Ever since I can remember
And probably much like everybody else
I’ve been doing things of grand importance
Or so I tried to convince everybody,
Everybody including myself.
Doing things of great and worldly significance
Things that would enhance the very fate of mankind
But I was like a rat on the proverbial treadmill
Barely pausing to reflect or unwind.
I rushed to work every day on trains and buses
Packed like sardines in a syrupy oil
Then I’d rush home in those self-same cattle trucks
Having completed my transformative toil.
And there was a smugness about my endeavours
I was clearly indispensable to the whole world at large
I planned and I schemed, and I plotted
Never doubting who was actually in charge.
I was building an empire which was unstoppable
I was marshalling my resources with the greatest of care
I was manoeuvring the multitude of pieces around me
Try and catch me, I would scream, if you dare.
I would zig zag across entire continents
Networking furiously wherever I went
I was political, economic and philosophical
I was on a mission with instructions heaven sent.
Then the whole world went into sudden lockdown
Everything ground to a shuddering halt
A deadly virus was stalking my empire
And the fiendish Chinese were apparently at fault.
Or was it the CIA and their secret machinations
Or perhaps the Russians or the much-maligned Jews
Either way the planet was in meltdown
And the virus dominated every item of news.
The planes and the trains were all grounded
The factories were shuttered and still
The highstreets were ghostly and silent
Future generations would pick up the bill.
The pubs and the cafes stopped serving
And the schools were indefinitely closed
Social restrictions were dire and imposing
Our world was becoming small and enclosed.
For millions it was the beginning of great hardship
Lives turned upside down in the blink of an eye
And for the elderly and sick it was quite horrendous
Gut wrenching stories to make you break down and cry.
The global repercussions were of epic proportions
Global systems grounded far and near
And the ‘not knowing’ was in many ways the worst aspect
As we huddled in our houses full of fear.
But for me the lockdown was a golden opportunity
To relax and consider what’s what
To ponder on the absurdities of modern living
And to assess what’s important and what’s not.
I learned to cycle ten miles every morning
Then do the things that I’d put off for years
And the reading in the afternoon was so delightful
And the stillness nearly brought me to tears.
A precious time to reflect and to ruminate
A precious time to take stock of one’s life
A sobering time to consider one’s own mortality
And a brief respite from life’s struggles and strife
A time to step off from the treadmill
And to dare to let go of the reins
A moment to take in nature’s wonders
And inhale both the sun and the rain.
Take a walk to the end of the neighbourhood
To the end of the universe and back home again.