A-Z Of Life In Lockdown

May 01, 2020 at 9:01 AM

A recent NZ Herald article featured an A-Z poem about the COVID-19 Lockdown. Inspired by the words of the eleven year old New Zealand author, English teacher, Mrs Charlotte Pienaar set two of her Year 9 classes, one a girls’ class and one a boys’ class, the task of writing their own A-Z poem about how they, too, have been feeling during this enforced period of isolation within their family bubbles. 

At the time of writing, the students had been isolated at home for over five weeks, transitioning from the Alert Level 4 down to Alert Level 3. With families around the country staying home to save lives and only venturing out for essentials, the students reflected on their isolation and feelings around social distancing. One student, Ricky Shen, chose not to dwell on his own isolation, but used the format to pay tribute to the health professionals who have risked their own lives as ‘essential workers.’

Whilst the students generally voiced their frustration of isolation and fear of the virus that has gripped the world, they also made some very pertinent social observations about how Lockdown has been playing out across the country, from deserted highways, supermarket stockpiling and the longing to see others again. 

They were such powerful poems from our Year 9 students that we wish we could share them all, but here is a selection from Isabella Hughes, Henry Lang, Claudia Spencer and Ricky Shen.

By Isabella Hughes 9GR

All my family 
Boxed in our house
Controlled by the government 
Dreaming of the outside 
Eagerly awaiting the 1pm update 
Futures dependent on isolation 
Ghost town has consumed my suburb 
Homes now tight like a jail cell 
I want to see my friends 
Just once, one visit 
Keeping myself content 
Locked away in my bedroom 
Mum’s still working 
Nan’s all alone 
Oh how I wish I could hug my grandparents 
Picture perfect days unused and wasted 
Questioning how long I’ll be here 
Readily waiting for school to reopen 
Some things will never be the same 
Time passes day by day 
Unworn uniforms grow old 
Vultures stockpile essential needs 
We need to understand, we need to share
X’s have been plastered over movies, gyms and cafes. 
You could be at risk 
Zero exceptions: stay inside, save lives. 

By Henry Lang, Year 9

Anger seething inside me, trapped in my room like a caged animal
But my family and I will get through the tough times
Changing is hard, but we can do it
Days and days crawl by with us being locked up
Every minute of every hour of every day I think about what is happening
Frightening times, these are
Get the hand sanitiser before it’s too late
Here in my house I am imprisoned
I need to get out
Just be free again, and get out of this cage
Live an untethered life, but
Make the most of these times, because we will
Never get these moments back so enjoy them with your family
Our lives have been turned upside down and
Pharmacies have been picked clean
Queues trail out of supermarkets
Restricted are all of our movements
Sadness plagues everyone,
Try to stay positive though,
Under the pressure of this horrible 
Virus, killing and killing
What did we do to deserve this fate?
Xylosma shrivel up and die, neglected
Yes, we can do this, but we can only do it together. We will
Zap this virus far far away, and it will never come back


By Claudia Spencer, Year 9

Abandoned shops. 
Barely a car on the road. 
Clearer seas. 
Day after day. 
Everything is the same.
Forward we must go. 
Get our heads down and work.
Highways deserted.  
I wish this could be over soon.
Just if I could see my family. 
Keeping my schoolwork neat.
Learning online. 
Maths work hovering over me like a hawk.
Now this has become a repeat.
Our bubbles all close together 
Pop! oh I can’t wait to hear that sound. 
Queues outside supermarkets.
Still reminding us 
Two metres apart 
Unite against the
Virus, which is spreading as we speak 
When it reaches you,
X-rays, doctors and nurses may not be able to help 
You so stay in your
Zone and be safe. 


By Ricky Shen, Year 9

A thick mist of depression and loneliness has descended upon the land 
Banned from society, imprisoned in our homes 
Cries and coughs of patients ring out, their tears stain the nation 
Dawn unleashes a crimson sky, bleeding the horizon a colour of dark red as a lone angel appears afar. 
Ever so gentle, her cries unleashes hell upon the lands. An apocalypse we cannot see, yet it’s ever so real 
Four horsemen appear in the distance: war, famine, plague and death. Church bells ring, breaking the silence. Parting the dead from this sick and corrupted world.  
Guilt and frustration plagues me, engulfed in insanity.  
Haunting me with this sad yet devastating reality.  
In this desperate hour, as we near judgement day.  
Justice rings out, its defining voice echoes amongst the chaos.  
Key to salvation, they are the saviour of humanity. 
Leaving their lives and answering a call to fight in the front lines.  
Millions of men and women stand in the distance, the last line of defence against this brutal and bloodlust murderer.  
Not all heroes wear capes. Many of them wear masks.  
Over thousands of miles across the earth, they lead a fight so we can live for another day.  
Protecting those who are in danger and aiding those who are hurt.  
Quarantine might be a tough time for us all, it separates families, but we must 
Remember those valiant heroes fighting in this international struggle.  
Sacrificing their lives, their time and possibly themselves, driving out the colours of the night to welcome a new dawn and a new horizon. They open the Pandora’s box once more not to let out hell but to welcome hope.  
They are fighting in this Armageddon, so we don’t have to suffer.  
Uniting the world so we can sing a new song. Welcome new smiles and greet the colours of the new day with peace.  
Victory is in the distance; your efforts are not in vain.  
We owe you our lives and we thank you for your efforts.  From 
X-Rays to MRIs, From Ventilators to CT scans.  
You fight a battle that we take for granted. You are a hero in our hearts, and you freed us from 
Zoom calls! 



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