‘Poems for the year 2020’

Delighted to report that myself and 79 other poets have been anthologised in this timely offering put together by Merryn Williams and now available from Shoestring Press. It deals with the pandemic and lockdown. You might think that would make it a bit samey. Not a bit: I was amazed at the plethora of approaches and images that occurred to people during that year.

My own contribution is ‘Sea Park, Weymouth’. For some reason nobody else thought to write about this phenomenon, despite the fact that cruise ships have been abandoned in bays all along the south coast. See what you think:

Sea Park, Weymouth

Our bay is home to several floating wedding cakes these days.
Nobody wants to cruise the world just now, in Covid times.
These are plague ships: people took sick on them and died
early on in the pandemic – floating hotels become death traps,
denied access to ports. So it continues. Skeleton crews
are trapped aboard, like Davy Jones, condemned to sail the world,
their hearts ashore: themselves in purdah.

All day the ships lie sullen in our mighty bay. Sometimes they sound
a mournful klaxon of farewell, and head into the Channel
on their way to Falmouth, Teignmouth or Southampton.
It’s only busy work, to keep their engines ticking over.
Then back they come to stand again aloof out in the bay,
noses in air, high out of the water (being empty of all but ghosts).

Local pleasure boats run tours around the towering hulls.
The skippers do their homework: pointing out the mighty liner
Queen Elizabeth. Like her maids-in-waiting are moored besides
Britannia; Allure, Jewel, Explorer and Anthem of the Seas –
four seasick sisters with nothing now to do but gossip with each other.
Marella lifts her anchor and heads west, but she’ll be back tomorrow.
She’s gone to join Queen Mary in Torbay. Just a walk to stretch her legs.

Each ship wears a little pall of smog: a diesel exhalation
that in high pressure weather we can taste deep in our throats.
Their klaxons remind me of fog horns used on thick nights in my youth
decades before satnav, and other modern aids to navigation.
At night their lights blaze out across the bay, reminding us
of their presence in our lives. They are a fixture. Here for the duration.

We have grown fond of them. Or tolerant at least.
I count them every evening as their lights come on out in the bay.
Then looking down I find that this has been, for me, another PJ day.

Published by Judi Moore

Hi there, I hope you find something to interest you here. In December 2017 I published my fourth book – ‘Wonders will never cease’. It’s a satirical campus novel set in the fictional Ariel University in 1985. If you enjoyed Tom Sharpe’s Porterhouse novels, Willy Russell’s ‘Educating Rita’, David Lodge’s campus novels or Malcolm Bradbury’s ‘The History Man’ back in the day, you may enjoy revisiting the ivory towers of 1980s’ academe thirty years on. See what you think. “It is December, 1985. The year is winding gently towards its close until Fergus Girvan, a Classicist at Ariel University, finds his research has been stolen by the man who is also seeking to steal his daughter. But which man is, actually, the more unscrupulous of the two? And is there hope for either of them?” In the autumn of 2015 I published a volume of short fiction: 'Ice Cold Passion and other stories'. I am also the author of novella 'Little Mouse', a shortish piece of historical fiction which I published in 2014 and, a sequel to it, 'Is death really necessary?', my eco thriller set in the near future and which, confusingly, I published in 2009. All the books are available from all good online bookshops and FeedARead on paper, and as e-books on Kindle. On a semi-regular basis, and about a month after the event, I post here reviews which I do for Big Al & Pals, the premier reviewer of indie books, based in the States. My interests tend to thrillers, SF, magic realism and other quirky stuff. On this blog are also posted the reviews I did for Leighton Buzzard Music Club over some five years up to the end of 2015. LBMC present annual seasons of eight monthly chamber music concerts at the Library Theatre in Leighton Buzzard, Bucks. They select young musicians just beginning to make their name - and the concerts are usually magnificent. I was very proud to be associated with them. I review other music, books, theatre and exhibitions which I've particularly enjoyed.

3 thoughts on “‘Poems for the year 2020’

  1. Love the poem, Judi. It left me thinking that we’re all plague ships, capable of passing it on, and that we’re all riding it out at anchor in the harbour waiting for better times. Was that what you intended? I’m never sure with poems whether I’ve got the point (or the right one, anyway).


  2. Ha ha! What did the poet intend? A tangled web, that.

    Many years ago another friend in a different writing group far, far away said to me (apropos, I think, of an entry I had just mailed to the now defunct Ian St James short story competition): “this is ambiguous. Do you mean this or this?” To which I replied that I was happy for it to mean to her whatever it meant to her. But that I would not be happy if it meant nothing to her at all. I stand by that to this day. If I’ve managed to evoke something for my reader then I am happy.


  3. Wonderful poem, Judi, such imagery – congratulations on your well-deserved inclusion in the anthology – and I couldn’t agree more with your comment about readers bringing their own interpretation to poetry – for me, one of the most evocative lines in ‘Sea Park, Weymouth’ is the final one.


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