Reflections during Covid-19 lockdown: A poetry diary

Professor Rajan Madhok was born in Delhi, India, in 1954. He moved to the UK to complete his medical training and become a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons (Glasgow), though intending to return to India after qualifying. However, he discovered his passion for the NHS and stayed in the UK working first as an orthopaedic surgeon and later switching into public health. His role saw him working across the UK – starting his training first in Shetland – partly because he didn’t know where it was! Over the years, he has held increasingly senior leadership positions in the NHS and when he retired he was Medical Director of NHS Manchester.


Rajan Madhok pictured outside in June 2020

Rajan joined the NHS at 70 project as a volunteer interviewer, bringing his expertise and knowledge to recording oral histories of public health professionals across the UK. In April 2020, Rajan had planned a trip to the Shetland Isles, which would have seen him return to his first port of call when working in the UK, to record stories for our archive of NHS history. The Covid-19 pandemic has temporarily halted this!

For Rajan and his fellow writing group, poetry has been a way to document, navigate and make sense of their experiences of the Covid-19 pandemic. We are delighted to share here Reflections during COVID 19 lockdown: A poetry diary by Rajan Madhok and friends. 




Poetry group during lockdown

Not everything is cancelled

The sun is not cancelled

indeed it is shining brightly

Reading is not cancelled

indeed more enjoyable

Smiling is not cancelled

indeed even if you tried

as one reads the poems

sent by fellow poetry lovers

full of fun, life, celebration

during our virtual session

each sitting in own garden

savouring poems, weather, friendship

Hope is definitely not cancelled

made of sterner stuff

we will overcome this too

and soon....


Rajan Madhok and his border collier at sunset walking in the hills during lockdown

Rajan, pictured in the hills walking the dog during lockdown, 2020.


Listen to Rajan introduce the Covid-19 anthology and read a selection of his poetry here.


Discover the complete poetry collection here: