Rosemary Ratcliff took the top ribbon for a poem the wrote about the COVID-19 pandemic.

Poetry, of course, stands on its own. In fact, one of the joys of all literature is the creative response it evokes in the minds of readers. If you want to simply hear Rosemary Ratcliff’s poem, Our Changing World, and let its language activate your own interpretations and visions, hit the play arrow, and close your eyes! Or read her poem, which took top honours at a call for submissions to the Cowichan Exhibition’s ‘Un’-Fair earlier year, below…

Our Changing World

When COVID-19 crept up mostly unseen
We’d been living a self-absorbed bubble.
Good dinners with friends, trips that transcend
And there weren’t any signs of trouble.

We turned the New Year; 2020 was here,
And with it came hindsight a-plenty.
As the virus unfurled it showed up our world
And our tank came up almost empty

When COVID-19 appeared on our scene
It seemed to be waiting to strike
No vaccine to protect us, this very infectious
Disease began an immediate spike

To keep it at bay, we were told “stay away”,
Wash our hands and employ social distancing.
Wearing masks around stores, we found arrows on floors,
Cashiers behind plastic partitioning.

Working from home, on computer and phone
Became the employers’ solution
By not using the car we didn’t go far
And cut down on creating pollution

The brightest spotlight was shone on the plight 
Of people in long term care.
Of the nine thousand deaths across Canada’s breadth,
Eighty per cent came from there.

When vaccines appear will governments hear,
And improve way of life on our planet?
Find some solutions for care institutions
And think about climate change, dammit

                                                                    Rosemary Ratcliff