Poems for the players of 'Voices of Lockdown Live and Unleashed'

Jul 30 2020

Holly Stoppit
Image credit: The cast of Beyond The Ridiculous

Do you remember midsummer's night, June 2020? Lockdown was beginning to ease and the fools of Beyond The Ridiculous took a moment to reflect on their journeys through the strangest spring they'd ever encountered, in their first ever online show, 'Voices of Lockdown, Live and Unleashed'.

Bee Golding, our poet in residence, took Orla's live transcription of the show and her own embodied memories from being audience, and created a collection of poems to capture the night.

In addition to her poem responding to the audience chat, Bee has penned a poem for every fool who played that night. Here follows the poems - both as text and video starring the poet herself! Whether you were in the audience or not, we hope you enjoy this poetic odyssey into the hearts and minds of six isolated fools.


I got dressed up
Because I miss you

I would love to just
Bump against you
Going through a door

Or tuck myself in
Next to you
On a bus
And look sideways at you
For a bit
And wonder who you are

Like Alice in Wonderland
I become my little self
Growing out of a house
That is too tiny
Head and legs and arms poking out
Though Lilliputian doors and windows
I become my child

Are you looking after me?
Please may I have a short, sweet rest?

Being mumma, being child
Growing big and growing small
I am tired

How can I explain
To a nervous system
That's used to touching people?
When can we do
All the things we do?
When can we play again?

I will rest
Draped from this tree
Like a panther
I will rock in this hammock
Lullaby baby
I will think about
How I miss each one of you


You said
I don't want to feel guilty about not doing yoga
I don't want to learn a language
I don't want to play the f***ing guitar
I just wanna get drunk with my friends

I don’t want to talk about that
I won’t feel guilty
About not telling that part

You told us a story
From you body
In your hands and your limbs
And that’s what stays in my heart

You said
Can I have the sound of the sea?
Waves lapping against the shore?

I will tell you a story
My hand is the boat
My arm is the sea

My family in this palm-shaped boat
My dad and my uncle Mal
First they went to Malawi
But they couldn't stay

You said
My dad’s not with me anymore
My grandfather’s not with me anymore
But my uncle is

Your uncle tells you to read and read
Know what’s true in you
And make up your own mind

The tide as it turns
Your uncle, your father
The turning of time
A journey of unwelcoming
We welcomed the story
In our hearts the knowing of you


We see you
Hunkered down by the washing machine
Behind your Wizard of Oz curtain
Red velvet theatre
Bejewelled with fairy lights

But here we are behind the scenes
Crouching in the mundane
The place where we live
Where we all wash our clothes
And the drawer gets mouldy

And then we lie
On the sofa
And cry
For a day
Or a night and a half

You see that we have had enough
Of going around in the same big circle
Sweeping and mopping
Asking the world
To give equality a go

The imagination can be wonderful
And sometimes it’s not enough
When we have just found some order
Then oh we are weeping again

There is a candle that is too close
And we are watching puppets
Then someone walks through
In their muddy boots
Leaving footprints

In our space
And then we dance
With tiny feet
That have lives and feelings and thoughts of their own
Dancing in our magical imagined space​​


In my mind’s eye
You are still
Standing at the window
In Scotland
Where (you said) they do it slightly better
And stayed in a bit longer
And are a little less worried

You are standing
At the curtains
Showing us the leafy street below
With people passing

I’m transported to my bedroom
Little me
Watching the world awake while I was meant
To be in my bed

People in the street
In Scotland
Going places
Parallel universes
While we stay at home

Show me your room
Where you are living your life
Being your be
Exploring the spaces inside
Talk to us like your friend in the mirror

You expected that you would
(and in the telling of that you did)
Say something very solstice
A message about the world
About the sun
In your nice yellow top
(though it isn’t really yours)
A message of joy and hope -
We can all just be together
In this glowy sunshine world

You thought you’d ask us
(and in the thinking of that you did)
To imagine this metaphor
Stare deep into the camera
Like it was the black abyss
Of the pupil of your eye
But it's not an eye
It's a technological void.
You were going to say that
(and you did)
And then
Someone else outside said something else.

Are you shuffling on a cushion?
(you asked us)
Did you notice the pot plant in the corner is dry?
Are you mourning a loved one?
I’d like to know (you said)

Tell me your life
30-second lockdown
Photo from each day

One moment of mourning
One moment of cake
One moment of staring out the window
Watching people walking past

It’s just life, isn’t?
It doesn't matter if I'm more north than you (you said)
Or if I have a big message
Or you had a big message for someone
And it didn't get through

We're all just doing life (you said)
If there was one slogan to take away from this
I reckon this is it -
Just be.


Birds are singing
And you can see me
We smile

You take me into your boat
We lie back together
Look up at the sky

You invite me
To breathe with you
Relax and flow

I become you
We’re gazing up
To blue summer heaven

Bunting flutters
Like prayer flags
On a crisp air mountain

There should be a ritual -
I never had a ritual -
Rainbow flags for coming out

We parade with song and glory
Celebrate queerness
We dance


My hands have already been
Used too much
Twitching, nerves jangling, strap of tension
Across my back

It's gonna be OK
It's gonna be OK
It is not OK today

We are led by idiots
Bad ones not like us
The world is set on fire
We are all going to die

Come on, keep calm
Come on, keep calm

Breath is not the problem
The rabid terror creature
That curls around your heart
Scratches from inside

Little claws claw at you
Little claws claw at you
There is no control

Keep the creature drowsy
Sedate the cacophony
Of fear and uncertainty
That is always there

I just want everything to be all right
I just want everything to be all right
I want everything to be OK

Flick a switch
To chaos lights
Angular distortions
Like Caligari’s cabinet
Shadow snowstorm
Dizzy migraine
Swirling shadows
Headlight white-out
Spirit in strobe motion
Escapologist lurching
Twisting like guts
Battling to stillpoint

All the things inside of me
That I can't talk about,
I can talk about

All the things that reign inside me
Inside me
Always there
I can listen, talk with them.

It is gonna be OK.

For more poems from our poet in residence, Bee Golding, click here.

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