I like a piece of writing that piques my interest and leads me to do even more reading. Gail Peck’s “The Minister of Loneliness” in the Summer 2020 issue of The Main Street Rag managed to do just that for me.
The poem is introduced with a note: “The U.K. created the position of Minister of Loneliness, two years before COVID-19.” The title “Minister of Loneliness” was enough to interest me on its own, and even more so learning that it’s a real position. Peck’s poem addresses the minister in the days of COVID-19, women calling with their moments of loneliness. “It was bad enough before,” they admit, and now it’s gotten worse, their loneliness filled with uncertainties: “should they let the delivery boy in?”
The poem is touching and relevant. In addition to giving me something further to read about, it also gave me a point of connection as someone who lives alone and spent the early days of my state lockdown feeling incredibly lonely. What more could one ask from a poem about loneliness but a moment of connection and understanding? Peck’s poem itself works as a listening ear, a kind voice in the emptiness.