Amidst the ruins, a piano stands

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.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Safrea or its members.


10 Responses

  1. Hi Andrea.
    So very splendid. Thank you.
    I am an Avo n Mac farmer in Tzaneen. And a committed poet. I loved yr summing-up of a tough week.
    I have today written a piece for our local newspaper. WE thank The Taxi Drivers.
    I would like to add your piano piece to my article, with you name added-on n with your permission please.
    Pls call me on 082 782 0807

  2. Lovely message of togetherness and the ability to stand together. Leave the suit clad sunglass mob to go their way in their bullet proof vehicles. What you did is not what they expected or indeed what they want.

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