UCL Institute for Global Prosperity


'You deserve the world, and everything in it': A poem by Cameron Holleran

27 May 2020

IGP's Poet-in-Residence, Cameron Holleran, responds to the Covid19 crisis and hopes for a Post-Covid society

A tree in a field

You deserve the world, and everything in it

“The sooner we start, the sooner we can try and see these things and to secure the improvements we all want” Aneurin Bevan in The Lancet (1948)

“You see, the old way wasn’t working so it’s on us to do what we gotta do, to survive” Changes, by 2Pac (1998)

Canvas blind, my room made dull
by sunlight. By this, I give time meaning
I had thought was lost. Today I am
a tantrum inside the box, my mind made
mad with sadness. I am too much for myself.

Yesterday is as strange as an early memory, less familiar
than tomorrow. Clinging to splinters of goodness and charity
I try to rebuild the ship. On my forearms, veins swell with tension.

Sick bodies should not move. Immobility saves energy
for the community of you. For most cells, the
kindest thing they can do is stay away
from the site of  (

                         restoration – why should we stop when the body’s left as broken as before?
Why not aim for jubilation? There is so much still to do. I am tired
of living through history. Now is the time to sleep,
and dream of better things.

Mine is a vision shared by all the winners of Miss World,
guided by ten out of ten answers
that suited decades of panels don’t take seriously.
There is a metaphor in here about capitalism being a virus but it’s too obvious
for pretty language. I believe
anyone who wants world peace.

I have talked to neighbours I’ve ignored before, spoke to old friends,
their days are like scripture to me now. I hold them in my head
like late night cramming. Like late night crime cramming,
I wonder if I will remember this next year. Maybe more
of us will love each other than before.
Maybe the world is changed for good
by this. Hope has always felt too much
to ask for.

Tributaries stretch out before me – too many to consider.
Each leads to deeper waters where their efforts, combined, can move mountains.
Some days, I hate you all.
But we could be a river yet.

Darkness reminds me. Tomorrow,
we will carry on and carry on and carry on.


The poem was created especially as response to our Post-Covid Live videos. Post-Covid Live addresses the nature of society, the kind of government and the form of economy we will need and want after the crisis. You can watch the videos here: https://seriouslydifferent.org/igp-films

Image credit: Simon Berger, Unsplash