• Hercules Editions

TRICKSTER IN COVID-19 TIME by Nancy Charley

Updated: Apr 15

Tuesday 7 April 2020



In the part of the Trickster story above, it appears Trickster got what he wanted. After a few days floating away from the cares of the world, he arrives back to find the man was seeming to ‘make his own fate’. I guess, few of us would suggest we are in the same position. Like many of you, I know people directly affected in this current crisis. My daughter, a physio, has been quite ill for the last few weeks. She eventually got a swab test on Monday and we wait to find out the results today. My husband, a GP, is working at home as he had a stent a few years ago and so considered vulnerable. I’ve listened to his worries as he does hundreds of telephone consultations and tried to organize junior doctors so they can practice safely in this new situation. I have a friend who cares for dialysis patients in their homes and another who organizes the military in London. Their work has become incredibly complicated.


But listening to the Queen’s speech on Sunday, I had to agree, that, just maybe, there might be some benefits. Talking with my elderly aunt on the phone, I was amazed at how well her neighbours are caring for her. And have you noticed how considerate everybody has become – acknowledging other people on their ‘exercise’ and making space for them? On a personal level, I’m so glad I was brought up by a mother who grew up through the War and lived most of her adult life with chronic illness but, instead of being bitter, somehow knew how to make the best of things. And also, somehow, managed to engender that in me. I’ll admit to a Tricksterish sense of glee as more time at home has meant I’ve begun some writing and other creative projects that have been waiting for a long time. And if all the seeds come up that I’ve planted, I’ll be giving away Harvest Festival parcels in September!


I’ve been wondering if I were to write about Trickster and Covid-19 where would I find him? Would he be egging people on to panic-buy (pardon the pun)? Or would he be one of the scammers offering to do shopping for vulnerable people then making off with their cash or bank card? Would he be twisting the story in the media until we are not sure what to believe? Would he be whispering to the politicians that they didn’t really need to lockdown, it would lose them votes and credibility? Or would he be leading the cheering on a street, creating a party atmosphere to raise peoples’ spirits? Would he be dreaming comedy shows and songs that keep us laughing? Would he be in the laboratory at UCL and Mercedes-Benz creating an innovative respirator to trick the virus? Remember Trickster is amoral – not looking to take sides.


Where will the Covid-19 story end? In tragedy for many all around the world, certainly. But what else will come from it? Will we use it to assess how we live individually, nationally, globally? I think Trickster might point out that it’s funny how all the planes can be grounded for Covid-19 but not for climate change which is potentially far more devastating. Trickster, as coyote, or rabbit, or spider, may just have something to say about humanity’s egocentricity, more concerned about humans not getting wiped out than all the other species that are on the brink of extinction.


I guess it will be some years before we can really assess these days. But for now, I want to send warm thoughts to anyone reading this blog post. I will reiterate that frequent common greeting “Stay home. Stay safe” as we head up to a stay-at-home Easter. Here’s Trickster’s version of Easter events.





The Gospel of Trickster is available here

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Hercules Editions is an independent press combining poetry and prose with art and archival material, to create beautiful small books and prints. We’re based in Lambeth, the site of artist-poet William Blake’s last home and printing works in Hercules Road.

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