Here is my poem that was inspired by the stories of acts of kindness as submitted to the Museum of Kindness and the exhibition at The Wells Maltings in Norfolk organised by the artist Kazz Morohashi as part of the Museum of Kindness.
The Sound of Human Kindness
Dedicated to the community of Wells-next-the-Sea
This town sits nestled on the North Norfolk Coast.
Its quay bristling with lobster pots.
See plastic catch trays stacked along the sea wall,
The fishing fleet, salt marsh beyond,
The endless beach, wind farm harbour,
and generations of lifeboat crew.
A town with butchers and bakers,
Well used pubs and tea-rooms,
fish and chip takeaways with a ’99 flake,
ancient walkways used by smugglers,
higgledy houses with priest holes and
brightly painted beach huts, legs buried in sand.
Covid-19 struck Norfolk early that Spring.
Doors were locked, public meetings cancelled.
Only essential shops stayed open.
Fear tore down Two Furlong Hill, up Burnt Lane
Through Jolly Sailor Yard
And whistled around Northfields.
Wells became a ghost town.
Gone were the tourists, the crabbers,
The day trippers and the beach combers.
Furtive shoppers slid quietly between
Howells, Nisa and Jaggers. Shopped quickly,
Anxious to get back to the safety of their homes.
Outsiders were banished.
Police received complaints from suspicious neighbours.
They knocked on doors, sent rule-breakers home.
Masks were worn, the two-metre rule enforced.
Church communion was suspended.
Kissing, hugging and singing, all were banned.
But while the town was in the silent fog of fear,
Skeins of hope wound through the streets.
Like shafts of sun on sea after a storm.
People looked outward and offered their help.
Children of essential workers went back to school.
The Carnival Committee entertained on-line.
A schoolgirl wrote poems for nurse’s funds.
Flowers decked graves for absent loved ones.
Lifeboat teams volunteered at vaccine clinics.
Roasts were delivered to NHS workers.
The theatre streamed at-home offerings.
The god of Zoom became the saviour of connection.
The self-isolating and shielding were supported.
A widow found friends she hadn’t know.
A gluten free loaf was baked for a paramedic.
Small and personal tasks would be completed unasked,
Not for fanfare, money or fame,
But the simple goodness of the thing.
A new heart was heard beating,
In the clinking of masts on a quiet creek.
The tap, tap, tap of East wind at keyholes.
Footsteps on cobbles, a sea shanty beat,
Sweeter than a high tide in summer.
Human kindness reverberated throughout the town.
By Briony Bax