In the aftermath, people emerge from the lockdown within a lockdown
To pick their way over the burning embers of lives and livelihoods
And stumble through the wreckage of dreams, and wishes, and hard work.
Amidst the ruins
Amidst the ruins a piano stands, beauty in the face of horror.
Bruised but intact, it responds to the pianist’s gentle touch
And sings a song of encouragement, compassion, and love
That takes flight to join countless others singing that same song:
A man in a wheelchair, sweeping up debris;
Crowds of volunteers cleaning their towns;
Private citizens bringing food from afar;
Small businesses offering services for free;
Neighbours who have, sharing with neighbours who have not;
Folk staying up at night to watch over their communities;
Lines of taxis guarding infrastructure;
Local producers setting up pop-up markets;
Dairy farmers giving away milk by the gallon
No charge – ‘Just bring your containers’
But if you like, make charitable donations;
Donations that go directly to the needy –
Animal rescue groups, hungry families, the sick, the elderly
The homeless, the lost, the disabled.
No one disqualified; hunger doesn’t discriminate.
Men in dark glasses
Then into the midst of these ordinary heroes
Come cavalcades of gleaming vehicles
Bearing a small army of suit-clad leaders
Who alight and, encircled by men in dark glasses
Survey the leftovers of greed, secretive plots, and anarchy.
Cameras roll, the VIPs’ faces take on grave expressions
Fear not, we are here
Food is on the way, no one will starve
We will make sure you are safe.
An elbow bump or two, a word with a bystander
A wave and a smile
Then off the suits speed in their chauffeured bullet-proof cars
Driving over the promises that, like deflated balloons, sink to the ground.
Too little, too late.
For here’s the thing:
While authorities dithered
Communities arose in unison
Resourceful, resilient we stepped into the breach
And lawfully took our homeland back from the brink
And as we did so, we understood that,
Pawns no more, we have the power
And the will
To forge an end to the corruption, division tactics, and lawlessness
That have sickened our nation for far too long
Leaving it in ruins.
Out of the ruins
In the aftermath, a piano stands
Singing a beautiful song of harmony and hope.
Image: Mick de Paolo – Unsplash
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this piece are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of Safrea or its members.