Lockdown June

During the COVID-19 pandemic, working from home in a self-isolated world, I set my Passepartout the task of illustrating, and me writing, a poem each day for a month. The illustrated ‘Lockdown June’ poems were shared on social media amongst friends.

1st June 2020

Hedgehog in my Garden

There’s an hedgehog in my garden,
At first I never knew,
No sight nor sound revealed him,
But he left little poos.

I took to leaving victuals,
To coax him into sight,
And in the end I saw him,
The owner of the shites.

Now we are night companions,
Of him I’ve grown quite fond,
He crashes through my flowers,
And once fell in the pond.

He loves to visit early,
Just as the sun goes down,
He hoovers up his dinner,
Then craps upon the ground.

There’s an hedgehog in my garden,
Arbuckle Semonite,
A spiky lockdown loner,
We’re very much alike.

2nd June 2020

Roosting Wrens

As evening fell,
And shadows cooled the day,
Shrill pixie voices called,
From beyond the fence,
Pulling me like Siren songs,
Creeping, not to doom,
But to see a troop of dancers,
Swirling around the Birch Box,
Calling with tails cocked,
A storm of wrens,
Little brown dervishes,
Spinning ever closer to the hole,
That singularity of sleep,
A troglodyte’s roost,
And as the final face peeped,
To see if I was going,
I did, with a smile,
Saying ‘Goodnight’ to them,
Those roosting wrens.

3rd June 2020

Dancing Pipistrelles

In dimpsey darkling dusky sky,
Shadow puppet bats do fly,
Gibbous moon above the trees,
Show dancing pipistrelles to me.

4th June 2020

Fecking Fly

Fly comes in and fly goes out,
Busy buzzing all about,
Through the lounge and out the door,
I can’t take it any more.

Leaping up I chase the thing,
I’ve got legs, but it’s got wings,
Moving at the speed of light,
How can it be a fair fight?!

Softly stalking where it went,
On it all my wrath I’ll vent,
From behind the fly appears,
Hurling past my buzz-full ears.

Round the chair and past the clock,
Through the door and on my socks,
Deftly nipping past my swipes,
A quick circuit of the light.

Upstairs downstairs through the hall,
Then a pause upon the wall,
As I swat it just flies by,
“Oh you rotten fecking fly!”

5th June 2020

Sparrow’s Song

In my mind,
There is no doubt,
A sparrow’s song,
Is just a shout.

6th June 2020

D Day

Clear your mind,
Of everything,
Then place yourself,
In an open metal boat,
Clothed in uniform,
Weighed down with kit,
With fear,
With dread,
With duty.

Crammed in with your mates,
Hot bodies sweat,
And chills grip your guts,
As you want to escape,
But long for the voyage,
To last just a second longer,
Engines whine,
As you hit the beach,
Then the door to hell falls.
Could I,
Could you,
Rush headlong into hot metal sleet,
Jagged rain and roasted air,
A hundred yard sprint,
Into a lifetime of nightmares?

Well, they did,
Just kids,
And we grow old,
Because of them,
All we have to do,
Is make a better world,
How hard can it be,
Not to disgrace their memory?

7th June 2020

Punch up in my Garden

There’re punch ups in my garden,
Birds don’t see eye to eye,
Each morning round the feeders,
I watch the feathers fly.
Blackbirds will fight blackbirds,
The sparrows brawl and tweet,
The robins fight with everything,
The dunnocks all retreat.
The wrens machine gun warnings,
The starlings never stop,
Finches are too posh to fight,
But blue tits beat the lot.

8th June 2020


From another dimension,
I look into another place,
Well beyond,
This world of air,
A tiny watery cosmos,
Flickers with life.
Amoebic clusters,
Chlamydomonas swirls,
Spirogyra nebulae,
Daphnia comets,
Cycloptic von Neumann probes,
Shrimpy novas,
And irresistible nymphs,
Black holes from which,
Nothing escapes,
I have become,
A pan-galactic snooper,
Looking like a god,
Into my unsuspecting pondiverse.

9th June 2020


High in a magnificent alder,
An avian tenor sings,
Proclaiming his right,
To dominate this land,
All day he calls,
And all day I listen,
For I live in his domain,
Which stretches as far,
As his call will carry.
Methinks he has a large kingdom,
As his voice is fine,
And I’m happy to be,
A subject,
To such a song.

10th June 2020


Laughs float about,
Around your head,
And sink in when you breathe,
They build and grow,
And then burst out,
When you are feeling pleased.

11th June 2020


When we seek to dish out blame,
Be careful who you choose,
Oft the place to have a look,
Is in the land of You.

12th June 2020


There’s nothing wrong with lockdown,
I’ve thrived on being alone,
My mind has hardly altered,
I’m like a living drone.

I’ve asked my best friend, Clarence,
The cushion on the chair,
He says I have not altered,
Apart from lockdown hair,

My kettle’s name is Albert,
And he backs Clarence up,
I’m sane and level headed,
Ask Sally, my tea cup.

I’m swivel-eyed, I’m bonkers,
Yet sane and slightly mad,
I laugh when I feel angry,
I’m happy when I’m sad.

I wear my Y-fronts backwards.
And sometimes on my head,
I sing to Frank, my ash tree,
My composter is Reg.

I dance with the mosquitoes,
And howl every full moon,
I’m sane! I’m sane, I tell you!
I hope it’s over soon.

13th June 2020


I introduce the Kākāpō,
A parrot that can’t fly,
It’s big and green and smells of ferns,
And makes a booming cry.

These Kākāpōs can climb up trees,
These Kākāpōs are great,
For they make roadways through the woods,
And use them to find mates.

New Zealand is their Island home,
But they became quite rare,
Weasels, catses, dogs and ratses,
Released without due care.

The world was left with fifty birds,
But finally there came,
Some heroes who have used their lives,
To bring them back again.

We should all love the Kākāpō,
Two hundred there are now,
They need help and need our love,
And I will tell you how,

Find Kākāpō Recovery,
On Facebook and the Web,
The Kākāpō’s the finest bird,
We should not make it dead.

14th June 2020

Viper’s Bugloss

If you will,
A floral artillery shell,
Exploding into azure flares,
A starburst of blue,
Buzzing bee fragments,
And soft stamen shrapnel,
Frozen in gentle time,
Then you will have,
Viper’s Bugloss,
In your mind.

15th June 2020

I miss you

Four months have passed and I miss you
I miss you, my Passepartout,
Surviving in my solo space,
It is such a lonely place,
Upon a screen we state our love,
And talk about the stars above,
We watch the Moon and planets rise,
In separate places, misty eyed,
We laugh and smile in virtual worlds,
And somewhere deep my heart unfurls,
Four months have passed and I miss you
I miss you, my Passepartout.

16th June 2020

Hebridean Gin

The isles of Harris and Tyree,
Make gin that smells of the sea,
Sugar kelp and machair flowers,
Distilled in their copper towers,
A single sip will take you there,
Roaring waves and sea-salt air,
These memories are held within,
My glass of Hebridean Gin.

17th June 2020

A Frog’s Life

At Imbolc they come softly creeping,
A-calling with their croaks and peeping,
Thrashing orgies backs on bellies,
Leaving spawn-full eggy jellies,
Warmed by Zephyrus’ springtime breathing,
Little tadpoles burst out seething,
Feeding hiding growing dying,
Some are left through mighty trying,
Froglets scamper from their birthing,
Scattering for pools they’re searching,
Sumps and ponds and wells are settled,
Where they grow into fine fettle,
Shiny hopping jewels becoming,
In their watery refuge sunning,
Waiting for old Boreas‘ chilling,
Then to sleep their bodies stilling,
Awaiting warmth just as before,
So froggy lives can start once more.

18th June 2020

Squirrel Wars

A rattle from the garden,
And my eyes snap open,
Window open and I hiss,
“Y’little fecker!”
It turns its head and flicks its tail,
Then back to daylight robbery.

Down the stairs,
Mind full of vandalised feeders,
I leap out the door,
Bare arsed and bellicose,
Finally it leaps, dithers,
Then scarpers.

He stops,
I look at he and he looks at me.
“This ain’t over…” we both seem to say,
Me nude and wet footed,
And he with his fecking paws,
Just another mad day,
In the Squirrel Wars.

19th June 2020


Five minutes into a call,
Discussions on safety,
Making the estate,
Covid-19 Secure,
Brow furrowed in thought,
The sound of a Merlin engine,
Drifts through my door,
Out I walk and look up,
At blue West Sussex sky,
And there is a Spitfire,
An old one,
Beautifully saved,
As it saved us,
It dips its wings,
Dopplers past,
With its war roar,
My heart skips a beat,
As it turns and banks away…
“What did you say?”
Asks the boss,
“Oh, how wonderful.”
The conversation changes,
And we are both boys again.

20th June 2020


The world was fine,
Til we drew lines,
Because two sides,
Make a divide,
The line’s inane,
A point of shame,
They beget rules,
Made walls by fools,
It’s “Us and them!”
And “Make us great!”
So no more lines,
Let’s make some gates.

(Father’s Day) 21st June 2020

Looking Back

I pick the photograph up once more,
The monochrome print is old,
From another time,
Eighty five years gone,
And that face looks fine,
Younger than me,
Just twenty nine,
And his eyes,
May just be looking at me.
He’s gone,
Left when I was five,
Yet here we are,
Looking across the years,
Me older than he ever was,
But he is all I am,
And ever will be.
There he was,
And here I am,
Looking back.

22nd June 2020

Dean Karnazes

“We’re so comfortable, we’re miserable”
Said Dean Karnazes,
The Ultramarathon Man,
An expression of profound truth,
That this old runner remembers,
Whenever I’m tired, in my chair.
He has condensed,
What I’ve always felt,
Into that one line,
And that is all I need,
To remember to live,
Not just exist.

Dean Karnazes is more than this,
He writes with youthful joy,
Projects endless energy,
And confounds age,
A human touchstone,
Motivation in motion,
As he runs and runs.
Yet emulation is not my goal,
For I am not Dean,
And he is not me,
But we both run,
To live.

23rd June 2020

Leaf Cutter Bees

I am very fond of leaf cutter bees,
Their children get a swaddling of leaves,
Tucked up snug in their hibernaculum,
Waiting to start their spring curriculum.

24th June 2020

Woodlouse Spider

In the micro-jungle,
Beside my house,
Woodlouse wildebeest wander,
Across their world,
Grazing and reducing,
Matter to mulch,
Unaware that Dysdera waits,
With fearsome jaws,
To enthusiastically apply,
Natural selection,
And reduce them to dinner.

25th June 2020

Dear Grandaddy

Thirteen weeks alone,
And feeling a little glum,
My world becomes,
A Supernova of love,
As an email arrives,
And Maddie’s says:

“I will be very happy when you
can next come again
maybe we could go swimming?
Or we could go for a long walk
or we could chill out at home.
And we can get Nibbles a bikini 😂😂😂
I love you.”

And I’m happy again,
But wonder if you really can buy,
Bikinis for boy hamsters.

26th June 2020

Red Admiral

My annual red admiral,
Has come to stake his claim,
I find it quite commendable,
That it is here again.

From places high he scans the sky,
And flies up in attack,
To chase a girl or fight a boy,
Then land back on my hat.

My garden is his place for trysts,
As females he will push,
From lofty heights down out of sight,
For romance in a bush.

27th June 2020

Wood Mouse

The wood mouse in my garden,
Is just a dashing dot,
An exclamation,
I bet its feet get hot.

28th June 2020

Haiku (俳句)

Fast Peregrine stoops
Soft snow-white dove disappears
A hole in the sky

29th June 2020

Shakespearean Sonnet

I am a captive of this earthly scourge,
A storm that darkens every life-long day,
And thus my mind did find a well of words,
Tipped gently in this Sonnet as I may,
To write of thee I miss doth ache my heart,
Embraces are just memories to me,
So I did choose this gently soothing art,
To break my bonds and set my spirit free,
I love you so my finest dearest friend,
Your face dwells as a painting in my mind,
And when this self-entombment finally ends,
I’ll sally forth, your castle for to find,
The storm will pass and sunlight will shine through,
You’ll see I never did stop loving you.

30th June 2020

One Earth

From six billion kilometres,
Voyager sent our reflection,
A Pale Blue Dot,
Not even a pixel wide,
A dot upon which,
We once were a cog,
In a beautiful, sparkling,
Terpsichorean unity,
How far we have risen,
How far we have fallen,
Knowledge widens,
And stupidly deepens,
Science gives us wonders,
Authority gives us blinkers,
Big mouths flourish,
As we small hairless primates,
Think a loud voice means ‘clever’,
Our cog has slipped its bearing,
And fallen into the beautiful machine,
So now we need a new dance,
To repair the only Earth we have,
This tiny verdant Island,
Which we do not own,
Yet despoil at will,
It is time for unity
On our One Earth
For it is all we have got.
The Pale Blue Dot.

Lockdown June poem illustrations © Angela Jane Swinn 2020

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