The Shadows

“Lockdown” by Karin Mear

The Shadows

a poem by Rachel Carney in response to ‘Lockdown’ by Karin Mear

They measure out the flat span
of each red day that passes

or shape themselves –
shadows of shadows inside shadows.

They watch patterns of light on the wall,
and nestle down in tight warm corners,

while others paste their frail faces
on thin black screens,

stretch out their voices in a web
of silk that runs from nest to nest.


Reflections on the writing process

“These shadowy figures seem to be trapped inside their homes, but there’s also a sense of connection between them, and that mirrors my own experience of lockdown – being stuck in my flat, yet connected with people, too, through the internet – not the ideal form of connection, but an essential lifeline, a web of communication. The more I looked at these figures, the more I imagined individuals finding creative ways to ‘shape’ a sense of identity in a world that has changed beyond recognition – something that can be positive as well as challenging. The word ‘nest’ came to me right at the end, perhaps subconsciously influenced by Karin’s other artworks, but also because it created a more positive sense of the enclosed space as a place of safety and retreat.”

You can explore Karin’s online exhibition “Coal Tips and Patty Tins”, here.


About the Virtual Poet in Residence

This poem is part of a series written during the Coronavirus pandemic, in response to online exhibitions, and blog post research undertaken by artists and volunteers in partnership with Cynon Valley Museum. You can read more of  Rachel Carney’s work during this residency over on the Poet in Residence page. Rachel is a poet, book blogger and PhD student, and she’s also spent several years working in museums. Her PhD research explores the benefits of using creative writing in art museums, and she’s particularly interested in examining the writing process. You can find out more about her work and PhD on her blog.

The Cynon Valley Museum Trust, like so many others during this pandemic, have suffered a loss of income. We are working hard behind the scenes to fundraise as well as provide options to explore the Cynon valley’s heritage, art, and culture, through projects such as this Residency. If you enjoyed this and would like to support us more, please consider making a donation. You can do so by following this link.

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