The Silent War




Oriana is a writer, poet, multi discipline creative and wellbeing professional. She was awarded with a learner award in 2017 for her non-fiction work 'Journey to Now' based on her diagnoses of complex post-traumatic stress disorder. She was later presented with a High Commendation for her dedication to adult learning and creativity for wellbeing. Oriana was invited to speak at the EAEA in Brussels at the EU Summit and Dublin University as a learner ambassador. This poem was written in March 2020 in response to the first lockdown.

The war is here they say
The time has come
Take cover they say
The time has come
Stay inside, stay safe, stay well
They say the time has come

The world has come to a steady stop.
A sudden pause
A break from the norm’
Fear of the unknown, fear of the unseen
No bombs overhead, no loud crashes beyond
The silence is deadly

A stealth war of grime, dirt and disinfectant
The killer that crawls inside you, through the air you breathe
Takes hold of your lungs and squeezes the life out of you
Run the taps for a few moments longer
Wash your hands for the length of your favourite song
Drink bottled water
Buy hand sanitizer
Don’t hug, don’t kiss
Stand 2 metres apart
Say a prayer
Make a wish
Fill your cupboards, stock up your fridge

Hands become torn, worn, ripped and bleed
Over washing, overeating,
Gluttony, greed, on bread we feed
But what about the front line?
Not going over head,
Creating surgical spaces
Making rooms for extra beds
Lies. Spies.
Information overload, unspecified.
The unknown has become known

Neighbours applaud the NHS
We thank you all, you’re the best!
Protect our workers, help where we can
Many ignore the warnings, don’t listen to the hype
Meet in groups, picnic in the parks
Ride their bikes, drive in their cars

Walk around in face masks
We can’t discuss the future
It’s unknown to us
Just takin’ day by day
The death toll rises
But we still don’t know, the who’s, the what’s, the why’s

Take this time to reflect, take heed
Listen to the rhythm of the world
Mother earth is beckoning us to plant a new seed of hope
The conspiracists are out, the stories can be heard
Beware 5G they say and avoid new streetlights
It’s becoming absurd
Management by fear
The silent war is here

It’s crept up behind us
Keeping us hostage in our homes
Testing our patience, we’re feeling alone
Respect one another
Spare a thought for the vulnerable
The young, and the old
The ones who escaped, and those that got stuck
Violent partners, abuse and control
Seeking this opportunity to take a hold
Life behind the curtains
A microscopic view
The reality of many
Unable to move

For those who managed to get away
For the ones who live with long term
Health conditions
For the ones who haven’t been able to move around freely
This is nothing new
Experts of self-isolation
Time enabled them to grow patient
Of their own circumstances
To understand their own boundaries
What works and what doesn’t,

Listen to the voices of compassion
Reach out to those who may be in need
Let go of anger, judgement and greed
The joyful song of birds
Gentle swaying trees
Nurture our souls

Support one another
Be kind to yourself
The new world is upon us
But we must stay sane,
Stay Safe, stay well.
Stay inside they say
The time has come

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.