Fiona asked me to write a piece for the YMSN Blog, but what do I know about parenting, especially under conditions of lockdown, with home schooling and keeping the kids entertained or at least manageable!

So I started to think about what had really changed during lockdown and I know lots of parents are feeling really stressed, but that is partly to do with how to fill the time for kids who should be in school and are used to being busy and entertained all the time: TV, Playstation, sport, social media. Its non-stop!

But let’s remember that famous poem that ends;

A poor life this, if full of care, we have no time to stand and stare.

Because staring is something we can all do and all have time to do now.

Take time out to really look closely at things,

how the grow, how they move,

how they change, how they die.

So let me give you two examples:


I see a bright blue sky, not a cloud,
Not a single cloud,
Not an aeroplane
The birds own the sky.

Small birds dash by
Gone before you can tell what they are,
Busy, always busy, tweeting, singing on the wing.
Doves coe amongst the branches and dally on the wires
Like quavers on a score.

Swallows migrating have time,
To twist and turn and dive without direction,
On their long journey north.

Pigeons and crows fly,
As if on a mission, large and invulnerable,
But they don’t fly high.

And then the kites riding the thermals,
Hunting, hovering, striking
Ruling the sky.

The swallows have left

But in their place, the bee-eaters are here.
Their iridescent colours stun the eye,
yellows and blues and russet.
Heads for ever turning, calling to the flock
seeking the weary bee as it flies home to the hive.

And just as suddenly they are gone,
Never to be forgotten.


Every day I go for a walk,
Every day I collect a stone,
I call them my ‘walking stones’.

Each stone is different,
But must fit into the palm of my hand.

Each stone has
its own shape
its own texture
its own colour
its own weight
its own composition
its own history
its own size

For ninety days I have collected a stone
And now in my garden
I have a pile of ninety stones.
An every day I make a pattern,
A circle, a fish, a mosaic whatever comes to mind

And I do all this in my mind,
Because its lockdown and
I’m old and I can’t go out.

Look at the birds, look at the stones
Notice the varieties and the differences; write a poem, tell a story, draw:
Or just simply stare!

Blog Post by Tom Peyton, YMSN Commercial Director