A Year On From The Outbreak: A Retrospective of Poetry on HIVE in the Early Days of the Pandemic [Plus, Win HIVE!]

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I can't believe it's been over a year since the virus transformed all our lives. A year ago I was in England, disappointed and angry that I couldn't have the year off I had planned. Like all of us, I experienced some strong emotions, and engaged most of all with the Indian goddess Kali, which I saw in the British landscape, miles from India. It didn't matter - the idea of Kali was there, and her outside time presence helped me grapple with death and impermanence in new ways, and the cosmic joke of life. I wrote poetry - a lot of it. Poetry is an incredible medium to distil one's emotional life. Since HIVE, I've written more poetry than I ever have, and to be honest, I'm not even sure I'd attempted a poem since high school. HIVE has a way of allowing us creative expression and giving us confidence to develop it.

At the time, I started compiling a list of poems that were written during these times. I didn't get far - life took over, as it does. But I include these four here, because they were truly special to look over. I was wondering whether any of you would care to send me a link to the poems you wrote during these times, about your life during the pandemic and how it has been affected by it in various ways. I'd love to continue this compilation as I believe it matters. There are so many amazing poets on HIVE and I'd love to support them in this small way by bringing attention to their writing.

I've included all the poems I found (and asked their permission to use) last year below - read and enjoy! I've set all of them a small beneficiary, so upvoting this post sends some rewards straight to them as well. Keep reading after the collection to find out how you can win 50 HIVE!

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@vicperezdelara's poem 'Everything's The Same Around Here' described the mundanity of a domestic landscape and picking up after a storm. The parellel of the storm and the storm of tears - the 'tearswater' bringing life to the self garden showed a really positive side to the lockdown. In some ways, nothing changed at all - we just put our attention on other things.

Everything’s The Same Around Here

everything's been the same around here
just as changeable
as it rains, so does get sunny
then I started to shut my mouth
and put on and take off my sweater as it goes.
it has been a time of storms and earthquakes
and now that the rain has stopped
and the earth is no longer shaken
I was able to pick up some things I'd forgotten outside
and well
we'll have to do our laundry again.
the dog has been fine
still with allergy
she licks and licks and licks herself
I imagine she heals and heals too
she knows her stuff.
we've had pizza morning, noon and night
and we don't regret it at all.
mangoes fall like thunders
and the basil plant is more beautiful than ever
and I don't know if it's because of the rainwater
or because of the tearswater
but even I feel myself blooming.
and well
I'm writing this to let you know
how everything has been at home
so you know and don't forget.

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@mrgreen's simple but lovely poem was a reminder at the time to focus on how precious the earth is. At the time, most flights had stopped and no one was moving about, so nature really got to shine. I really appreciated the poetry that focussed us on nature over the politics of the pandemic.

Mother Earth

She is home to us and future generations
Her blanket shields us from burning
Her blue quenches our thirsts
Her green gives us life
Her treasures provide everything to satisfy our needs
Her love’s boundless.
Mother Earth!
“I love and will take care of Mother Earth, all the days of my life” @mr-greens

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@laurabell's poetry felt like a reminder that even though we were all trapped in heightened energetics of online and offline spaces where we were super challenged by the virus, politics, lack of movement, media and everything that came along with it, we could choose to heal and transform instead. Crisis became an opportunity for growth. And poetry - artistic expression - becomes a way to find our way through the difficult times.

How a Writer Heals: She’ll Lock You In Her Art

This is not going to kill me
It’s just energy in motion
E-motion.
Breathe.
Let the energy emote.
Let the e-motions come,
And let them go.
Breathe in.
Express.
Grow.
Change.
Learn.
Repeat.
Breathe out.
Begin again.
This is going to heal me, instead.

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This poem by @julescape reads like a ballad or a song with it's delightful rhyming couplets and it's definitely a protest song. There's some gorgeous phrases that really capture an angry voice - the 'fake news that someone's trying to shill', the 'underwater nation locked behind our Gates Foundation', 'we don't buy this viral news'. Whatever you believe, the voices in protest of how the pandemic was handled - is still handled - are important to record.

Protest Song

Covid-19 2020
say goodbye to times of plenty
hello 2021
recession’s only just begun
Street protests break out and scatter
now we know that #blacklivesmatter
#takeaknee but not on me
lockdown of my liberty
Wear a mask to hide your face
now we know it’s a disgrace
being outside is now taboo
now we’re all the new #metoo
Social distance keep away
lockdown level three today
when it lifts they’ll let us know
endless house arrest my bro
Stay home stay safe and wash our hands
outside the coveyman still stands
or so they say fake news today
inflating figures all the way
Hype that false flag up the pole
bankrupt buried in a hole
pile them up those dead and debts
stocks up though so place your bets
Print that fiat currency
just don’t call it more QE
rose by any other name
still draws blood on thorns of shame
Fake the reason for the crash
covid’s why you’ve got no cash
not quite true I hear you say
collapse was coming anyway
We don’t buy this viral news
pandemic was a giant ruse
hoax of this whole century
while we wait to be let free
Meanwhile back in our home town
no deaths no cases of renown
only some vague rumor mill
fake news someone’s trying to shill
All this lockdown misery
engineered to herd the free
vax us all and chip the lot
in the land that time forgot
No it’s not going back to norm
that was way before the storm
we’re the underwater nation
locked behind our Gates Foundation

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I shyly include this poem of my own as it captures my anguish leaving the England that nurtured me in the early throes of the pandemic. The line 'We're all out foraging for antivirals - in sunlight, in greenery / Kneeling in the meadows asking for redemption ' reminds me of how hard we all turned to nature in our fear. I find it amusing I use a Shakepearean reference - 'the spring of our discontent' just as @julescape did in his 'Protest Song' with 'a rose by any other name' - the bard seems to be called upon to say what we need to, when we need to.

Leaving England

'Don't go far' - they said
For we were leaving within the hour
I walk briskly down past the old mill
Across the bridge and along the stream
My hands dissolve in the running water
I have minutes, an hour - no matter
Skin cells slough away and part of me is left
Here, in the land that birthed my ancestors
I think of the boy Arthur turned fish
Learning the ways of the badger, the hawk
Empathy comes easy when you are that
Becoming the land, I am
He, the fisher king , healer of the land
Now it's the other way 'round
We're all out foraging for antivirals - in sunlight, in greenery
Kneeling in the meadows asking for redemption.
I pick posies of feverfew and wood avens
Dog rose 'twines round elder
Purple fog nestles next to thistles, ox eye daisies
Saplings of birch, blackthorn
I stuff plantain in my pockets
The wild garlic wilts yellow along the way
I pluck seeds and put them in my mouth
They, like the white blackthorn giving way to sloes
Bookend this spring of our discontent.
But here, by the water - how could anyone be anything but at peace?
I lift my hands and sunshine trickles down my elbows
Swooping back to the water, they stop mid flight
A deer stands in the field beyond, and behind that the oak
The blackbirds are stirring the leaves
I follow the tadpoles and fishes downstream
Into all the waterways of England
Look - there is my heart caught on the roots of an ash
my lungs swirling around wet stones
my insides kissed by the branches of willow
I cry all the way home.
'Did you go far?'
'Not far', I say, and pick up my bags.

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@momogrow's poem captures the crumbling world that challenged all our beliefs and how the familiar was transformed by the pandemic and that it helped us see truths that we refused to see before. For many, it was truly a time for spiritual awakening.

Awakening

Contemplating, lamenting, ruminating,
No-thing, no-one seems real anymore.
The mundane glorified by nervous souls,
Too much in the world - wanting to fit in - sameness.

Frustration, confusion, disruption,
Inner turmoil - summons an unveiling.
It arrives - revealing, earth shattering, staggering,
All familiars crumble, old paradigms erode - disintegrate.

Upheaval, dissonance, chaos,
Beliefs challenged - evaporates.
Why? when? where? what? - a whirlwind of questions - emotions.
Pushed, pulled, cajoled from disbelief and disillusionment to rebirth.

Enthralling, life-changing, liberating,
Broken but now broken through.
The familiars look new, transformed.
Masks and facades fall as illusion and deceit disappear.

Uniquely, unashamedly, nakedly
Standing there - observing without involvement - truth appears.
Grace and love overtake - knowledge becomes knowing.
There’s peaceful surrendering and awakening.

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@olawalium's poem captures that depressed feeling at all the sorrow and hardship in the world and praying for 'sweet relief on earth'. Empathy did not disappear with the virus! His second poem, 'The World I Want' describes a land of milk and honey that we all longed for so much.*

Overthinker

Is it right if I call myself an overthinker?
Just because I worry about every little thing?
I might not show it
But sometimes I think I am depressed with the world
At every little thing I see
My thoughts wonder through deep valleys
My soul climbs through high mountains
To search for the reasons behind these incidents
When it rains late at night
I think about the child on the street
Whose blanket is the sky
And his bed is the earth
When I eat a sumptuous meal
I think about those who can't afford to eat like I do
Those who would be happy and satisfied
By the crumbs from off my table
When I see people strive and fail
Work hard and pray
But yet all these do not pay
Nor give them success in return
I think of my future too
Unable to see what lies ahead
My heart breaks
and I wonder what other would turn out to be in the future
I guess I am an overthinker
Who is always worried
Feeling the weight of the world
And praying for a sweet relief on earth

The World I Want

Take me to the kingdom
Where joy descend from above
Filling the world with delight
And making our land flow with milk and honey
Take me to the realm
Where unending love overwhelms
Where peace takes the lead
And true love is expressed indeed
Take me to the kingdom
Where an essential thing is freedom
Take me to the world
Where every race is called blessed
For this is the world I want
The world I have seen of old
The world we can recreate again
Where bread is not stone and water is not thirsty

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@wildfamily's poem was also a beautiful poem of hope. It was a reminder that every one has the potential to create the world we want - 'your vibration plays a vital role in mapping the future for us all'

Your heart carries seeds,
Wrapped in everything they need to grow.
The lies that you were fed about who you are,
Your not-enoughness,
Who you can become…
Are only dust.
Allow them to be blown away
by the light of your expanding awareness.
Your heart seeds need deep nourishment:
The waters of your emotions to flow down and through unimpeded,
The fire of your courage and voice to burn up ignorance,
The loving reflection from trusted sisters, brothers, and the nonhuman world.
Shake off the tendrils of doubt!
Allow creativity to root inside your belly and deep into the soil of the Earth,
So that your stem, buds, and petals can reach all the way up to the sky.
Let the world see your colors, magnificent and uniquely you,
So that the hummingbird and butterfly drink from the nectar of your being.
Let your mind become a vessel for your soul’s fertile becoming,
Your vibration plays a vital role in mapping the future for us all;
Let your tending to the wilds within and around you create pathways to wholeness,
So that you--and the ones to follow--always remember our direct connection to creation.

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The Pandemic Poetry Challenge


I'm going to keep this going for a couple of weeks as I know that poetry doesn't just arrive overnight - sometimes you have to sit with the muse a little.

The challenge is to write a poem that captures the current state of yours - or the worlds - emotional life in response to COVID-19. It can be a poem of despair, of anger, of protest, or of sorrow - whatever you like. It can be political or personal. Like the poems above, it might only fleetingly refer to the pandemic and instead focus on what has arisen from it. I'm happy for you to share a reworking of an old poem in a new post so long as you write a couple of paragraphs to show your thinking and add something new. What edits did you make and why? What were you responding to or thinking at the time? What was the poem in response to?

Of course, you do NOT have to rhyme. You don't even have to be an expert poet. You might even choose to do it as a song! And you might even like to ask some one's permission to do THEIR poem as a song for #hiveopenmic - I'll credit them AND you as an entry!

  • Reblog this post
  • Take care with your presentation
  • Post in a writing or poetry community - try The Writing Club or Freewriters but I don't mind which one.
  • Use the tag #viralpoetry so you can find others as well
  • Paste the link below this post - I won't consider any poem that doesn't appear as a comment below.
  • Tag two others to join in
  • Engage with as many others as possible throughout the course of the challenge
  • Due date is around end of the month but I may extend it

Have fun!

With Love,

Are you on HIVE yet? Earn for writing! Referral link for FREE account here


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