There’s pepper in the mill
and just-cut butter on the tray.
Two plastic rows of lemon seeds
that might, with care, become a tree.
You squeezed them onto a tablespoon
and shot the juice like a sailor, the smell
stuck to your palm for hours,
a stain you chose to keep.
I’d never washed a sole before
but now my slippers glide to bed
where you’re sketching your other house
under windcatchers and double domes.
Outside, the longest day in June
is drawing steam from the street
and herds of cattle come to graze
by the empty banks of the Thames.
Poem by Patrick Sykes
“The simple pleasure of producing something doesn’t change just because the world shuts down. I think what’s more at risk is the ability to share what you’ve produced, to have people experience it together.”Patrick Sykes
Patrick’s Lockdown Project
‘Housework is a poem about finding renewed wonder, beauty and pleasure in the everyday, domestic world, now that we spend so much more time in our homes. It speaks to the hope that we can find some positive things in this time and use it to rest, recharge, and make a dent in those lists of things we never get round to. The final stanza contrasts this new domestic intensity with the often empty world outside, where nature is filling the void we left behind.
At first the isolation, and the time, was liberating. There was no pressure to make the most of the city, no appointments to rush to. But now I miss friends, family, meals at other people’s houses, guests at ours. I think it’s made me appreciate the need to reach out to people to sustain relationships.
The simple pleasure of producing something doesn’t change just because the world shuts down. I think what’s more at risk is the ability to share what you’ve produced, to have people experience it together. I hope this project helps in that respect.’
Text and poem © Patrick Sykes