At the beginning of the UK’s first Covid-19 lockdown in 2020, Hamish Wilson began writing a series of sonnets. With one a day for the first twenty-five days of the period, these poems eventually became “Lockdown Journal”.
Many single Covid / lockdown poems written at the time seem to me to fail for two main reasons: either people were trying to write the Covid poem to end all Covid poems, or else they were tackling a subject so vast that the poems themselves ended up vacuous and meaningless. However, what Wilson does with his “Lockdown Journal” is to firmly ground the subject in concrete and local experiences, and uses these to occasionally touch on the pandemic in the wider world. More than that, by creating a daily sequence, he not only takes on a personal journey, but also succeeds in immersing us in that experience; it becomes shared.
Read “Lockdown Journal” and it will remind you exactly how it was – and thus prompt you to reconnect with your own memories of those first few surreal weeks. Highly recommended.