5 poems to feed your soul during the lockdown and social distancing
Passing each day is becoming difficult for some of us at times during the current lockdown situation. Cooped up inside our homes, not going out for fresh air or to meet friends and see new places, does affect us after a certain point of time. But there is one thing which has time and again come to our rescue in the past, and can do so again in the current scenario- poetry. Soothing lines in poems have been able to calm many a nerve through their wisdom.
We’ve chosen a few poems for you which you can go through whenever feeling down, for the rest of the time, ofcourse you can see Netflix, talk on the phone and catch up on sleep (though guess you’ve been doing enough of that already).
Insha’Allah by Danusha Laméris (2014)
We must always remember that the power of prayer is very important and can get us through the most difficult of times.
I don’t know when it slipped into my speech
that soft word meaning, “if God wills it.”
Insha’Allah I will see you next summer.
The baby will come in spring, insha’Allah.
Insha’Allah this year we will have enough rain.
So many plans I’ve laid have unravelled
easily as braids beneath my mother’s quick fingers.
Every language must have a word for this. A word
our grandmothers uttered under their breath
as they pinned the whites, soaked in lemon,
hung them to dry in the sun, or peeled potatoes,
dropping the discarded skins into a bowl.
Our sons will return next month, insha’Allah.
Insha’Allah this war will end, soon. Insha’Allah
the rice will be enough to last through winter.
How lightly we learn to hold hope,
as if it were an animal that could turn around
and bite your hand. And still we carry it
the way a mother would, carefully,
from one day to the next.
Good Bones by Maggie Smith (2017)
This poem was written three days after a gunman massacred 49 people at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando. But the poem keeps returning during difficult times, as it is about how we can talk to our children about their being love in the world, when all around such horrific acts keep on happening.
Life is short, though I keep this from my children.
Life is short, and I’ve shortened mine
in a thousand delicious, ill-advised ways,
a thousand deliciously ill-advised ways
I’ll keep from my children. The world is at least
fifty percent terrible, and that’s a conservative
estimate, though I keep this from my children.
For every bird there is a stone thrown at a bird.
For every loved child, a child broken, bagged,
sunk in a lake. Life is short and the world
is at least half terrible, and for every kind
stranger, there is one who would break you,
though I keep this from my children. I am trying
to sell them the world. Any decent realtor,
walking you through a real shithole, chirps on
about good bones: This place could be beautiful,
right? You could make this place beautiful.
Excerpt from To Bless the Space Between Us by John O’Donoghue (2008)
Although this poem was written for those recovering from a breakup, that does not mean it’s the only time when it should be read. This poem helps us to stop and look within and also that good times will return to our lives.
This is the time to be slow,
Lie low to the wall
Until the bitter weather passes.
Try, as best you can, not to let
The wire brush of doubt
Scrape from your heart
All sense of yourself
And your hesitant light.
If you remain generous,
Time will come good;
And you will find your feet
Again on fresh pastures of promise,
Where the air will be kind
And blushed with beginning.
The Orange by Wendy Cope (1992)
Happiness does lie in the smallest of things, whether it be just a walk in the park or crossing out items from that to do list you made over 2 weeks back. And generosity is a very important human quality, which you realize once going through this poem.
At lunchtime I bought a huge orange
The size of it made us all laugh.
I peeled it and shared it with Robert and Dave—
They got quarters and I had a half.
And that orange it made me so happy,
As ordinary things often do
Just lately. The shopping. A walk in the park
This is peace and contentment. It’s new.
The rest of the day was quite easy.
I did all my jobs on my list
And enjoyed them and had some time over.
I love you. I’m glad I exist.
Untitled by Kitty O’Meara (2020)
With everyone from Deepak Chopra to Bella Hadid sharing this poem on their social handles, it is the most recent one to go viral in the wake of the coronavirus epidemic. The poet suggests that during this time when many of us might be all alone, we should use the time for self reflection, exercise and joyful activities like dancing.
And the people stayed home. And read books, and listened, and rested, and exercised, and made art, and played games, and learned new ways of being, and were still. And listened more deeply. Some meditated, some prayed, some danced. Some met their shadows. And the people began to think differently.
And the people healed. And, in the absence of people living in ignorant, dangerous, mindless, and heartless ways, the earth began to heal.
And when the danger passed, and the people joined together again, they grieved their losses, and made new choices, and dreamed new images, and created new ways to live and heal the earth fully, as they had been healed.