A regular contributor to The Woat Pides his own particular take on the year that was

The Strangest of Times

Gordon Nightingale

Year twenty twenty began much the same as any other.
Starting off the new year with a resolve to do our best.
Things began to happen, the likes of which we never guessed.
The strangest of all times arrived to put us to the test.

The East coast of Australia was burning to the ground,
While the Prime Minister was holidaying in Hawaii.
He came home to make large monetary promises
But the bush fire recovery money was pie in the sky.

While it blazed down south and on Kangaroo Island,
Heavy rain began to fall in coastal Queensland.
Floods and beach erosion, houses falling in the sea!
Things not exactly going as was planned.

It all began in Wuhan as a local epidemic,
Then jumped aboard a cruise ship off Japan.
It reared its ugly head in Italy, France and Spain.
“Global Pandemic declared!” the headlines ran.

In the UK and the USA, things got stranger still.
With both leaders reluctant to make a proper stand.
While in New York City people dying in the streets,
Donald Trump completely failed to lend a hand.

Boris Johnston caught and for it was touch and go.
Would he even make it? Would he survive the virus onslaught?
It forced him into action but barely just in time,
Any later and the effort could have come to naught.

Movement restrictions right across the whole wide world.
International travel reduced to close to zero
With airliners parked in rows at every major airport,
And cruise ships stuck at sea without any place to go.

The countries that performed the best
Were those, through wisdom, acted very fast.
They took the bravest action to try to stem the tide.
Though the pandemic problem seemed so bloody vast.

New Zealand and Australia, in the southern hemisphere,
Applied the toughest lockdowns of all nations.
“It’ll kill of the economy…Keep it open!” came the cry,
Showing the strongest Federal economic irritation.

The states and feds together formed a national cabinet device.
“We can fight this thing together!” stated loudly from the top.
“Forget our petty politics and fights twixt left and right;
All of us are sticking closely to the best of medical advice.”

Though suppression was the target, elimination was desirable.
Any way to allow the strained hospital system to cope.
Even protestors demanding freedom and rights not to wear a mask,
Were suppressed and given very little rope.

Business and shops were closed to try to stop the spread.
As long lines formed at every Centrelink across the nation,
The country fell into the first recession in thirty years;
The promised surplus disappeared with little or no sensation.

Meanwhile in the USA, a unarmed black man murdered by police.
Black Lives Matter campaign, mad riots in the streets of US cities.
President sends in the army, supporting white supremacy leaders.
While his people are dying like flies, all he can say is “Tough titties!”

But a second wave hit Melbourne hard, the city now a ghost town.
Solidarity twixt the Feds and States started to look quite shaky.
The blame game commenced on aged care and quarantine,
The words of the federal treasurer were particularly snaky.

Melbourne came out the other side far better than expected.
Better shape than South Australia and New South Wales.
Premier Dan stuck to his guns in spite of all the venom
In Australian and Herald Sun newspaper tales.

Now Christmas is upon us and families are re-uniting…
In Australia but not so across the rest of the Earth.
Europe and the UK are still in a terribly awful bad way,
And the Americas in the grip of death and dearth.

There is hope arrived at last with the new vaccine’s release,
Two shots a month apart for those most vulnerable.
That’s still a whole month away at three thousand deaths a day;
American relief is only being felt by those most gullible.

Biden in, Trump on the way out. That alone is a reason to hope
That twenty twenty one will arrive in time to deliver the goods
To get the world on an even keel and off this slippery slope
To try a new direction to lead us out of the woods.

We are living the strangest of times, a glitch in history.
Through COVID-19 pandemic and advancing global warming,
Co-operating together is, for the world the only way.
Let us heed the twenty twenty lessons as a final warning.


Gordon Nightingale is a local author and poet and the convenor of the Daylesford U3A Writers’ Group. He is a regular contributor to the Wombat Post.