Saturday, 13 March 2021

A Year of Lockdown

 A year of Lockdown:



A year today since this little poem was sent out into the world and then went a lot further than I could ever have imagined. It kept moving and dancing during a year that was probably the strangest and most difficult that most of us have ever had to go through so far... we have lost so many, we have learned so much, we have endured and hopefully we have grown...


In the midst of it all the poem has been shared countless times across the web... Royals and celebrities and news services from the BBC to CNN all featured it in their streams and platforms, and it even became part of the Taoiseach’s (Irish Prime Minister) Easter message. But most beautifully to me at least it has been translated into at least 29 different languages and dialects and has given rise to wonderful collaborations with so many different artists that has resulted in short films and amazing animations and educational resources. It has been reborn so many times and used in folk, rock, trad and dance musical versions, to say nothing of a rather wonderful chorale. To all of those artists and collaborators I bow deeply in gratitude. 


It has also led me into many, many deep and hopefully (mutually) beneficial conversations with people of every tradition and discipline imaginable and has led to many surprising connections and even friendships along the way... It has blessed me and I hope it has blessed you...


When I wrote it, or perhaps more correctly as with all poetry, when it came through me, it arose from a desire to seek seeds of hope and compassion in a time of fear and suffering across the world. It felt like a call to seek the good that is always behind the fear, to be mindful and grow in awareness of the sometimes seeming hidden ways in which Divine Love is always inviting us to grow in grace even in the midst of tragedy and pain, especially seen through the simple and most ordinary moments of kindness that unite us with one another and with all of creation... I believe that this is the most important call for any of us no matter who we are, no matter the circumstances we find ourselves in, lockdown, pandemic or no. I do not know what the next year will bring for any of us, none of us do, but I hope and pray it will be better for all of us, and I know that whatever happens we can all seek the good, be kind, grow in compassion and connection with one another, with creation, and with God, 

knowing we are always encompassed by love, we can always sing...


Lockdown


Yes there is fear.

Yes there is isolation.

Yes there is panic buying.

Yes there is sickness.

Yes there is even death.

But,

They say that in Wuhan after so many years of noise

You can hear the birds again.

They say that after just a few weeks of quiet

The sky is no longer thick with fumes

But blue and grey and clear.

They say that in the streets of Assisi

People are singing to each other 

across the empty squares, 

keeping their windows open 

so that those who are alone 

may hear the sounds of family around them.

They say that a hotel in the West of Ireland

Is offering free meals and delivery to the housebound.

Today a young woman I know 

is busy spreading fliers with her number 

through the neighbourhood

So that the elders may have someone to call on.

Today Churches, Synagogues, Mosques and Temples 

are preparing to welcome 

and shelter the homeless, the sick, the weary

All over the world people are slowing down and reflecting

All over the world people are looking at their neighbours in a new way

All over the world people are waking up to a new reality

To how big we really are.

To how little control we really have.

To what really matters.

To Love.

So we pray and we remember that

Yes there is fear.

But there does not have to be hate.

Yes there is isolation.

But there does not have to be loneliness.

Yes there is panic buying.

But there does not have to be meanness.

Yes there is sickness.

But there does not have to be disease of the soul

Yes there is even death.

But there can always be a rebirth of love.

Wake to the choices you make as to how to live now.

Today, breathe.

Listen, behind the factory noises of your panic

The birds are singing again

The sky is clearing,

Spring is coming,

And we are always encompassed by Love.

Open the windows of your soul

And though you may not be able 

to touch across the empty square,

Sing.


March 13th 2020

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