I've known Peter Houghton for well over thirty years and he's always been a literary sort of chap, and well able to write a classic poem or pen a bawdy limerick. But the COVID lockdown in the UK, that crucible of madness with its open borders, has been his muse and he's been knocking them out at an alarming rate. And they're all quite brilliant. I regularly receive them in my inbox, and they're a joy to read. And here, in this slim blue volume, just arrived in Australia by the post, are the best from 2020 up until May of that year. They're beautifully illustrated, too:
And here's one from my recent email:
For months we’ve watched such misery and grief
With little respite, little light relief;
But recently our spirits have been buoyed
By older faces, thankful, overjoyed.
The vaccine offers much to ease our fears,
But even more to those in later years;
More conscious of the dying of the light,
They harbour hopes of holding loved ones tight;
A chance to see a grandchild laugh and frolic;
A chance to share with friends a gin and tonic.
It’s good to see the country doing right,
With volunteers engaging in the fight;
The NHS and army hand in hand
To vaccinate us all across the land.
Gets my vote for Poet Laureate in these troubled times.