August 7, 2022

Inspirational words from the poet of Hebden Bridge for an international coronavirus poetry project


Claire Shaw

Burnley-born Clare Shaw has contributed three poems to WRITE WHERE WE ARE NOW, a new international poetry project responding to the coronavirus pandemic, initiated by former poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy, who is now Creative Director at Manchester Writing School, Manchester Metropolitan University.

Each work reflects the writer’s personal experiences with the coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic around the world, helping readers reflect and express their own feelings through the power of poetry.

Two of Clare’s poems in the project feature her hometown, “The William Thompson Recreation Center, Burnley” and “From A Line By Adrian Salmon”.

His third poem for the project is titled “What Did You Do in the War: A Poem for Retail and Distribution Workers.”

You are the meals on the table, you

are fuel. You are a stocked shelf; you are beautiful

good company. You are up, at work, at night

change, on our behalf. You are exhausted. You are a cause

for the party, a round of applause every day. You are a

song, you are in danger to our safety. You are not a cause for

complaint. You must NOT be spit on, cough or hit –

you are a lifeline, a cat, you are kindness. You are lights

through an open door. You are not the distance that you

guard, you are near. You are chocolate at Easter,

a gift. Don’t be taken for granted – you are

vulnerable, we care about you. You

you make the country walk, you

feed the country.

Clare, who now lives in Hebden Bridge, is working with the Royal Literary Fund and the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers to set up writing projects in workplaces across the UK.