An Isolation Story – A poem by Patrick Mooney

by Dec 19, 2020Patrick Mooney, Poetry, Writing2 comments

Picture of Shelly by Patrick Mooney

A Poem by Patrick Mooney

An Isolation Story / (Barking Mad)


Self-isolation, forced isolation, feeling the restrain, fighting the boredom, blocking out the pain…lock down in full flow…an empty Hightown is all we now know, a handful of shops are spared from sudden death, due to the essentials that only they alone can sell. 

No furlough for me you see, carry on working they say day to day or nights as the case maybe…

The sunshine is bright and the afternoon heating up to a hot one, as Shelly and I sit under a crystal blue sky. 

More thinking time as I pour myself a drink, Shelly would nod if she could, but I’m sure that I have just caught a blink… 

I open her shell, as she doubles as an ashtray, tapping her gently on the head, as I open up on my feelings, feeling the strain, feeling the pain, believe me being quarantined on your own, can feel like a life time…a life of solitude I don’t wish to get used to.

Seven weeks in and I put pen to paper…explaining to Shelly what I am about to write, I can tell her anything you know, however the conversation is slow, as she just sits there and looks on in a daze…

Observing me as I look at my BBQ…a BBQ for one I don’t think so, barking mad they would say and certainty take me away.

Seven weeks in and I’m missing the pub, not just for the drink, but the company you see, as I explain to Shelly, while pouring myself another drink…she’s not convinced as she stands there on all fours and continues staring back at me, with that hundred year old blank expression…

Barking mad they would say, if I ever admitted this friendship to anyone outside of our world and I’m sure that Shelly agrees as I flick some more ash inside her camouflaged back.

As I open my book, I’m sure Shelly is taking a sneaky look, so I turn to give her a better view, as the sun rays beat down on both of us…

I realise that I am missing my family and friends and wonder if I should tell them about Shelly when we next meet? Or maybe not…barking mad they would say and certainty take me away. 

I finish my beer, dumbing my cigar out on Shelly’s open back, closing her shell gently, before heading for a walk along the river path…

I thought for a moment about taking Shelly in my pocket, for a change of scenery and all that..but what if I was to fall over or even hurt my back.  Then the emergency staff would go through my pockets searching for my ID and find Shelly staring back at me…barking mad they would say and certainty take me away.

Lots of people out on the river Wye…but I’m sure not everyone can count? Two metres I don’t think so…no…no…no…

Bicycles galore, dog walkers I’ve never seen so many…bodies young and old, moving           

at a steady pace, Shelly defiantly would look out of place.

As I round the corner near the rowing club, I’m sure that I can hear clapping, it must be a Thursday night…as a community we salute the NHS, front line workers and beyond.

I wish now that I had brought my Shelly with me…but never mind it’s something to talk about when I get return home…

Just hoping that the neighbours don’t see me sitting out back…barking mad they would say, call the ambulance and take him away.


If you are interested in Patrick Mooney’s work, then make sure to check out His book, available now from Amazon.

And from our website.

Also available internationally through Barnes and Noble, Waterstones, Bookstopia and many more! (Also through Kindle).
Additionally, if you would love to get a copy of his children’s book, Down on the Lake, then make sure to check out our website.
and avaible on Amazon.And also internationally through online and local retailers such as Barnes and Noble, Waterstones, Booktopia and many more



  1. Birgit Treml

    I like this poem very much. Reminds me of Chuck in “Cast away”, who´s only company was Wilson, a ball with a face drewn on it.
    And doesn´t the isolation that this pandemic requires often feel like being cast away on a lonely island?

    Thanks to Patrick Mooney for expressing all that in this great poem!

    • Sleepylion

      Many thanks for your comment! Indeed, that is a great comparison. Luckily, Patrick still has Shelly to keep him company as we go through another lockdown. If you enjoyed this poem, then make sure to keep in touch, as we will be posting more of his work in the coming months. Additionally, Patrick Mooney has just published his latest poetry book, Be Careful of Falling Rocks, available through our website, Amazon and internationally through most retailers.
      Wishing you the very best in this new year!
      Sleepy Lion Publishing


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