Poems written in isolation by Mary Agnes Cullen

The following sequence of poems was composed while in isolation, and are reflections on the pandemic and the enormous changes it has wrought in all our lives.


Christmas was a focal point
Creating the inevitable little excitements.
Predictable excesses indulged in
at the year’s end.

It goaded us into domestic frenzy
Relaxed our personal long term objectives
Coaxed us to retail therapy
By conducive shopping malls

Our emotions surged
On full singing churches, lit candles
twinkling lights, shimmering city streets,
acknowledging, at least a little,
 the source of our joy.
Happy children and friends uplifted us,
gifts brought and given, laden tables
respite from care for twelve days and sated-
Gratified maybe by our charity to others.

How cocooned we were in our security!
Our sense of perennial aegis
Who would believe that the world would revert,
regress to unimaginable chaos some twelve days later?
Descended instantaneously upon us, among us –
A nano-microscopic spiked alien dot
much smaller than a grain of salt.
So we rally organisation to minimise
the ensuing assault
We also hit out – appropriate blame, responsibility,
negligences on our leaders, mentors.
But aren’t we all human?
And so we futilely hope to rationalise,
Impose structure on this impasse
Life cannot be structured or rational-
Truth is exposed.



Well versed in electronics now
As a global village we communicate
The logistics of how well-planned by timely Fate
At such a very appropriate date
By which to have us all trained
In alternative ways to relate
Which do not need personal interaction
As stunningly appropriate.



Quantum physics now states and proves
that human thought can make things move.
An empowering theory! – Is fate a self-result,
should this sometimes evoke a sense of guilt?

If thoughts can cause a change of state
which seems to mean all things relate
to causality via place and date.

So – Did Greta Thunberg and protesting teens
cause ultimate eco-change
by neural means?
Or did cohorts of youth, with tears of love
on deaf fiscal ears
alert God Above?

Then again (in time-lapse) did Dean Koontzs’ book
“The eyes of Darkness”, which he undertook
to future predict 40 years ago,
a now relevant Wuhan tale of woe?
There’s much mankind doesn’t really know
Should our trust in science make such a show?



My young grandson sits near a high tower of plastic blocks
Self-proud, he shouts “Look Granny, I made that!”
then inadvertently kicks it in his excitement of turning to me.
Devastated, he groans –
“If only I hadn’t kicked it! Then –
“it was too high, that last brick”.

It being Covid times now,
self-cocooning, I recall this and see the analogy
to “the last straw” that breaks the camel’s back.
My mind also revisits the “pinnacle” of civilisation our era was on…
and I wondered if things could have advanced much further for us 7 billion
in the direction we were taking, without catastrophic consequences?

Electronic technology gone quite mad,
all sorts of “make life easy” artefacts to be had.
Worldwide travel available to all, info beamed straight to our phones,
now the master in our homes.
Sad to say the way we were headed
–disconnected the homeless, dispossessed,
millions of refugees, forlorn and stressed,
hidden corruption to access unfair gain
ignoring the pain
Covid puts us on a somewhat even keel again
without control of our worldly ways,
we realise man has not endless days.


Current Stagnation Vacuum

“Two steps forward, one step back”
was a well-worn saying, a much-used hack,
but 20th-century progress, on an upward rocket,
saw yesterday as history – nothing could stop it.

Bewildered elders watched receding past,
vanish at lightening speed – gaped aghast
upwardly mobile life flew madly on
ground-breaking innovation rendered recent ones gone.

“No going back” seemed the latest phrase
the reach now aimed at – in a haze
Above the sight of man – but God?
Our rockets landed with a downward thud.

So where does it all go from here?
Revert to former knowns I fear –
Can we return to previous ways?
That second idiom is a bi-sense phrase…


Poems written in isolation © Mary Agnes Cullen

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