The Rising Sun Arts Centre Presents... Reading Lockdown Quilt

Life in Reading during the Coronavirus lockdown in 2020

Add your own patch

Be kind to those around you Breathe

After The Fall…

After the all clear sounds, will
we still remember each other,
how we used to be? Or will we
have changed so much we’ll
pass each other by walking past
on the other side of the street?

With wounded innocence and careworn minds
fostering shifty looks, will we cast
sideways glances, avoiding the
shuffling gaze of guilty eyes?

Giving old acquaintances a wide berth,
eschewing all attempts at hugs
each time we happen to meet;
as if the social fabric had
begun to unravel, and the rugs
pulled out from underneath the
unsteady gait of startled feet…

However well the scars heal up,
however much we may regain
old confidences, we know deep
down that things between us back then
will never be the same again.

IM-14th April 2020


A Strange Silence

A strange silence seeps
into the room through the cracks
between the window frames.
It’s as if the World outside
has collectively taken
a deep breath…

A straining ear catches
only a whiff of wind
disguised as a faint hum
of rubber against tarmac.

I want to catch it
in my hand
but it deftly evades
capture, like a ghost
that craves attention
but cannot change
form to trespass
into our dimension.

And the silence moves
about me with the shapeless
limbs of an amoeba-like
presence, surrounding me
with pulsating stabs
of decaying emptiness …

and now it sits in
the corner of my room
hunkering down like
an uninvited guest
and I am looking blankly
ahead, waiting for it
to leave of its own accord…

IM-16th March 2020


The Old Ways

“There was a time”, the ancient woman said, leaning from her doorway chair, “when we had different traditions, other ways of being. We went out when we wanted, in groups made of passions and loves; we hugged and kissed and sang in crowds; opened doors without a thought; caught colds without concern – or not too much at least – walked outside without a care. The world was different then.”

I waited for her to say more: could this really have been true? I weighed it up in my inquisitive way, compared it to what my 9 years knew, decided it was lies. If it were true it would have been in books.

The New Normal

Stand back for a moment
Close your eyes
Take a breath

We are at a crossroads
The world has taken an unexpected pause
And never have we had such opportunity
To begin a brand new normal

Look through your window
At the clear blue sky
Step outside and inhale an air
Untainted by traffic and industry
Listen to the birds chorus their approval
And smile at the impulsive caring
We now afford each other

Does that old normal
Of fossil fuels and plastic seas
Hold any sense of warm nostalgia

Do you long for the fight and clamour
Of eternal economic growth
GDP at any cost
Continents on fire
Floods and feuds
Flags and broken promises
Gated territories and hate speech
Fleeing hordes from war torn worlds
Washed up on beeches
Whilst we turn the page
To more of the same

We have taken the homeless from our streets
And housed them
We have offered help to those in need
Looking out for our neighbours
Both at home and overseas

We have recognised the fundamental importance
Of those that care for others
For the future of our children
And the wellbeing of our elders
That a society can be measured on its empathy and love
And when bold solutions are required
To face down global threat
We are able to come together as one planet
And say enough is enough
You will not defeat us

Have we learnt these things
Have we really changed
What will be the new normal

Are we brave enough
To take this moment
And let it live

A haiku…

Proof of the fact: one
Can get pissed, dance and be nice
Even in Reading


There are still planes
in the sky even now
still flying to far
off lands
which seem much further
off now
than they were before
The vapour trails
are much thinner
it seems like a
a rare occasion
like it once was
so many years
ago now
So many years
now it seems like
just a distant

IM-March 24th 2020

Knackered Quizmaster
Salvation Let's hope Bored

My Next Meal

It’s late April, the skies glinting
Lapis blue, cleared of the old clutter;
The intersecting lines of jet trails
Erased by an invisible rubber.
Unsurprisingly, it seems, the
Pristine sky feels more intense;
Perhaps the quietude focuses the mind,
Effecting this sensation on the eye.

And hanging over everything
The indeterminate sound of
Silent death sneaking up behind you
Unawares, tainting the infiltrated air.

Meanwhile, the body count continues,
On the rise in stealthy clicks
Of a statistician’s slide rule, while
We fortunate ones lap up the daily
Updates, wrestle with new protocols,
Keeping a respectable distance,
Searching for clearer rationales
To underpin the shifting ground
Beneath this new beast of reality.

But as my ears ring to a chorus
Of birdsong that accompanies my
New- minted daily exercise routine,
Death does not walk with me; He
Is elsewhere, harvesting another’s grief,
Curving the air like a winged scavenger
Picking off the remnant of what’s
Left of someone else’s dying breath.

And I count myself lucky to be
Confined between these open walls
Of leafy green beneath a ceiling of
Blue infinity; untrammelled, free
To ruminate over what I might be
Preparing later for my next meal.

IM-11th May 2020


A Lockdown Lost in Loss

Lonely lockdown away from home,
Grief and loss and feeling alone,
Losing not one but two of the family,
Left empty loss, but I had to be…
Had to be strong and take care of everything…
It was only on returning home the emotions began to sting…
I can’t begin to describe lockdown for me,
Now all I am left with is memories.


A message from Chaudhry Rajinder Nijjhar Jatt

I am an 88-year-old retired lecturer – I used to teach metallurgy. During the lockdown, my faith is in God. I believe that if you work for God, then God will look after you. Once you put your faith in God, then everything works fine. Your piece of mind. If you only have faith in money, you are always worried. When you have faith in God, you are not worried.

I am not money orientated, we have enough to eat and live. Contentment. If you are contented, then you are happy. If you are not contented and going after money, then you are worried.

I get shopping in Sainsbury’s – online. I used to go to the gym, but not during the lockdown. The lockdown virus has not taken me – I have not taken any risks. I’ve been doing our allotment too. I started the allotment and I now have a small vineyard! Grapes are coming up. Grapes, pears, plums…

My family is ok – we’ve been working in the garden, we keep together. We sit in the back garden and enjoy the sunshine. I also write articles – I’ve been busy writing religious articles and making Youtube videos – so far, I’ve made over 7,500; channel nijjhar1! But that’s not just during lockdown! This coronavirus and other things will come up to remind people to turn you to God. People have been helping each other. It’s the unconditional divine Love called “Agape”…

One word/phrase to sum up lockdown: Believe in God, and God will protect you.

Serendipity Exhausting! Beauty of Nature Humanity


Tar ett andetag och inser hur fort du sprang
Inser att du saknar tystnaden
Att du hade glömt hur det känns att vara ensam
Hur mycket du tycker om det
Tid för skapande, kunskap, att ge näring
Att känna, att vara
Tystnad för själen


Taking a breath and seeing how quickly you were running
Realising you missed the quiet
That you forgot how it feels to be on your own
Remembering you like it
The time to create, learn, nurture
To feel, to be
Quiet for the soul



Where the Heron Lives

Tonight I walk, down to where the heron lives. I do not notice the couples, holding hands. I do not cry with despair.

Pond nearing, I see boys, their bikes thrown down, watch as they right themselves, to cycle slowly home. I do not envy their twoness.

I sit with the sun sinking, gaze at the duck house; I do not stoop to begrudge their little home, for two, three, four.

And as I make my way back I will gaze away from lit windows, sidelights throwing shade over faces; turn my own to the road, and force myself home.


From Amelia, age 13

I am 13 years old and live in Reading, England. Until December 2019 I lived in Australia but my parents decided to move to England so we could spend time with my Granny and Grandad and have fun experiences travelling around UK and Europe.

We moved to Reading just before Christmas and I started at Alder Bridge Steiner School. I loved it there and everything was going really well for me until the coronavirus happened.

We already knew about the Coronavirus but did not know it would affect us so much. My Mum, Dad and I live with my grandparents in a small flat attached to their house. My grandparents are both 80 years old. They began “self-isolating” before the government even said they had to because they are vulnerable people because they are old. At first they were so freaked out that I was not allowed into the main house or to be in the same room as them. That was really hard.

Then my school had to shut down. I did my artwork, “Lockdown” a few weeks after the government closed my school. I only have 2 hours of online classes a day so there is certainly a lot of time to do art!

The quarantine has affected me and my family in many ways and, in my opinion, these have been mostly negative. There are always pros and cons in life but, in this situation, I think there are definitely more cons than pros, for me at least.

The biggest con for me is social. I feel very isolated because I only have my parents and old people to talk to.  I do not have many friends in England because I recently moved over from Australia and now I can’t see the few I have, or spend time with them. This has been very confronting for me. I feel more tired now that I don’t have the routine of going to school and being in a classroom with other kids. I miss being able to go somewhere outside my home even if that place is school!

Another social thing I do is netball. I was lucky enough to get into a county netball team (I am almost 6ft tall so that definitely helps!). But all sport was cancelled because of the pandemic. This had been my only source of exercise and now I feel sloppy because I only get to run around with the dogs in my backyard. I miss the girls on my team. I miss the exercise and feeling fit and strong.

The quarantine has also affected my family and this affects me. My Dad has really struggled to get a job. He finally got one working as a courier but he is gone from 5.30am and when he gets home he is really tired. He has to work 6 days a week and he earns very little money. This has placed a lot of stress on my family and this makes me feel sad because I don’t like to see my family this way.

My big brother and sister are back in Australia and were planning to come over to England to see us in July. At the moment, I just don’t know when they will be allowed to do this. It is weird not knowing when I will see them again.

The reason we have to quarantine ourselves is for the good of everyone, not necessarily for the good of me! There are lots of cons to being unable to leave my home and, I hate to say it, but I miss school more than I ever thought possible. I also miss having the freedom to go out and visit different places, friends and family.

I feel like Rapunzel in terms of being locked away. I’m a feminist though so I don’t want to be rescued by a prince, but I cannot wait until this is over and I can go back to my normal life.

By Amelia, age 13


My Locked-down Bicycle

Too long in isolation, I needed a quickie,
my allowed constitutional,
so mounting the old bicycle
I rode the canal, through the Oracle
passed the ghosts of the Cafes
no hoards, no bodies, no obstacles
to hinder the mind on its freewheely.

It was like High Noon at the OK Corral
all bodies, all distant, at least 6 feet under
When ahead,
the bandit Boris-bike took the bend
at full speed hurtling towards me.I could see,
over the black bandana covering the face,
his Deliveroo eyes showed
no distancing intent, no quarter, no grace.

I could see,
that it would be him, or it would be me.
The tumble weed tumbled in from left field
this new spoke in the works, rattled my cage
losing balance, I veer right on the bridge
keep my distance, frightened of change.
I’ll keep to my own path, now. Thanks!
In the pace and the peace we have found.

Graeme Davison, May 2020


Hope Amidst Fear


The news circles in my head
The anger and disappointment swirling around me
I can’t breathe
My heart beat won’t settle
Every pair of tired eyes waiting for the image
for the image of crime death
the old book I have read
millions of times by now
is wrinkled
and words are faded
I can’t go outside to play
I can feel my heart
beating every time
something bad happens like the stock
rising up and down
like the heartbeat of a patient
waiting for the doctor
i can feel the pain that
the world is facing
it feels like it’s pulse is in my hands
open wide world
that used to be full of people
now nothing
but a mere ghost town
waiting to swallow you up
you know it
you have it
you feel the pain of who you are
until you fall into the jaws of the people
who recovered
and died
you don’t know who is next
but it may be you
watch out for the coronavirus
doctors and nurses
are waiting to
see how to stop the jaws
of the covid-19.

Peaceful Green
Curious Safety
Man, Interrupted Slow Per aspera ad astra

These Four Walls

Pictures and postcards hide patches in plaster
Holes in the roof tiles are letting in water   
Playing piano won’t fix the holes faster
But lifts up my spirits and staves off disaster
May not look much to the cynical few
Who kick people down for just for something to do
They were not nurtured and they never grew
Within these four walls

Hapless and hopeless and homeless and jobless
Helpless and harmless and selfless and restless
Stressed and obsessed and the shaky-at-best        
All lead to heartache and civil unrest
Everyone frantically trying to sell
A far cheaper imitation of themselves                      
Just to be recognised, just to be felt
Beyond these four walls

I was so happy when you came along
Lighting your fires and singing your song
I always wanted a place to belong
I’m back in the wilderness now that you’re gone
Battered and broken and wondering why
I’m clinging to hope that is bleeding me dry
Crisis of faith and I’m ready to cry
Don’t know if I have a reason to try

Something I learned from a past generation
That knew the true meaning of annihilation
All we’ve got left is our imagination
And these four walls

Searching for calm in a world full of hurt
All for the want of a comforting word 
Found the most powerful moment of silence that I’ve ever heard

In these four walls
These four walls


Seclusion Different Opportunity

An acrostic poem…


Walking Rögökön át a csillagokig
Mundo Unido Support
Framily Quiet
Distanced Socialising
اكتشاف الذات


If destiny intertwined with fate,

What would our outcome be in life,

If left to our own devices.

We would in my opinion perish before our due date in this little period of time.

The rulings would be the defined elements outlined simply to provide us sustainability in vivid and continuation parts of life.

Do you think abbreviation in this instance can describe our very settled, but powerful ways to resolving problematic solutions or do you think it will inevitably be too hard to resolve, thus ending instantly no matter what we do?

The colours prove no,

Primary functions situated,

As if a destiny is the home we can demand.

Destiny defines itself to be impregnable without limitations.

What ultimately we do know,our time will soon end.

A Facebook Post…

Abi Hawkins, 30 May at 00:35

2020 hasn’t exactly gone to plan, has it? We are all experiencing different things, different head spaces, different work or not working situations. I’m getting furloughed, they are still working, my friend is self-employed and struggling, they are now out of work. It’s not fair, I don’t know how to help. This is a nightmare. I don’t know what to do. Following the rules, or not (getting cross with those in the ‘or not’ category). 

Neighbours offering help (nice to meet them, check they are okay, give a friendly wave and get to know them over the weeks). Truth be told, I was so looking forward to that holiday. Supporting local businesses if and where we can. Feeling trapped in a Groundhog Day not of our own making. How can you not understand what 2 metres is by now?!

Wow, pub quizzes have adapted so well, I can dance around in my home to my DJ friends, I can meet up online with my mates still, outside soon, hopefully.

Clapping outside on a Thursday at 8PM, not sure if that’s okay or not in terms of what key workers want/need – proper pay, PPE etc., not coming from us clapping, is it? Is it okay to post a photo of gin or flowers on social media? 

Hurry up and grow weeds, I’m so bored, I need an occupation. Feeling lucky to feel safe in my own home but knowing that home is now the least safe place for so many. Is it okay to be political on social media? Is it okay to ask? Everyone seems to be doing better than me, mastering at least one new skill as the weeks roll on, what’s wrong with me? Album challenge? Yes please, that gives me something positive to focus on. 

I’ve had a lot of time to think over the last few weeks. I’m lucky, I have a great support network at this time in my life. If this had happened earlier in my life, I definitely would not have been prepared. I definitely would not be okay. Don’t second guess yourself. You are doing the best you can in crazy times. 

(P.S. Always give yourself the same support that you would give any of your friends. You are most definitely worth that and more).

A Sense of Touch

Touch is essential for humans to thrive,
To make us feel fully alive.
The loving touch,
The healing touch,
The consoling touch,
Helping; Holding; Supporting; Celebrating; Grieving
Giving; Receiving

The guiding hand,
The polite shaking hand,
The excited Hi Five,
The comforting hand on your arm,
The hand helping you up when you fall.

The tentative touch of a first hello,
The electric touch as your fingers brush,
The sad touch of the last goodbye,
Wiping away the tears when a friend cries,
Holding a loved one’s hand as they die.

Kisses, quick or lingering,
In friendship or more intimate,
The close embrace,
Face to face,
Heads together,
Secrets sharing.
The touch that shows you are really caring.
Hugging your friends whenever you meet
Holding hands with another when walking down the street.

The touch of massage, physiotherapy,
A coach, fitness instructor, yoga teacher
Ensuring your body is in the right place,
Helping another through when we are out running
Then our arms around our team mates for photos at the end of our race.

Human touch denied to those living alone
In the time of Corona.

4 June 2020



Kafkaesque! Uncertainty
Íde Productive
Downward Facing Dog