Shielding


This is a video the ALLIANCE made of me reading this poem for a workshop. It brings this work to life, I hope you enjoy it. 

Shielding.           

Its beautiful today,

blue skies and sun dazzling snow.

Children sledging and

shaping snow into fun creations.

Their calls and screams a joyful burst

in a long lockdwon winter. 

They don’t notice me.

That’s me there, across the road

behind the window.



My social calendar is empty, bar the NHS.

 My “walks” with friends were highlights 

Until the bitter east winds came.

“Stay in” calls resound. 

And snow is not the place for the vulnerable.

I’ve done my share of sledging,

skating on thin ice ( ahem)

and building lifeless snowmen. 

Instead I huddle in doorways.

The offical photographer

for photos I never appear in.


Shielding they call it. 

I’m at risk of the virus

that haunts us each night

on the news I try to avoid

but cant.

I’ve been in ICU before 

it terrified me with

drug induced nightmares,

ventilators that silence the voice

and drain the soul.

It’s  utter dependence

and fear.


So I’m shielding you see.

That’s me over there

behind the window,

awaiting vaccines

and the post-pandemic spring,

whenever it comes.


Audrey Birt February 2021

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