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21st Century Poetry It’s All Fine

by Gill Lambert

It’s like they didn’t notice all the nurses
working fifteen hour shifts in PPE
while they were having parties.
Didn’t see the numbers rising steadily
each day. The old who died alone
in care homes, the relatives
on the other side of windows, touching
palms, saying goodbye on Facebook.

It’s like they never realised the rules
were meant for all of us to follow,
that Covid would still be here tomorrow
when their hangovers kicked in
they couldn’t remember where they’d been
and whether it had even been a party
or just a work meeting with booze.
It’s like they didn’t watch the news.

Didn’t think we’d care if they got pissed
on Tesco plonk and cheap bottles of fizz.
We’d all be looking the other way,
when they were picnicking on snacks.
They’d forget the date, the time, the day
whether it was Hancock, Dom, or Sunak
who brought the cake, who asked their mates
to a little get together after work.

They really thought we’d think it was okay
to fuck with us, to take us all for fools.
We wouldn’t mind if they all bent the rules
a bit. That brothers, sisters, cousins grieving
wouldn’t notice that the government
were leaving work with empty bottles,
full of cake like little piggies. Snouts
in the same swill, they got their fill.

And now they’re saying sorry for their parties.
Telling us it was a simple slip, a jape.
Knowing when apologising the art is
to look as if you care, it was just a bit of wine
its done and dusted, though we were busted
Carrie’s paid the fine, so it’s all done.
It’s all irrelevant cos don’t you know,
haven’t you heard, there’s a war on.

Gill Lambert is a poet and facilitator from Yorkshire. Her second collection is coming out with Yaffle next month. 21st-century Poetry is edited by Andy Croft, email [email protected].

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