We stayed indoors as instructed –no-one
even minded for a bit, we were all so tired,
had spent so little of our lives in stillness,
working at those things we truly wanted.
Traffic was forbidden, the air grew sweeter,
the sound of song thrush louder than sirens.
Listening in to the melancholy of barn owls,
couples held each other tighter, their rows
forgotten, their gratitude a full red moon.
While people bent to tend their gardens,
to speak again their children’s language,
foxes strode the streets with feral confidence.
Clumps of honesty, campion and borage
sprung up on every corner. Those that knew
the old ways collected comfrey to knit bones,
lavender for burns, calendula for infection.
Children saw the Freedom Fighter’s lot
and understood at last that school was not
the prison they’d imagined. That liberty
was something internal, not yet learnt.
For the most part, the Rebels moved silently.
Invisible to humans they lodged themselves
in moist pulmonary crevices. Duplicating
wildly, they seemed to lack discernment.
When some of the older children witnessed
the carnage, they protested loudly that such
blanket payback was misguided. The Rebels
faltered, agreed to largely spare the young.