Just Press Play

What a year it’s been…and we’re not out of the woods yet! Although it would be nice at least to be able to go to the woods, especially living on the outskirts of the New Forest National Park! Bring it on!

I have contemplated the word ‘normal’ throughout this year and its add-on: new as in ‘new normal’. The thing is normal is a constantly changing state. We simply don’t notice on a day to day basis the minute changes in our routine and this is necessary so that we can continue, reasonably unperturbed. It’s fait to say that for over 12 months we’ve been considerably perturbed, some of us at least! I am aware that the ‘new normal’ for some people was a vast improvement on the ‘old normal’! But such a dramatic change, seemingly overnight, was a major disruption to our perception which needs some stability, or ‘normal’ in its life. Perhaps, like mine, your naturally individualistic perception struggled to see the ‘new normal’ as anything but a restriction on the freedom to enjoy life and as an autonomous individual it felt like every aspect of my autonomy had been taken away.

Now, we have a roadmap, perhaps still with a few curves and bends but there is a destination. And so, I wrote a poem about that. Watch me recite the poem on my You Tube channel, A Stitch In Rhyme.


“Things will soon return to normal,”
the politician said.
I wonder what vision of normal
he has inside his head!

‘Cos life, a bit like Elvis sang
Has been, well: All Shook Up!
More than a year since the storm began
that smashed our china teacups.

As if the video was paused
on the movie of our life.
We became rebels without a cause
Plagued with angst and strife.

The familiar picture show stopped playing
with the ticket office closed.
The life and role that we were playing
indefinitely juxtaposed.

We thought that at the outset
it would be a small interruption.
But soon we know we were beset
with a major life disruption.

And so we needed to adapt
our outlook and perspective.
It was hard not to over-react
and remain wholly objective.

This ‘new normal’ phrase became
our constant upbeat mantra.
and there were those who dared exclaim
it was all just propaganda!

But the reality was much, much harder
than we ever could have dreamed, so…
armed with loo rolls and a well-stocked larder
we stayed at home and schemed.

Home schooling and working from home,
writing a book or baking.
We cleaned the house then read a tome,
but still our hearts were aching…

For the old normal that we once knew:
the one without our masks.
The world that we could sleepwalk through
whilst carrying out our tasks.

We struggled with self-righteous pity,
nostalgic in our gloom.
Where some saw an opportunity,
there were others consumed by doom.

And through it all we kept in sight
a view to mollify.
To keep us sane throughout our plight:
a vision of days gone by.

‘Normal’ is an accepted word
to define a regular pattern:
a routine that was once preferred,
before our hopes were flattened!

At times we fought just to survive,
even get up out of bed.
But here we are, we’re still alive!
And there’s a road ahead.

It never looks like we envisioned,
our view obscured by trees.
So, when it feels like you’re imprisoned,
just close your eyes and breathe…

And count to ten and then again.
A breathing meditation
will help to soothe and calm your brain,
and smooth out your confusion.

let’s leave behind the viral year,
and the normal of before.
And with small steps, we’ll face our fear
as we walk through an open door.

We’ll pick up the tattered remnants
of our life’s rich tapestry.
And remember we’re dependants
on our own mortality.

No more our lives a movie still
‘cos we can now press play.
And we’ll enjoy the film until
another virus comes our way!