As the clock displayed 00.01 am on 1st January 2000, we celebrated with our children, aged six, seven, nine and eleven. The feared computer bug never happened, but in 2020 a far more serious bug awaits our kids who are now adults.

MILLENNIUM

2000

The dark sky crowded our city streets.
No rain (thank you, gods), not freezing,
just clouds and stars peering down on
children pouring beer into the gutter
then swaggering, showing off an empty bottle.
Fireworks and damp squibs and Cava corks popping
and my neighbour hit by a Catherine wheel rampaging off its nail.

2020

The bug never arrived
and anyway, it would have been sterile, computer-housed,
not like the killer bugs to come.
Not like polio-malaria-AIDS-foot’n’mouth – funeral pyres consigned to memory thanks to intelligent-progress-scientific-advances.
But like a phoenix, sci-fi names rose: SARS, Ebola, Covid-19.
Unreality for our generation,
yet it is what we bequeath.

Sorry.

About our guest poet Jo Somerset

Jo Somerset, aged 65, is a Manchester-based non-fiction writer who found a voice through Northern Gay Writers. Her current work-in-progress is an 'auto/history' entitled Born on 4th July. Read more.