based on a true story

My wife’s in bed
with lowered head
and even lower mood.
Her chin’s on her chest
and she’s not impressed
though at least she’s eating her food.

Her smiles are few
(one’s way overdue),
this downtime’s, I hope, but a blip.
I’ll leave it at that
or I’ll feel like a rat
on the brim of a sinking ship . . .

. . . But . . .
. . . but . . .
we’re not to be sneezed at
by a bug like a kumquat
pierced with pomander-ball cloves . . .
We’re weath’ring the weather,
we’ve hist’ry together,
we’ve survived in old ways, bays, and coves . . .

. . . Butt . . .
. . . butt . . .
. . . As time goes on,
old times seem gone,
the effort of joy makes us weary.
Invisible fears
weighed down by tiers . . .
we’re battered and blinkered and bleary . . .

My wife’s soon depressed,
my son gets depressed,
my daughter’s on anti-depressants.
It’s what you get
if you bubble and fret
in a family of close obsessants . . .

But O, and also,
each brain and torso
invisibly stormed and demeaned
by the careless spill
adapted to kill
by that communist dragon fiend.



Damian Robin is a writer and editor living in the United Kingdom.

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8 Responses

  1. Jeff Eardley

    Damian, I enjoyed reading this. Perfectly timed for the forthcoming misery of a possible lockdown Christmas. You have summed up what we are all feeling today. As a friend of mine often remarks, when there is light at the end of the tunnel, it normally means a train coming the other way.

    • C.B. Anderson

      A very nice image there, Jeff. And good of you not to have taken credit for it when you could’ve. As cynical as this might sound, you have a friend worth listening to. Many of my own friends have gone over to the dark side, and it will take some time to repair the old relationships.

    • Damian Robin

      Cheers Jeff, I don’t think there’ll be a Christmas lockdown as that would make for the opposite of crowd control. A chilling tunnel image. If only such trains had a public timetable and kept to it.

  2. C.B. Anderson

    Yeah, but my butt hurts from sitting down all day reading about this virus which kills very few but has allowed the power-hungry to destroy state and national economies and revoke the natural freedoms we grew up expecting to enjoy. But I guess a billion Chinese can’t be wrong. There have been revolutions before, and there will be revolutions again. God willing, we shall be so lucky as for that to happen — anywhere and at any time.

    • Damian Robin

      Sniffled viruses may kill and go, And revolutions clang old toll gates shut As through our shattered windows changes blow . . . But no rebuttal for a hurting butt.

  3. Margaret Coats

    Damian, the rhythm is rollicking enough to ride over its rough spots. It suggests a light tone, but you change tone in each stanza, it seems, creating an overall mood of uneasy uncertainty. The last line settles it all unpleasantly. Structured with care in a very unusual manner, but quite effectively. I’ve come back to it several times, and think it repays reading again and again.

    • Damian Robin

      Thanks M for a technical overview of what came fairly natural to me. Very useful, positive, and affirming. Sometimes refining only makes a piece 2% better and kills the spontaneity.. I’m touched and grateful.

      • C.B. Anderson

        Yes, Damian, Maggie C. never leaves a stone unturned, nor ever misses a beat. Her character reminds me of what I’ve always said about good whisky: Scotch that’s twice as expensive is only 10% better than the standard expression. This is due to both the principle of diminishing returns and to the fact that age is not an automatic sign of merit. She is ageless and has learned how never to waste a word.

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