A KEIGHLEY artist and writer has created a picture and poem inspired by the deadly power of Covid-19.

Hilary Roper compares the coronavirus to a dragon in her poem Covid Lacerta which is illustrated with one of her distinctive pictures.

The new poem, Covid Lacerta, describes Covid-19 as a reptilian "beast of sleep" that gloats as it sprays the air with poisonous droplets. 

She ends the chilling poem with "My snout cannot be bought. I am not for sale. I just permeate. Till the tide turns and you exterminate."

Hilary's new work comes only weeks after Hilary's pictures were chosen to spearhead a campaign against a planned waste incinerator in Keighley.

The town's MP, Robbie Moore, showcased the pictures along with a poem by Hilary in the window of his North Street office.

Hilary's images – which included smoke from an incinerator "spiking rainbow orbs across the valley in destruction" – were intended to depict local people's feelings towards the controversial project.

Internationally-acclaimed artist Hilary, who trained at Lancaster College of Art and Design and Leeds University, is a professional artist who writes and illustrates books for children.

She has held major art exhibitions, and her illustrations were represented by Prince Charles for exhibition with the National Trust.

Hilary uses professional oils with brushes and palette knives, sometimes thickly applied and sometimes with the finest of linear patterning.

Hilary, whose first book in the 1990s was entitled Macfaddion’s Finest Hour, last year completed 1,300 short fairytales for Buttercup Publishing.

She also sells her self-published children’s books ‘Surtsey the Cat’ and ‘Sashka the Snow Princess and All the Creatures of the Frozen North’ at local outlets such as East Riddlesden Hall.

Earlier this year Hilary was inspired to paint the "extraordinary beautiful" tulips in the town hall square after learning that a website ranked Keighley amongst the top 10 worst places to live in England.

The full poem:

I shall slumber in my sleep tonight.

Wrinkled face, crinkle-eyes tight.

I shall think I am a dragon wide,

Curled in sleep, bleary-eyed.

If I snore it will be wolverine

Scales overlapping reptilian. I’m,

A beast of sleep, most devine.


I shall slumber deep tonight and snore,

With bulbous eyes and shaking claws,

I will lie in a tired heap,

Trying to refrain from a deeper sleep.

My body with spade-like crests flop,

As my mind sinks into spacious drop.

As dragon-like; all droplets will float,

Spray the air and gloat.


I purr not snore on bedded branch,

Lash my tail with spear-like glance,

Bulbous beak-like clay, well fed,

With glassy eyes, blooded red.

A see warty toads hopping mad

I feel quite alone, quite sad.

So tonight, I allow my warty eyes to close,

And will fall asleep beneath your nose.


So, to all of you, young and old

Don’t leave it till you are told.

Socially isolate, be brave, be bold.

But, no government will tell me.

I am free.

I come in multi-packs of spray,

Cause I am an invisible outlay.

My snout cannot be bought.

I am not for sale. I just permeate. Okay

Till the tide turns and you exterminate.