THE SONG OF COVID-19
In this mask time of uncertain future
In this distance defined space of virus
Patience and sense of hope is our suture
Spirit of resilience is desirous
Toilet paper shelves empty
Distance close at hand
I wonder at the mystery,
And how it infects the invisible
I cannot hear silence,
And I marvel at this too.
Your crowns are gathering death
Spreading droplets of doubt
When will your reign recede?
What new normal awaits our breath?
Winter’s approach beckons darkness descends
Leaves of summer make their way to earth’s sleep
Brightest light remains the presence of friends
New challenges faced —no matter how steep
Picture: Kevin Reid (Scotland)
Music: M G Boulter (England)
Poem: Dean Pasch (Germany)
Dean reads: THE SONG OF COVID-19
Dean writes about his poem
These pandemic times are bringing about change and making life different from how it used to be, before the pandemic. These changes and differences are day-to-day as well as philosophical – for me at least.
The wearing of masks (of which I am a doubt-free supporter) has given these new times a powerful optic. Living in Munich, a city that used to be a major tourist attraction, I remember (more than a few times) seeing some visitors (from the far east) wearing masks. I found out it wasn’t because they didn’t trust the Munich air, or didn’t want to get sick, but rather because they didn’t want to infect others. It looked odd but wasn’t hurting anyone and I didn’t give it much thought after that.
When I used to have a job, there was much discussion about ‘home-office’ and generally speaking, an ongoing discussion about how work patterns and structures can (and should be changed) – the pandemic has accelerated this and revealed agility and resilience that is certainly not a destructive thing. The changes are not without their downsides – changes rarely are. With the radical reduction of physical mobility and ability to sit together physically – the old buzz word ‘digitization’ took on new force and contours – the virtual meeting and virtual business was nothing intrinsically new – but in these pandemic times, again, something we were discussing gathered heightened importance and velocity. Within months there were comments about the air being cleaner, the water being clearer. The sky was often no longer crisscrossed with planes and their recent flight-paths.
The myriad of changes and challenges have been relentless and not flashes in proverbial pans. As the months of 2020 unfolded it became increasingly clear one thing was certain – this was not just going to go away and be forgotten quickly. Wishful thinking alone wasn’t going to cut it.
What has all this got to do with my poem? Hopefully everything. For me poetry is a way of interacting with life, a way of reflecting on being alive, on its ups and downs, its joys as well as its pain. Words are not viruses and not infections – as such. However, as a poet I do find myself thinking and feeling in metaphors. The pandemic has been a rich and fertile soil for language. The ‘Chinese plague’ or ‘COVID-19’? A mask that protects or one that steals our freedom and hides. We live language. We are language, even when we don’t speak.
In composing my poem these are some of the threads, the fragments of life’s fabric I was drawing from. As these pandemic times have been a mixture of newness, change yet also familiarity, and a desire for life to be as it used to be – I chose to try and incorporate a mixture of forms and techniques. Poetry is a lovely way of exploring language, of taking a new journey – through working on quatrains, haiku, and free verse. These different forms and techniques I see as equivalent to the many different ways we are being called upon to deal with and navigate our way through life in the time of COVID-19.
The written word is one thing – and then there is the actual voice of the poet. I listened to Matt’s piece of music many times when I was composing my poem. I found it meditative, moody and carrying a gentle melancholy but most of all conveying a sense of hope. His music undoubtedly influenced my writing. Because of this I decided to record a reading of the poem woven into his piece of music (with his kind permission).
Be well – stay safe