As the Covid lockdown began, the world seemed to settle into silence – a disturbing and worrying silence for those of us living in towns and cities and used to the daily bustle. I live a few miles away from an airport, and the sudden absence of aircraft was at once welcome but a worrying sign that borders were closing as countries moved to protect themselves against the virus.
Those suddenly furloughed or who had lost their job probably found themselves sleeping more than usual – and if they were a town-dweller, getting used to a quiet village atmosphere as the roads as well as the skies emptied. Without a shift pattern or a deadline to keep to, time seemed to slow, too.
Around 30 years ago I’d tried to write a poem based on the concept that living in a village would be like a seven Sundays week – every day much like another and as peaceful as Sunday itself. I could never get the poem to work. I was on the way to a broadcasting course in London and not really in the zone, and I put the idea aside.
All these years later, and as the lockdown intensified, I remembered that concept of a week of Sundays – but flipped the idea of a week to that of sleep, and the feeling that the whole world was now a sleepy village. This is how the poem came about.