Sunday 12 April 2020

Poem: I saw Goody Proctor jogging without a face mask

I saw Goody Proctor 
jogging without 
a face mask 

I saw Goody Proctor 
and John Proctor 
walking side-by-side 
holding hands 
with devils breath 

I saw Goody Proctor 
clapping for the NHS 
she were too very close 
to her neighbour 
and both 
without bra or manners 

I saw Goody Proctor 
under the full pink moon 
this very week
she was a-gazing up 
with bare 
unwashed hands 
and naked 
unshaved legs
and virus eyes 

I saw Goody Proctor 
and John Proctor 
they were not near home 
and they were under 
the open sky sun 
and they had 
two whole toilet rolls 
each in merriment 

I saw Abigail Williams and 
Elizabeth Proctor together 
and close as devils breath 
with eggy mouths and 
unwashed knotted hair 
and no lipstick 
nor hand sanitizer

I saw Goody Proctor 
doing yoga with a black cat 
and she did warrior pose 
‘twas the dance 
of a devils whore 

I saw Goody Proctor
have a double Baileys
with her breakfast coffee
to take the edge off

I saw Goody Proctor 
cough once and 
cough twice and 
then thrice cough 
and her flem 
was the black of 
Satan’s cock and 
her droplets 
made sick all 

I saw Goody Nurse 
be told she be 
unwelcome and 
immigrant of 
foreign blood 

I saw Goody Nurse 
unpaid proper 
and made to 
risk her own life 
for nowt but 
a hand clapping

(C) Salena Godden / April 2020

OK. Update. Lots of friends asking for a performance of this...
Spent today dressing up and making a film of this poem:

Easter Weekend

Hey my friends, 
Hope you are all safe and sound in your homes today...

Sharing a new sketch of a poem today, I went right into one with friends on social media with Goody Proctor jokes yesterday morning, so, here's my tweets made into a new poem. The Salem Witch Trials in Arthur Millers play 'The Crucible' remind me of here and now with the mania of hysterical finger pointing and blame passing. This crisis is terrifying enough without it. The blame and burden must be on our government and the ineptitude of the old boys club, that could and should have acted faster, to stop contagion, to lock down, to pay people instead of 'carrying on as usual' and 'taking it on the chin'. The inequality is blatant, the lack of protection and aid for NHS nurses and other frontline key workers who are primarily immigrants and the working class is a travesty. 

What can we do this Easter but be grateful for all we have, if you are reading this you probably have a computer or phone and a safe home to be safe in. We are the lucky ones. I had a clear out and put a box of very good books outside my house so my neighbours can pick up a free book on their daily walks. It is satisfying to see the box empty and know my neighbours like a good book too. On Thursday I joined my neighbours and went outside and banged a spoon for the NHS and the key workers and carers on a pot. I banged and hollered and banged it so loud and hard that the wooden spoon snapped in half. We all do our bit, share and donate to various charities and connect and text and phone and zoom with friends and family, all so worried about it, all of it, all of it, worrying, worrying, worrying...

We must do what we can, take each day as it comes, and have gratitude for all small things which are now big things: food in the fridge and books and poetry and music and telly and movies and radio and the truth of each other. We hold our loved ones close in our isolated households as though we are small wooden boats waiting for this huge tsunami wave to crash to our shore. Please be as open and big-hearted as you can, be kind and generous online and outside there. Because we have to remember everyone is hurting right now, everyone is coping with this catastrophe in their own way, many are numb, others are mourning and navigating a great grief, fear and fury. Everyone knows someone who lost their job or home, everyone knows someone who is sick and someone who lost someone: 'We ALL know a lot of dead people now.' 

Here's a quick handful of charities and initiatives, please share the links and donate and help from your home if you can. Subscribe to this page if you like - I'll add and top up this blog with good things to inspire or ways to help others help others help us all as the days pass. Stay safe and stay home, Happy Easter, I miss you mum, I know you'll see this and read it, I love you xx 
BIGlove, sgxx

1. Funding for writers list: 

2. New children’s book about the Coronavirus. Every penny earned from YouTube advertising will go to NHS:

3. Are you a frontline health worker who needs #PPE? is a community of volunteers working to get healthcare workers PPE

4. Refugee Community Kitchen serving food at home and abroad:

5. Domestic abuse: 
Help and support: 

6. Petition for Financial package for funeral of #CoronavirusPandemic deaths. Stop Family anxiety and debt:

7. A Life of Wearing White EP by Matt Abbott 
50% of profits donated to Foodbank @LUFCFoodbank

8. CITY LIGHTS Bookstore: 

9. Creative writing clinic 
Nikita Gill and Nikesh Shukla:

10. The Big Issue Foundation:

11. Find a foodbank: 

12. Issues with landlords: 

Mrs Death Misses Death 

Published by Canongate January 28 2021
This book is now available to pre-order 
from your favourite local indie bookshops, 
Waterstones, Amazon, etc.. 

Read books! Stay home! Stay safe! 


The self-isolation sessions out NOW presented by 

Salena GoddenAmah-Rose Abrams and Matt Abbott.

Roaring 20s Radio is available as a podcast 


  1. This poem absolutely captures the two sides of humanity on show in this crisis. The connection and celebration of life, and the fear and joy in vilification. Loving your work - it's important and vibrant and real.

  2. I shared the poem on facebook and got questions so attempted an explanation: i had a discussion last week with a group of people who were angry at ‘the Chinese’ and blaming ‘them’ for the virus. i argued that blaming isn’t helpful, 'to other the other’ is causing more harm, that this is a greater calling to us humans to start practicing love, align with nature. We’re all fallible humans, we need to start being the change we wish to see in the world (not point fingers), we’re all flawed as well as beautiful. I didn’t succeed in persuading anyone in that discussion, and the witches were burned, and the nurses are dying, and jesus was crucified (great timing!) - that’s what the poem means to me. powerful. thank you!