COVID-19 (Poem 1: The Earth)
“Driftwood with Journal”, 2016 by Sophia Lengle.
Time for poetry
philosophy, dance, dialogue
the things deemed luxury
but that make the shared meal
happy, light, and bond all
who share the shelter or conversation.
I am thinking of my
grandparents in WWII
Ancestors who survived plagues
so we would all be born,
Refugees who live in our own times
but in the parallel world of tent camps
and cold and statelessness
(while we teach the merits of global citizenship).
I hold to no suspicions that earth is
punishing us or that this is moral retribution
consequences yes, causal relationships to be sure
a collision of circumstances
both predicted and new
but I hope there is learning here
like how good it can be to stop what we’re doing
question where we believe we are going
meet each other as if for the first time.
May every “social distance” now be answered
by a bridge of open-hearted greeting
and what if we didn’t long for how it was
those short weeks ago
but instead deliberately
consumed half as fast
produced a third as much
spent twice our time visiting.
Walked our own city as if on a glorious holiday
travelled sparingly and savoured each new place
what if we spent
thrice the time listening
four times the hours reading
five times the time being.
For every handshake a bow
to the slower rhythms of our bodies
to the empathy the other longs for
and for the love of the earth.
Reinekke Lengelle, PhD, is a researcher, poet, and professor with Athabasca University, Canada and The Hague University, The Netherlands. Her area of expertise is writing for personal development. She is the co-creator of “Career Writing” where writing narratively and dialogically is a means by which to develop and contemplate career identity. Her autoethnographic book “Writing the Self in Bereavement” will be coming out with Routledge in early 2021. Find out more: www.writingtheself.ca
Picture by Sophia Lengle.
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