Home Alone

Working from home’s all right at first:
no need to shave or wear a suit
while free to focus in a burst,
ducking the slog of the daily commute.
And it’s hardly as though I give a hoot
for long, dull meetings, where all present
try to score points, and anyone absent
(whatever the reason) loses out,
assumed as giving their consent.
Unless a VTC should sprout
(a drag I’d rather do without)

I stay in bed till nine or ten
then catch up slowly with the news
over a coffee, till midday when
I check my in-box, and slowly choose
which ones can be ignored. I snooze
through half the afternoon, then start
at four or five to focus on
those from my boss, and once they’re done
I binge on Netflix with a beer
until the small hours, whereupon
back to my bed I slowly steer
for sleep again to volunteer.

Outside, I know the empty streets
pre-figure the apocalypse:
the joggers/shoppers one still meets
cross to the other side. Such trips
demonstrate how crisis strips
us quickly of the thin veneer
of ‘civilisation’, which we wear
only as long as the supermarket
shelves stack loo-rolls – once they’re rare
how many among us, let’s face it,
give a damn for those less fortunate?

Some friends believe some good will come
out of this crisis – that we’ll change our ways
perceive the world as a common home
our greed has ransacked; that in the days
ahead we’ll enter a new phase
and live in solidarity
at long last, freely, steadfastly
ready to pull together, keen
that unborn generations see
a kinder planet, cared-for, clean,
with every government gone Green.

Myself, I doubt it. Once it’s over
I reckon we’ll want our old life back,
and play the blame game, because we’d rather
put anyone else upon the rack
than tidy up our personal act.
Dig into history if you dare:
are the lessons of the past all lies?
After plague, or war, did we reset, share?
When markets crashed, did we grow wise?
Or quickly forget the whole nightmare
to party all night on survivor highs

wide awake, having closed our eyes?

Tom Vaughan

If you have any thoughts on this poem,  Tom Vaughan
would be pleased to hear them.