Smugglers In The Underground Hug Trade

Surprised by how few literary references exist for the Spanish ‘Flu pandemic of 1918/19, William Wall made a conscious decision, at the outbreak of the 2020 pandemic, to document the experience of ‘the strangest year we have lived’. In a poetic journal, Wall captures the roller-coaster of emotions from the first terrible days in Italy to the highs and lows of the lockdown in Ireland, culminating in the frightening increase in numbers at Christmas 2020.

But this is not just a book about the plague: the author turns to nature, to love, to his beloved Cork coast and sea-swimming for solace. There are many tender memories, moments of personal inspiration, humour and hopefulness – the whole suffused with an acute awareness of the historical context. There have been other plagues and pandemics, the poems say, and we have survived, we will survive this too.

          we will seam these memories

          in the lining of our hearts

          the ocean’s pulse

          beating through winter nights

          the sound of an island breathing slowly

               (The October Lockdown)

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