Two poems by Michele Witthaus

Today we have two poems from a poet new to me, Michele Witthaus. These poems form part of a series Michele has been writing about her lockdown experiences since March. In Michele’s own words: ‘Michele’s poems have appeared in a variety of anthologies and other publications. Her background is in journalism and she is interested in ethical questions and ideas around sustainability. She is an active member of Leicester Writers’ Club.’


I stole this spoon from a magpie

For weeks, it glinted
from the crook of a lime tree
that flanks the path through the park;
too high up for human hand,
frustratingly just out of reach.
Then suddenly one morning,
there it was, fallen,
nestled beside a gnarled root,
identifiable by the glint of its bowl,
although lacking its former sheen.
Closer inspection
revealed an implement
whose likely provenance
was the nearby university canteen.
On an impulse,
I lifted it by its slim handle
and, with ungloved hand,
slid it into my bag.
This was a few weeks ago,
you understand,
when such an action,
although odd,
was not potential suicide.
Scrubbed and soaked,
it turned out to be
the perfect size
with which to measure
my daily dose of caffeine.
I’m doing all right now,
all things considered.
Although you may want to ask again
if the coffee runs out.


Lockdown dreamscape

In sleep, my subconscious
does the tedious work
of processing the changed world:
not with any grand themes
but in small disturbing twists,
like the blank-eyed man
who follows me now,
his face half-revealed by a mask.
And in my old recurring dream
where I’m trapped in a hotel,
whose corridors I wander,
unable to find the exit,
I am joined by others
similarly lost and perplexed.
We all try to find our passports and keys
so that we can join endless queues
for taxis to airports
with landing strips empty of planes.
My somnolent brain
accepts the altered story lines,
like a hack at a media briefing,
asking safe questions
and receiving in reply
lies and non-sequiturs.

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