Virtual Purgatory

2020 – the year of the virtual team meeting.  This has been published in Viral Verses – a collection of wonderfully illustrated poems written by some well known and some not so well known poets, focusing on the impact of the pandemic.   See the following link:


It’s a Microsoft teams meeting day
Eleven o clock we all chat
I’ve put on a top that’s been ironed
Shut the door too, to keep out the cat.
There’s a room in my house full of books
It would seem that’s the place I should be
Check the books first, of course – no self help.
I’ve been studying it all on TV.

We’ve decided that we should all ‘meet’
To make strategic plans, and catch up
For when “all this is over” (no dates)
I’ve made coffee in my Fortnum’s cup.
Some have cameras on. Others prefer
To just listen behind a grey square
If they don’t speak it starts to feel weird
And you wonder if they’re really there.

But the colleagues you see set the tone
Sitting upright, and looking quite keen
Doing nodding and listening heads
(Slightly tilted). Gazing at the screen.
Subject matter, as usual, banal
Made more tedious as we navigate
Taking turns, making sure we feel ‘heard’,
Awkward silences. Points made too late.

Someone’s doorbell has rung. Off she goes
(Dodgy shorts on. And slippers! Who knew?)
We all wait in our boxes until
She comes back. And she says “72
Hours to leave it”. A murmer is heard,
Of agreement, just laced with self doubt
We all know we’ve torn open our parcels
Too soon for the germs to die out.

I enjoyed that bit more than the rest.
Haven’t seen her in slippers before
She looked smart from the waist up of course.
Note to self: always plan for the door.
Anyway, we’ve been here for an hour
Talking crap in such business like ways
And I think there’s a vibe coming through
That we’d like to get on with our days.

Someone’s asked me a question on teams
I admit that my mind was elsewhere
I caught sight of my books on the screen
And my ‘50 shades’ book is still there!
It was tucked between Shakespeare and Fromm
Hadn’t noticed it until today
I honestly thought that my hair
Was the one place to see shades of grey.

Need the doorbell to ring – amazon
Need the cat to be sick in the hall
Need a call from someone – ‘phone for you’
Need to wrap this up once and for all
I should never have plumped for the books
And the lighting’s too harsh in this room
I’ll rethink things for later today
When we ‘meet’ for the quiz night on zoom.

Jenny Knight

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