Nothing by David O’Meara

I wanted to write something profound. Something uplifting and fun to help lift our focus… I’m sorry it just isn’t there tonight. So I offer you this poem written by Canadian poet, David O’Meara. However, what I do want to add is that we do have the perfect opportunity at hand to have those deep conversations that we may not otherwise share. Take care, everyone.

Nothing

"Nothing," he said, "it's nothing."
Then nothing was said.  Silence; nothing.

What she asked had come from nothing.
Sweet nothing, really, was all he said.

They cut their links like little wires, said
nothing about it afterward, nothing.

All over nothing.
So never to talk of what they said

until all that was ever said
was nothing, and so nothing was ever said.

Help Others To Tell A Different Story

(internet photo)

A doctor after a 12 hour shift in a New York hospital with only Covid-19 patients stated, “I’m going to change my clothing and get back into my street clothes, after taking a shower and scrubbing any part of the virus from my body, if not my soul.”

None of us believed we would be faced with a situation like this but here we are. Here are our front-line workers, fighting on our behalf. Here we are with more “free time” than we know what to do with.

Maybe we can use some of that spare time to find ways to express our gratitude, although it may never be enough, to those working tirelessly on our behalf to care for our sick, loved ones; for those who are working to keep us safe; for those who are behind the scenes coordinating our front-line workers; for those who are scrambling to find a vaccination or a cure.

Maybe we can use some of our free time to find ways that will lead to the telling of a different story than before. A story where we do not sleep walk through life. A story where we really see and acknowledge each other. A story where we know beyond any doubt, and embody, the essence of the African term, Ubuntu, “I am because we all are.” We don’t have to live in fear. Together we will pass through an exit even if we have to hobble.

Be patient. Be kind, to each other and ourselves. We will persevere.

Social Isolation

(internet photo)

Today it’s difficult for me to remain optimistic. It’s our granddaughter’s birthday and to add insult to injury, the gift we ordered online to be delivered before this special day, has not yet arrived. I don’t want to have the day pass empty handed from us so I have written her a humble story and illustrated it to the best of my ability. Singing “Happy Birthday” over the phone with her triggered my tears… I guess it’s a small price to pay if we can remain healthy.

I wish everyone strength and fortitude to get through this. May we all remain healthy!

Reading some poetry by Jimmy Pappas, a New Hampshire poet, inspired the following:

Social Isolation

We cannot
tell

if it is time
for

Friday night wine
or

Sunday
prayers.

Let us
bow our heads.

Rest Is In My Breath

One of my favourite things is the scent of fresh laundered sheets with a hint of bleach and outdoor sunshine lingering on the threads. One of my least favourite things to do is crawl out of a cozy bed to a dark, cold morning. Especially since lately I have been having trouble sleeping.

I love to cradle a hot cup of tea between both hands, savoring a rich blend of Chai spices flaring my nostrils. But I hate hot liquid burning my tongue. Often I choose to guzzle the tepid drink later because it sat forgotten beside my computer screen.

This morning I sat in quiet but not stillness. My body didn’t move, I didn’t fidget, and my hands remained relaxed in my lap. But my mind refused to settle. Thoughts galloped behind my eyes. Before the apocalypse many small bookstores struggled. Since social distancing became mainstream, they have gone silent. I hope they will last until after. After. After we are allowed to be close to one another again. After the locks are opened and we can breathe a little easier. After we can go to the dentist, the hair dresser, the post office, linger with a fresh off the press new book in hand.

These thoughts defy the will to rest, to simply be. They demand attention, they want to be seen and heard. So for thirty minutes I do battle. When it’s over I realize I had thirty minutes of tending to passing thoughts. I’m not sure if that would qualify as meditation but it meant thirty minutes without really thinking about Covid-19 and the corona virus. I didn’t solve the issue of what will happen to my beloved independent bookstores, but the distractions and outside “noise” did provide thirty minutes of welcome rest.

Will We Recognize Each Other

Remnants of winter wash down the storm sewer at the end of our street, a steady stream of grime, dead leaves and leftover dreams. The smell of Mother Earth shedding her winter weight, a moist decay, fills my nose. Bits of green poke through melting snow on lawns, through espresso black loam in flower beds where early morning conversations were tossed out the door along with coffee grounds.

I run away from my neighbor who says hello, a slight panic that we might be too close. Deep embedded Canadian courtesy has me stop and turn around, ten feet away. With eyes lowered I say “hi”. “My bad” is his quick response, this first time pandemic for most of us, hard to get used to.

A smile, a wave, we carry on not knowing exactly where we are going, not knowing where this will lead, not knowing if we will recognize each other should we meet again when the virus has traveled its corkscrew route, twisting us to shreds like a dried out cork.

Will we look back and remember things we must never do again? Will we look back with gratitude as those who survived? Survivors who know greater kindness? Who lead simpler lives? Who know how to connect when it seems no connection is possible?

I pray when we look back it will be to celebrate the changes we make, with a bottle of Mt Brave Cabernet in hand.

Topsy Turvy World

We're falling down
the rabbit hole
at warp speed
a toilet paper trail
behind us.

The Cheshire Cat 
would be
welcome
as characters
more ominous
than any from Tenniel
enter our daily lives.

The Horsemen prance
in the shadows -
not since the Spanish flu
have so many visions
danced in their heads.

Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse
Image from the Print Collector/Heritage Images