now that is poetry; words which have brought tears & goosebumps and gladdened my heart. I often wonder do people see as we leave the house so early & return late, weary to the core; Now I know they do. As a GP in the UK, your poem has meaning for me. Your Niece Orla kindly forwarded it to me, we were in Ned school together and she knows how much I love poetry about real life and the feelings it generates. Thank you.

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