All in this together?




I wrote this poem early on in the pandemic of April 2020, referencing the early warm summer and the time before vaccinations. In London 53 bus drivers have sadly died from Covid. Below is from the Mayor of London in answer to a question of the number of deaths of transport workers. I don't have the national figures Business Area Total Tube and Rail 17 Head Office 2 Buses and Dial-a-Ride 67 • Metroline • Go Ahead • Tower Transit • Abellio • Arriva • RATP • HCT • Stagecoach • Cordant • TfL (Dial a Ride) Partner Organisation 4 • Interserve • Cleshar • ABM Total 90

The sun shakes off its hibernation to salute the bluest of skies.
Reaching past shadows illuminating the inequality as for some
the weather is still inclement. No matter how many times they
hear that we are in this together. The bus driver used to look
in his wing mirror concentrating on traffic. Now he glances in
his mirror looking at us. Trying to see the unseen. He sees his
worry reflected in our faces. Will it slip on board this shift?
We strike our hands together to show our appreciation. Some
are clapping themselves, delighted not to be poor. Their days
spent sunbathing on chamomile lawns topping up tans, is it
too early in the year for Pimms? If we are all in the same boat
why do some have to row harder? The front line a favoured
sound bite. But NHS workers fight the battle, heads above the
parapet dodging bullets on every shift. The odds are stacked
against her as she stacks the shelves. Use by date gets closer.
Die has already been cast. If you start off on the back foot you
are always running to catch up. Hurrying to the bus stop she
quickens her pace. Steps on board hoping for a seat, keen to
get off her feet. The driver, noticing her uniform, grips the
wheel a little tighter as he pulls away from the kerb.

More from Poems

Heathrow Airport Toilets


This poem was written during lockdown last year. I am lucky to have my local park, Hilly Fields, opposite my...


Moments of connection were so precious and effort was made with a simple smile in unexpected places and from people...

Become a Member

Our Members are champions of literature. Their support makes our engagement work in schools and prisons possible and they enable us to celebrate literature in all its wonderful diversity. As a thank you, we give them all the joys of a literary festival and book club rolled into one, all year round.