Shut Down

Friday night and the lights are low.
Tinseltown dimmed, marquees dark,
Broadway shut down.
Performers encased at home, mouths agape.
No words. No melodies.
No sound escapes their parched lips.
Feet stilled, faces bare. They sit, not in the wings,
but on couches and chairs. No audience.
Just the cat curled up on their feet,
surprised to find this comfort in these hours.
The night the music died and the curtain fell,
subways ground to a halt.
This, the night Covid came to town.

Written for dVerse, the virtual pub for poets around the globe. Today I’m hosting Tuesday Poetics and delving into Sweden’s musical archives. I’m asking folks to include one line, and one line only, from the lyrics of ABBA’s Dancing Queen. The line must be used word for word within the body of the poem. You can find the lyrics to Dancing Queen, as well as some fun information about ABBA, in my prompt at dVerse. Pub opens at 3 PM Boston time and full prompt will appear then. Image from

17 thoughts on “Shut Down

  1. Ingrid November 30, 2021 / 2:58 pm

    You capture the shock and sadness perfectly Lillian: a curtain on the world stage.


  2. Björn Rudberg (brudberg) November 30, 2021 / 3:23 pm

    Oh… and you managed to get American Pie into the prompt as well… well done… and now it might be closing again.


  3. sanaarizvi November 30, 2021 / 3:35 pm

    This is incredibly hard-hitting and poignant.. I am especially moved by; “Feet stilled, faces bare. They sit, not in the wings, but on couches and chairs.”


  4. dorahak November 30, 2021 / 4:04 pm

    We can all relate to this sad note, alas, long and drawn out.


  5. Jane Dougherty November 30, 2021 / 4:16 pm

    I know it’s not a popular opinion, but all that shutting down, it gave me a real thrill. Quiet everywhere, people staying at home, maybe doing something useful. There are limits, I agree 🙂


  6. The Cheesesellers Wife November 30, 2021 / 4:31 pm

    The shock of it all was awful. So sad to see the theatres dark. We have bought lots of theatre tickets for next year — so many people are not booking ahead and the theatres need the money now. Actors have to be paid for rehearsals.


  7. fireblossom32 November 30, 2021 / 4:59 pm

    “The butcher, the baker, the banker, the clerk, are secretly unhappy men because/ the butcher, the baker, the banker, the clerk, get paid for what they do but no applause/ They’d gladly kiss their dreary jobs goodbye for anything theatrical–and why?/ There’s no business like show business…”


  8. Ain Starlingsson, forestbathing hermit November 30, 2021 / 5:17 pm

    This is stunning. Really is, and of course woven right into today’s society. To me, it has a similar rhythm to one of my two favourite poems by W. H. Auden, which is wonderful… this sense of everything just stopping, brought over so well. Wonderful read.


  9. Gillena Cox November 30, 2021 / 7:09 pm

    Wow what a scene.Covid has really dimmed the lights and shut the doors



  10. rothpoetry November 30, 2021 / 9:57 pm

    I love your sad flashback to the the night the music died and the curtain fell…


  11. Phillip Knight Scott December 1, 2021 / 9:49 am

    Such an unexpected journey you went on with that line. I enjoyed it (even if I don’t enjoy the darkness that’s fallen these two years)


  12. Dale December 1, 2021 / 10:25 am

    It’s almost impossible to not include Covid and what it has brought to the music scene. You did so brilliantly, Lillian! Thank you for hosting.


  13. calmkate December 2, 2021 / 12:33 am

    what an enjoyable mix of song lines, and such a timely reminder of how quick life changed forever!


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