‘Pandemic,’ A Viral Poem About Coronavirus

Given our confinement during this pandemic, we are left to either let our minds rot or put it to use and be creative. Lynn Ungar, a poet from Castro Valley, California, found a way to express herself amidst all of this. ‘Pandemic’ is a short poem about Coronavirus. As Ungar puts it, it is “a viral poem about a virus, that’s funny in a twisted kind of way.” Her reasoning behind this poem was taken from the idea of social distancing. She reflects on the question: how do we socially distance ourselves to prevent the spread of this virus, without emotionally distancing ourselves in the process?

 

 

Pandemic

What if you thought of it
as the Jews consider the Sabbath—
the most sacred of times?
Cease from travel.
Cease from buying and selling.
Give up, just for now,
on trying to make the world
different than it is.
Sing. Pray. Touch only those
to whom you commit your life.
Center down.

And when your body has become still,
reach out with your heart.
Know that we are connected
in ways that are terrifying and beautiful.
(You could hardly deny it now.)
Know that our lives
are in one another’s hands.
(Surely, that has come clear.)
Do not reach out your hands.
Reach out your heart.
Reach out your words.
Reach out all the tendrils
of compassion that move, invisibly,
where we cannot touch.

Promise this world your love–
for better or for worse,
in sickness and in health,
so long as we all shall live.

–Lynn Ungar 3/11/20

Upon my first read, I could tell Ungar was going for a satirical approach. I chuckled when I read the lines, “know that our lives are in one another’s hands.” Which is pretty darn cynical since we are spreading this virus through day-to-day interactions and transactions. She then offers a more than obvious solution in her next two lines, “do not reach out your hands, reach out with your heart.” That gave me a good laugh, while also tackling the concept of social distancing.

Lynn Ungar is an extraordinary poet who teaches us to find creativity and laughter during eventful times. I highly recommend reading more of her poems and writing pieces.

Featured Image Via UU World

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