30 days

30 days;in the shops and in the offices,in the streets and in the squares
(Liverpool City Centre, 2002)

At first, it seems nobody
knows exactly what’s happening,
as if there had been no notice,
no warning.
But somewhere, sounds a hooter,
then it hits the TV screens.

Slowly, slowly,
everybody is grinding to a halt.
Stock still.
Just a few for whom
life goes on:
urgency; indifference; defiance.

For the rest, silence.
Then, not quite sure when
it’s OK to make a move;
bell chime, BBC2 logo.
Everybody, one by one,
springs back to life.

By Carole Baldock