The Solitude of Social Distancing

It has been some week, hasn’t it?! When contemplating what to write for the Sunday Weekly poem, it felt like it was inevitable that the virus on everyone’s mind would have to be the subject.

But the week was more than just checking in and changing plans and washing hands like we are all Pontius Pilate. Friday was the 58th anniversary of my father’s death. Who, coincidentally, was born in Corona, Queens, New York, and was an toddler during the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918.

I have been posting HumpDay Haiku for the past few weeks. I wrote a senryu on the aniversary of his passing.

I emailed a check in with all my siblings, all over age 65, all considered in the most vulnerable age group. One lives in the Philadelphia suburbs adjacent to the epicentre of the virus in Montgomery County. He is a doctor. And a medical director of a retirement village. Also, a medical professor. Two of his children are teachers . The other brother lives in New York City, which has a State of Emergency. The run on toilet paper meant that his usual grocery delivery service was unable to fulfill this week. My brother-in-law has a medical condition that means they go through a lot. So there was my brother rangeing around stores, most already plundered by people who probably will have a lifetime supply of toilet paper. He came back from that shopping trip on a subway half full. Likely his last trip on public transport for a while.

Thursday brought the announcement of school, university and creche closures in the Republic of Ireland. We live in a remote spot of rural Ireland which now has cancelled Mass and confirmations. During Lent! Funerals are for immediate family only. Given that funerals are such an important social institution in Ireland this is like the seventh impossibility conceived before breakfast.

I wonder if any of the kids will choose St. Corona as a confirmation name?

So for the week ending on the Ides of March, this

The Solitude of Social Distancing

You have nowhere to go.
You can speak remotely,
unless you have no home,
unless you are a refugee.

We can count the benefits,
create our silverlinings
playlist of blessings, until
the day we reckon the cost.

In our isolation
we can begin to contemplate
all our social obligations
in a world the size of a pea, not a plate.

We can pray to the patron saint
of pandemics, or, oddly,
St. Corona, who takes calls
regarding epidemics.

Copyright © Bee Smith 2020. All rights reserved.

In our solitude of social distancing we can do what our grandmothers did – spring clean. Invoke the goddess Hygeia, who volunteered her name to venerate the concept of hygiene.

Thanks for Photo by Joseph Gruenthal on Unsplash that is our featured image.

One thought on “The Solitude of Social Distancing

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