Poems from Lockdown

Culture and creativity during Covid: teaching and learning at home

David McKinstry is a teacher – see his biographical details below – who has also been engaged in home schooling of his son, Gabriel, during lock down. Gabriel, like many pupils, was finding it hard to adjust to the new style of learning. In attempt to help him in his studies, David wrote a series of poems around his subjects, covering the subjects of art, English, geography, history, maths, modern studies, and science. This proved to be successful because most were quite humorous and lightened up his lock down learning. Education Scotland has decided to publish one of the poems and so it seems there may be wider value in the poems being useful in helping pupils’ access both their studies and literature during these unusual times. We publish with David’s permission those poems concerning history and modern studies.


From dreaming spires
To county shires
They came to fight
at Passchendaele

From every village hall
They answered Albion’s call
For on that field
They dare not fail.

One yard the more
One thousand the less,
Whilst mothers wept
As they received the news
By postal address.

In dining rooms
Fathers quietly cry,
For telling their sons
Tales of courage
Based upon a Kipling lie.

This is our Place

Scotland always proud,
But sometimes we must celebrate
Our people aloud.

From highland clan
To Coatbridge mum,
With purse at the ready
To buy the weans
Ice cream at the van.

From Scots Asian doctor
Who serves her community
From dawn to dark
Then puts on her
‘See you jimmy bonnet’
To support her country
At Hampden park.

From businessman
Creating wealth in designer suit,
To firefighter whose values
Are other than making loot.

These are our people

Dr David McKinstry teaches history in the Humanities Department of Port Glasgow High School, Scotland. He read History at Glasgow University and received his PhD from Strathclyde University. He has taught History in Secondary and Higher Education for the past twenty years and is currently writing a biography on Lyndon Johnson. He is also author of We Shall Overcome – The Politics of Civil Rights, May 1963 to August 1964 (VDM Verlag Dr. Müller (now Omniscriptum Publishing Group), 2008, 9783639107630).