Lockdown Leisure

with apologies to W.H. Davies

In lockdown life, should I but dare
To take more time to stand and stare?—

More time to stand six feet away
And gaze upon our world today:

More time to gasp (while in a mask)
At questions news show hosts don’t ask:

More time to wonder why mad mobs
Spitting ire from barefaced gobs

Are not to blame for COVID spread
While singing hymns could leave us dead:

More time to ponder why the beach
With salt-fresh air is out of reach:

More time to mull (while we’re shut down)
Why terrorists tear up our town:

More time to contemplate the rules
The “experts” foist on fawning fools:

More time to stop and smell the stink
Of tricky spin and doublethink:

More time to see in stark daylight
The rules aren’t just; the rules aren’t right:

More time to learn; more time to know
Foes have the West to overthrow:

More time to see the powers that be
Are stripping us of liberty?—

A dire life this, now that I dare
To take more time to stand and stare.




a squirrel in Colorado has tested positive for bubonic plague.

I’ve been cleaning full steam shut behind blind and door
in my COVID-proof house that I’ve scrubbed roof to floor.
In my thin latex gloves and the thickest of masks,
I’ve been saving my skin with my germ-zapping tasks.

On adjusting the rule of “stay six feet away”
I have kept every person at bay lest I’m prey
to the slice—the sharp price of a scythe that’s so grim,
the bleak Reaper can dice up a life at his whim.

I’ve been seeking relief from the grief of lockdown
(with its news of the riots that blight every town)
in my yard where a squirrel of bright, bushy fun
went and entered my heart and then left me undone.

My pert pal dined on almonds and acorns and grapes
that he snaffled from hands that oft clapped at his japes.
As the fireflies danced round his fuzzy grey charm,
he lay snuggled each night in the crook of my arm.

It’s now fact that this act was no less than moronic—
my prize pet has the plague and it’s bloody bubonic!



Susan Jarvis Bryant is a church secretary and poet whose homeland is Kent, England.  She is now an American citizen living on the coastal plains of Texas.  Susan has poetry published in the UK webzine, Lighten Up On Line, The Daily Mail, and Openings (anthologies of poems by Open University Poets).

NOTE TO READERS: If you enjoyed this poem or other content, please consider making a donation to the Society of Classical Poets.

NOTE TO POETS: The Society considers this page, where your poetry resides, to be your residence as well, where you may invite family, friends, and others to visit. Feel free to treat this page as your home and remove anyone here who disrespects you. Simply send an email to mbryant@classicalpoets.org. Put “Remove Comment” in the subject line and list which comments you would like removed. The Society does not endorse any views expressed in individual poems or comments and reserves the right to remove any comments to maintain the decorum of this website and the integrity of the Society. Please see our Comments Policy here.


13 Responses

  1. Alan

    Take a breather while you can. And formulate your own thoughts while you still can.

    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Thank you for your comment, Alan. I hope I will always formulate my own thoughts regardless of whether or not I’m able to relay them.

  2. Joseph S. Salemi

    Excellent work, Mrs. Bryant. Now the health totalitarians are telling us that we all have to be tested, whether symptomatic or not, and that we will not be allowed to work or go shopping unless we submit to such intrusion. And we seem to be surrounded by millions of born serfs who are willing to obey anything their lords and masters decree.

    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Dr. Salemi, thank you very much for reading and appreciating my poems. Your comment on the testing chills me to the bone. How soon will it be before all things essential to existence are denied unless we are tested?

      • Joe Tessitore

        We spoke with a cousin on the West Coast who told us “They tell us what to do, and we obey.”

        As you say, Susan, it chilled us to the bone.

  3. Rod Walford

    You’ve done it again Susan – you have that great poet’s ability to bring the reader right into your house- a privilege for which I thank you. I had a little trouble with the metre in the first line of the penultimate verse of “Nuts!” but that might be just me. Love your work 🙂

    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Thank you very much, Rod. I always appreciate you popping by to read my poems. I will admit to writing my squirrel poem at breathtaking pace with a smile on my face after reading the article – as if things weren’t dire enough without throwing bubonic plague into the mad mix! LOL I will most certainly go back and tidy up the metre and thank you for pointing this out. I always consider my poems as works in progress – one of my favourite things to do is edit… I sometimes get so excited by the process and in my haste to create and share, I overlook the mistakes.

      • C.B. Anderson


        You’ve shown us the dark side of our little gray “friends.” I always refer to these vermin as bushy-tailed rats. One year I removed at least two dozen of them from my property, and I need to get at it again!

      • Susan Jarvis Bryant

        I fully appreciate your dislike of squirrels from a gardener’s perspective. I always loved them until our peach tree became laden with fruit – mockingbirds and squirrels became our firm enemies. I’d like to grow some vegetables next year, but the stress of it may well prove too much. The greed of the mockingbirds prompted this:

        A Peach-Pecking Triolet
        (begone, mockingbirds, begone!)

        Your fuzzy, juicy, sun-buzz blush,
        rotund with lush lip-licking scent,
        is summer’s sweet, ambrosial rush.
        Your fuzzy, juicy, sun-buzz blush
        owns hearts of stone that never crush
        those mocking beaks intent to dent
        your fuzzy, juicy, sun-buzz blush,
        rotund with lush, lip-licking scent.

      • Rod Walford

        Hi Susan – I suffer ( if that’s the right word!) from the same syndrome in that I reach a point in the process where I decide I must get a poem “off my back ” as it were, to get on with something else and I often regret my haste. Sometimes when I look back at my very early work I find myself cringing and wanting to edit but I find myself comparing such a practice to renovating an old building with crumbling foundations when I might just as well start building brand new one!

      • Susan Jarvis Bryant

        Rod, I have many poems in need of renovation. Never discard your old works – pick through the clutter for the gems, polish them and post them here. I would love to read more of your work.

  4. Dave Whippman

    “Lockdown Leisure” asks all the questions I’ve been asking myself about this whole business. This fellow Brit congratulates you Susan on a cleverly written and relevant poem.

    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Thank you very much for your kind comment, Dave. It seems these questions are widespread among the Western world. It’s a sad indictment of our times and a sorry shame that we should have to ask these questions after WWII and all that was fought for. It seems many are oblivious to the meaning of “freedom” these days. I hope they don’t have to learn exactly what it means from cruel and bitter experience.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.