2020: A Year in a Life

2020: A Year in a Life

We have all heard that COVID has a silver lining

It’s reminded us of all our self-centred whining

That has filled our internet blogs and Twitter

With umpteen ways of getting slimmer and fitter

Just eat meat and salt and drink filtered water

No, eat grains -  the paleo the better

Or give up wine and spirits and beer

And get on that bicycle in your lycra gear

And women who have reached a certain age

Don’t let your cheeks look like baggage

Book that trip to Thailand, but don’t let on

Your friends will be too polite to say you look – drawn

Yes, life before COVID was serious business

So much of it was a modern version of Narcissus

Who gazed in the mirror and liked what he saw

And wished it could remain forever without flaw

But then suddenly the bush was on fire

Green turned black and it got drier and drier

Birds fell from the sky and animals burned

People lost lives and something had turned

We no longer lived in a fool’s paradise

And political finger pointing did not suffice

To bring home the message loud and clear

We only had ourselves to fear

Our preoccupations with the life beautiful

And our disregard for the wise and dutiful

Among us who cautioned that better bush care

Would reduce the fires and smoke-filled air

And then when everything turned calm

We woke up to a new COVID dawn

What seemed a variant of the common cold

Was like the Assyrians coming down on the fold

Killing all the old and infirm in its path

Like a Biblical reckoning of God’s wrath

Was it punishment for our inward gaze?

Or an opportunity to change our ways?

Perhaps it’s both, and we are free to choose

Whether to plan our summer holiday cruise

Or stay home and help the local economy

And delight in our home-grown gastronomy

But social distancing has had its cost

And the messages do sometimes get crossed

Keep a metre and half away from each other

But close enough to visit your grandmother

Who’s on the other side of the glass

In an aged care home that used to have class

But today is struggling to keep COVID out

And the residents healthy and free to walk about

We’ve seen things in our society we never knew

How COVID struck the incautious few

But front-line workers with compassion and heft

Helped the vulnerable with little strength left

But they too were struck down

In their masks and surgical gown

So much dedication on show

This COVID year is what I know

It’s not all been a tragedy

To be reminded of our humanity

Of our hope and our love of life

In the midst of overwhelming strife

The most important message is not to be brave

Not to be courageous, a hero or a slave

It is to never lose sight of our ability to love

And transform our world with hope from above

Not God’s strong hand and an outstretched arm

To rescue us from the flood of pandemic harm

But faith in the tradition has taught us this

That the purpose of life is not Bliss

It is not to be slim and pretty and rich

Nor life going smoothly without a hitch

But just when you think you deserve more

Do an act of kindness you’ve never done before

Don’t wait for the accolades you want to hear

Give them to others who are near

We are all in our own state of lockdown

Step out of yours, wipe off the frown

Yes, COVID has ravaged the scorched earth

And of hard times there’ll be no dearth

But we are resilient and good-willed and true

That’s what I think of me and of you

So be of good cheer and don’t fall prey

To evil conspiracies -- that venal trait

But to the call that whispers your name

For you to answer, hineni, here I am.