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Coronavirus: Pensioner poet Mavis gives us chapter and verse on Covid-19

Pensioner poet takes aim at bug in two new pieces

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North Belfast pensioner Mavis Rodgers has written poems about the coronavirus outbreak. Picture Colm O'Reilly

North Belfast pensioner Mavis Rodgers has written poems about the coronavirus outbreak. Picture Colm O'Reilly

North Belfast pensioner Mavis Rodgers has written poems about the coronavirus outbreak. Picture Colm O'Reilly

A north Belfast pensioner whose poetry has earned her celebrity fans worldwide has penned two new pieces in an effort to convince people to stay at home during the coronavirus crisis.

Mavis Rodgers wrote The Coronavirus and A Sad World to reiterate calls from the Government and NHS around keeping safe through social distancing.

The 89-year-old, who only took up the passion in her mid 60s and uses Belfast vernacular in her work, sees the poems as a means of looking forward to a time when life returns to normal.

Speaking from her home in Ballysillan, Mavis told Sunday Life she felt compelled to put pen to paper after going through a period of writer's block.

"I hadn't written any poems for a wee while because I hadn't been feeling the best, but then I felt I just had to write something about the coronavirus," she said.

"I've written lots of other poems about things that have gone on in the world and this awful virus is too big to ignore.

"I wrote the first one because I'd been thinking about everyone locked away - the children who can't go outside to play, the people stuck in flats with no gardens.

"It's so strange to not hear the sounds of the kids in my street.

"I also wanted to remind everyone to stay at home if they can and to keep washing their hands.

"It's a very sad and anxious time for so many people."

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North Belfast pensioner Mavis Rodgers has written poems about the coronavirus outbreak. Picture Colm O'Reilly

North Belfast pensioner Mavis Rodgers has written poems about the coronavirus outbreak. Picture Colm O'Reilly

North Belfast pensioner Mavis Rodgers has written poems about the coronavirus outbreak. Picture Colm O'Reilly

After finishing the first poem, Mavis went to bed, but the words for the second came to her while she was trying to fall asleep, so she decided to get up and start writing.

"These wee ideas just pop into my mind and I have to write them down. I really don't know where they come from," she explained.

"I wanted to ask God why all this was happening, so in a way the poems are prayers too. I just want everyone to be well and safe."

Mavis, who is cared for by her son Gary, has written thousands of poems and even published a collection of her work.

Her poetry is known around the world and she has received thank-you cards and letters from high-profile figures including the Queen, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, Bill Clinton, Tony Blair, Sir Alex Ferguson and the late Princess Diana.

The great grandmother mainly writes about her childhood and current affairs, but she focused on the pandemic for her new pieces.

She said she hoped the public would adhere to the Government's advice to stay at home and stick to social distancing guidelines.

"I do miss not getting out to the shops, but I understand that we all have to do this," Mavis added.

"I'm lucky that my son is here and that he's keeping an eye on my next-door neighbour, who lives alone.

"I don't know if I'll write any more poems about this. To be honest, I'm hoping I don't have to."

Find Mavis' full poem below:

The Coronavirus

Stay In and remember to wash your hands,

Please do what you’re told,

We’re living in a different world,

This warnings for the young and old

Coronavirus it has travelled round the world for sure,

Please God help someone to find a cure,

It has taken many lives we’ve all been told,

It takes even young lives not only the old

We’ve been told we must not venture out,

Not to mix with others is what that’s about,

Big Brother is watching, I heard someone shout,

This is all for our safety of that there’s no doubt

All this is what we fear every day,

Please Lord help each one of us, we pray,

Put an end to coronavirus each of us say,

And back to living our simple old way

This world has never heard of this before,

Stay at home; close your big front door,

Now if we all do what we’ve been told to do,

This nasty coronavirus won’t get attached to me and you.

Belfast Telegraph