I was delighted to unpack my copies of the new Locked Down anthology from Susan Jane Sims of Poetry Space. The book has just been published and contains a large mix of poems, diary extracts, photographs and art.
My poem, a metaphorical lockdown one, has as its focus the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD, as witnessed and recorded by the Younger Pliny. The theme seems particularly pertinent and poignant in the light of yesterday's eruption of Etna on Sicily.
Back in the mid-1980s David and I spent a year in Italy, and during that time travelled from Rome to Herculaneum and Pompeii, in the shadow of Vesuvius. We also journeyed further south, crossing to Sicily in the train on board the ferry. Naples had been absolutely bitter (this was February); but once we reached the shadow of Mount Etna, the sun beat down on us as we cast our coats aside and rolled up our shirt sleeves. Kind Italian fruit growers offered us giant oranges as we disembarked.
Both Etna and Vesuvius were in peaceful mode during our travels; but we all know that volcanic eruptions, and pandemics for that matter, can cause major devastation.
Do consider buying a copy of the new anthology, not only for the picture it presents of this last 'unprecedented' year, but also because each purchase will help to boost a vital fund for Cancer Research UK, in memory of Dr Mark Sims, the editor's son.