York Amnesty Creative Writing Competition 2021 "Locked" — RESULTS

lock on a wooden door

The Results of the Writing Competition


Unlocked: Evening Stroll from Gap Cottage ~ Hannah Stone

(For Rosemary Mitchell)

An evening stroll, the first for months, with friend.
Unlocked from Covid’s jail, new freedoms found:
A map to hand, a path ahead, our end

Not fixed. Relaxed, our ears take in the sound
Of tractors baling hay, and twitt’ring birds
Above us, or arising from the ground –

Familiar sounds, but now as if unheard
Before today’s permission to return
To fellowship, to sharing; we are stirred

By this ‘new normal’; a glad license earned
By months of solitude (confinement, too).
Observing protocol, our bodies yearned

For touch, or scent; subliminal small clues
Humanity was wont, before the screen,
To use as anchors while our knowledge grew

Advancing from the infant‘s primal scream
To adult expectations of a life
Oft shared with others, purposeful; a means

To craft communities, devoid of strife
Ideally. Just being in a room
With others, talking, fostered the belief

That such communication was a boon
To bond society, engender peace.
Now boomers become generation zoom

Our discourse virtual, and with this decrease
In visceral contact we are cast adrift
On choppy seas. Anxieties increase

In absence of proximity, that gift
Few took for granted, when available.
Now, walking close enough to chat, we sift

Through thoughts, share memories; the air is full
Of words, the sounds of farmers harvesting
Long grass that swishes past our legs. The wall

We follow holds its histories, beck’ning
Each generation since to empathise
With Roman soldiers, the occupying

Army Hadrian sent to colonise,
Extend his empire; ossify the rule
He instigated for communities

That showed the values he laid down for all
Who craved the status ‘citizen of Rome.’
We walked for several hours, beneath the jewel

Of evening sun, and then began to roam
Towards the house which was, for three days, home.