Poems for Challenging Times 4

This week’s poem is one newly-written and  just received from a friend, Jerry Gilpin. As well as reading it below, you can hear Jerry read it with an accompanying film created by his son Matthew,


‘Gratitude’  focusses on one moment unique to our times, stays with it to observe it closely and dig a little deeper into what is going on alongside what is happening. Finally, the poet opens things up by making a link with the natural world, as the poem literally takes flight.

What unique moment might you write about with attentive observation that pushes below the surface? What would you write about under the heading of  ‘Gratitude’ – or another positive quality of your choice? What linking image from the natural world can you introduce that shifts the frame and takes the writing to another place?



This is what it sounds like.

We stand on the edge of safety,

half-in, half-out of doors

in the grey evening light,


longing for the touch of flesh 

on flesh, for hand to meet with hand 

in greeting or concern.

The theatres are closed:


drama is confined to hospitals.

We need something to applaud

in these silent streets

where people used to flow like blood.


The birds pause their evening 

song.  A clock chimes; and slow, then rushing 

through the echoing city comes 

a standing ovation with whoops and bells


and far-off trumpets and bagpipes.

Something locked inside for days is now released

and, graceful as a flock of starlings,

lifts off into the night:


a murmuration of praise

that swirls into the fading sky,

each clap an angel in a face mask, 

wings unfurled and radiant in the dusk.

Jerry Gilpin  

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  • About Julia


    From writing stories for my younger brother, to penning poems for the School Magazine and filling a growing pile of personal journals, the written word has always been part of my life’s journey.

    I started out as an English Teacher and subsequently retrained as a Counsellor. I have counselled in a GP Surgery and worked with various Employee Assistance Schemes and Charitable Trusts alongside seeing private clients.

    Although I have done some freelance journalism and written four non-fiction books, creative writing has become my main focus in recent years.

    My poems have appeared online on sites including Amaryllis, Silver Birch Press, Clear Poetry, Spilling Cocoa Over Martin Amis, Riggwelter and Ink,Sweat and Tears. I have been published in Curlew and Bucks Mill Magazine, and anthologised in Our Hearts Still Sing. My first poetry collection, Chester City Walls, came out in 2015.

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