Take Me Back to the Days

Poem by FUNMILAYO OLANIYAN

Funmi wrote this to express her sense of loss and disconnection under lockdown. She was a headteacher in a Nigerian school before she came to the UK and has worked hard since she arrived, becoming active and deeply involved in lots of different community groups. She is currently studying for a Law degree at University of Wales, Trinity Saint David on a Sanctuary bursary. Under lockdown the meetings and connections are now online and despite Zoom she is feeling isolated again.

Take me back to the days of no face mask as part of my dressing.

Take me back to the days where I can confidently rush out of my house in a bid not to miss the next bus time and not having to rush back because I left my face mask at home.

Take me back to the days where I can walk on the pedestrian lane and not go to the other side when someone comes close to me.

Take me back to those days of no social distancing but sitting next to someone I haven’t met before on the bus and we smile naturally at each other with no face mask hindering the smiles.

Take me back to the days where I can hug my friends when I meet them and not give them a wave from a distance or an elbow greeting.

Take me back to those days I can go to school and sit next to my classmates and not feel vulnerable.

Take me back to those days I attend community meetings or events and we all take coffee, tea and eat together.

Take me back to those days I can visit my friends anytime and not feel I was breaking the rules.

Take me back to those days I would sneeze and people would say ‘bless you’ and not move very fast away from me for fear of catching the virus.

Take me back to the days I can go to the GP and book an appointment rather than calling over the phone and not being able to express myself fully.

Take my back to the days where I am not crying because another precious life has been lost to the virus.

Take me back, take me back to the days of ‘normal’.

I feel trapped in this world of ‘new normal’.

I feel vulnerable and imprisoned in this new world

I want to be free and fly like an Eagle from the days of new restrictions.

Take me back to those days of freedom.

Take me

back

FUNMILAYO OLANIYAN