FACT CHECK: ‘Let’s All Drink To Lockdown’ – Did Pam Ayres Write This Poem About The Coronavirus?

Elias Atienza | Fact Check Reporter

A post shared on Facebook claims poet Pam Ayres wrote the poem “Let’s All Drink To Lockdown” about the coronavirus pandemic.

“Anyone remember the poetress Pam Ayres?” reads the beginning of the Facebook post. “Well, she’s 73 and still going strong. This is her latest ode to coronavirus.”

Verdict: False

Ayres tweeted that she didn’t write the poem. It was actually written by Jan Beaumont, a New Zealand woman.

Fact Check:

People have widely shared the poem “Let’s All Drink to Lockdown” on social media with attribution to Ayres in recent weeks. The poem compares an elderly woman’s experiences during the coronavirus pandemic to those during previous points in her life, such as the “sex and drugs and rock ‘n roll” of the 1960s.

Ayres, known for works such as “With These Hands” and “Up In The Attic,” did not write the poem, however.

“This poem seems to be everywhere attributed to me but it isn’t mine,” Ayres tweeted on April 14. “It’s by Jan Beaumont.”

Indeed, Beaumont originally posted the poem on Facebook on March 27. Three days after posting it, the poem had been shared more than 1,400 times and garnered more than 500 comments, according to Ryman Healthcare, the firm that operates the retirement village where Beaumont lives in New Zealand.

“It took me all of 20 minutes,” Beaumont is quoted as saying on Ryman Healthcare’s website. “It was just something to pass the time really and to give my friends a giggle and now it’s gone to the UK, Canada, South Africa, America, Australia… and that’s just on my page!”

Beaumont addressed the misattribution in a comment on her Facebook page. (RELATED: ‘In The Time Of Pandemic’ – Was This Poem Written In 1869 And Reprinted During The Spanish Influenza?)

“I now hear that in England its been attributed to Pam Ayres in some instances,” she wrote. “Obviously it’s not Pam’s poem but I must say I feel honoured to think that people have compared my effort to the work of the wonderful Pam Ayres!”

Elias Atienza

Fact Check Reporter
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