Small talk…

These strange times, full of enforced separation, have split us into smaller units. We connect only at distance, or digitally. It goes against something profoundly human.

Having said that, I am an introvert. For me, lockdown has often seemed like permission to retreat into a place of comfort. I have been blessed by garden and hillside and someone I love to share my head and my bed with. My grown up kids have been with me through most of lockdown. So many others, including friends and family, have had more difficulty.

Still, the capacity I have for retreating into my own small space has led my family to tease me as being one step away from becoming a grumpy hermit at times, who would never see anyone from week to week if left to my own devices. They will tease me about my hatred of the telephone and how I can become very awkward when having to indulge in small talk. I often feel guilty about this, and worry about neglecting my friends…

But I think my friends will also know that what I love more than almost anything is to talk.

This poem is about my kind of small talk.


Small talk


Sit with me and speak of the drowning

Not in sorrow, but in those stories

Through which we swim like otters

Let our words be a current

To carry us to places

Not yet spoken


Sit with me and speak of the dying

Not our own, but of last year’s light

Dimmed like an untrimmed gas mantle

But not-quite extinguished

Even sepia’d by distance, it

Still splits the dark skies


Sit with me and speak of god

Or whatever we may call her

Let us feed sacred cows

Until the new sun rising in the east

Calls us to take the knee, then

Let our breath be prayer


Sit with me and share that dream

You cherish whilst awake

Clenched like an incomplete pregnancy

For I would be your midwife

I would see the life in you (and me)

Set free


Sit with me make a new belonging

In a space that lies wide open

A place where hearts beat on sleeves

A place where laughter ebbs and flows, and

We know that love is profane

As well as sacred


Speak to me and

I will listen

2 thoughts on “Small talk…

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