Elaine Smith


The experience of isolation inspired this poem as the only activity I felt able to pursue was walking in the park and often with one or another of my friends.


Being motion through space,

Most of our


Through the spaces

Of our lives

Are relatively insignificant.

But sometimes

We slip into history

With a substantial jolt:

Where you were,

When Kennedy died,

Or Princess Diana,

What you saw

In San Francisco,

When the Earth quaked,

Or witnessed

Of the crumbling towers.

So now this:

The making very near

And small

Of our activities.

We’re plagued by fear

Of other people:

Joggers spraying sweat and germs,

Youthful arrogance,

Jostlers in a queue,

Or grabbers for the Standard news

Impatiently too close

And sneering at the old.

But being here

In these extraordinary times

When the kaleidoscope of culture

Myriad and various

Delights of taste and sound and sight



To everything

But walks along the river

Through the blooming park,

And friends,

Crucially And Friends.

How we stayed together

Moving through these times,

A chain of isolated links.

Even Homer might have said of us

Things of song

For men of the future!

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.