For the Privilege of Living: A Pandemic Poem

Spoken Word Reading: For the Privilege of Living (raw performance just after writing)
The nations in our blood rise up to fight the nations in our lungs.  A war over our bones: to live or to die.  Will we ever see eye to eye?

Some of us deny accounts from those on the front lines.  We can’t believe the invisible scenes of people dropping like flies for being pests or bees for progress.  We want to hedge our bets on better days and do nothing to earn it.

And some don’t care if the world burns meanwhile.   “As long as I get what’s mine,” we say.  Because everybody’s been an indentured slave to money and a servant to time, willing to pay the fine for ignoring the crimes of authority.  Throwing away masks to demonstrate the right to be seen. 

Tears from the grief of so many lives departed are bottled up and sold to the the thirsty for profit.  Capitalizing on our losses, while we poison the rivers and the ocean to make room for industrial notions: 

Felling trees for houses and for farmland, and trees for the pencils in our hands.  Trees so we can clean up our shit, as if that could ever be done, and to keep our soft bodies warm when Winter comes.

For Winter always comes to steal the light and remind us who has the biggest bite and the sharpest teeth.  There is always a reckoning for self-proclaimed kings and queens who point their fingers at someone else to divert the seeing eyes from themselves.  

But Mother Nature sees, and she eats the thrones of impudence built with the blood of her children.

And some of us seal off like frightened caterpillars fortifying our cocoons, refusing to dissolve for our essence to evolve.  We forgot our destiny to have wings while our dreams were locked down and out of reach.

Some believe there will be a breach of sunshine in this dark night of our collective soul, and these are just growing pains as we become a new race:  maybe human, maybe more.  But we must join hands for the door to appear.  And make what is good on the other side with eyes wide open.

And some of us have not spoken a word about the pandemic at all, as we sit in silence and wait for illusions to fall like snow or rain or building blocks in games we play.  The precarious balancing act of when to comply and when to attack until it all tips over.  And then a fifth leaf is found on the clover of hope for our future.

And some just take a breath, thankful to be alive, and make the best of the time we have left.  We pray for vision to unite division that we might come together in the end that precedes the beginning.  For there is no winning a war when its nature is power in place of love.

And we call in the Dove of Peace to descend into every heart that we may start to mend.  

We lay down our arms and cover our mouths and noses to protect each other from exposure that we all may continue to exist.  We do this for the good of the whole, because sometimes the toll for the privilege of living is to remember the Spirit of Giving.

Because we are a family, like it or not, and what effects you effects me, and what I do impacts you in this melting pot: the great cauldron of the world.  We must pay attention and take good care when we build the new vessel to hold us all.

And if we really want to be free, we bare the responsibility in the flag we wear.  So I will cover my face, my friend.   For I have no such great need to be seen, but I’d sure like to see you again.

Copyright © Sheyorah Naify, 2021
Art: Italian illustrator twins, Anna & Elena Balbusso‘s artwork in praise of all health workers and carers #covid19#womensart. (Article from Twitter).

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