When This is All Over

Now we’re going to start thinking about writing from within a crisis. For some people this might mean keeping track of difficult feelings, or of keeping an account of what’s going on, but for a lot of people, especially during a long period of strangeness or difficult, we want to think about what we’ll do when it’s all over (this is definitely what I’m spending a lot of my time doing while we’re on lockdown!).

Have a read of/listen to this poem by Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin: 

Swineherd

When this is all over, said the swineherd,
I mean to retire, where
Nobody will have heard about my special skills
And conversation is mainly about the weather.

I intend to learn how to make coffee, at least as well
As the Portuguese lay-sister in the kitchen
And polish the brass fenders every day.
I want to lie awake at night
Listening to cream crawling to the top of the jug
And the water lying soft in the cistern.

I want to see an orchard where the trees grow in straight lines
And the yellow fox finds shelter between the navy-blue trunks,
Where is gets dark early in summer
And the apple-blossom is allowed to wither on the bough.

Again, think about the emotions Ní Chuilleanáin is expressing here: does she feel hopeful? Worried? Joyful? Anything else? What clues does the poem gives us that she’s feeling these things. Spend 5 minutes thinking about it, and write down your thoughts if you’d like.