Disruption - 10th Annual Honi Soit Writing Competition

The Quarantine Quandary

Poetry about living in the COVID-19 health crisis.

Art by Alex Mcleay

The peregrine falcon lives on every continent in the world. The word ‘peregrine’ translates to ‘wanderer’, as the falcon migrates over land and sea each year, crossing paths with other falcons, before returning home – which could be anywhere in the world.  

The Sinister Screen 

Twitching 

Blinking screens

Graphs 

Grace news bulletins 

Like Gospel 

Cabinet chaos

Preaches calm 

But retreats into walls

Of a capsizing Canberra

And 

Cold tiles tell tales of 

Supermarket conundrums 

Reassurances swim in 

Black crevasses 

Of canned food aisles

Pushing trolleys with fists 

Mayhem scribbled into shopping lists 

We crave

Apocalyptic air

The shoves and shuffles

The hustle 

The bustle.  

The only noise 

In the quietness of quarantine.

The falcon flies between 

Ravaged rainbows 

Watches us spill out

Like octopus ink 

Shameless self-poison 

She lands 

Cries

Calls for a caress of her wounded 

Wings. 

Rewind. 

We waited for the play-next button 

But didn’t realise 

This was the series finale 

Cliffhanger 

Ending 

Everybody waiting

Everybody watching.  

There is a quietness in quarantine 

A slowness 

I cannot quite grasp. 

No morning rush 

With makeup brush 

Just feet fiddling with carpet fluff 

Forcing ourselves to wake up 

Face the day 

Of TV on 

TV off 

Facebook 

Fridge

And the funny feeling of 

Quietness 

Without

Gedo bellowing through the front door 

Shouting in Arabic 

Cigar smoke kisses his chin  

Prickly beard 

The little ones giggle and wriggle

As he pulls them in. 

Carrying boxes of mango and peach

He guards our kitchen 

Like Pharoah. 

The quietness in quarantine 

I know, is hard for him. 

The falcon dips over train rides 

Where school girl cliques 

And small smiles to brown haired boys

And businessmen in boujee black button ups 

And rows of cross-legged 

Coffee-breathed

Mornings

Live only in the echo of empty carriages. 

The falcon flies over  

Hozier nights

Where mothers divide 

Pots of popcorn 

And Sunday barbeques battle on 

Without grandma’s butterscotch pudding.

Our bodies are unfit

For the quietness in quarantine.

They crave the times 

When knowing 

Was no novelty. 

Are we selfish?

Is this how we got here?

It’s Quaint and It’s Quiet

Who knew

A coffee needed wind? 

Needed the blue-eyed barista with a deer tattoo

As the backdrop? 

There is a quietness in quarantine 

That riddles my bedroom walls.

I notice the mirror’s wooden frame 

Parallel grains 

A Peruvian prize 

I muse

At how long I have missed this 

And why?

And why

I didn’t know Mama was greying

Until sunlight caught the silver strands 

Sipping cinnamon tea 

Her Aphrodite hair 

Teases the azaleas

At our feet 

In the quietness of quarantine 

Nature unfurls

Like grandmother willow 

Waiting for her turn to speak 

After we 

Wasps and termites 

Tantalised her roots

Tested her. 

But with one microscopic menace 

She has silenced us.   

Falcons circle her 

Like a flower crown.

Our eyes bow

Sanctify her sanctity 

In the quietness. 

But I wonder 

Will we need 

Reprogramming?

Will quick breaths in crowded restaurants 

Haunt us?

Will we flinch before turning door knobs?

Will I love you’s dwell in aluminium phone lines? 

Will –

The morning chirps. 

Falcons flitter on our fences

Smell of Italian balconies

Sing Turkish songs 

And fly low 

In the Australian air

‘Look out your window,’

They sing  

‘So long as I fly,

You can never be alone.’

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