Writing through the pain
By Sylvia Wohlfarth
Blown by gusts of icy wind — facial acupuncture, painful
I descend on my grey seething river, frothing whirlpools
Stifled memories of unending supermarket queues
Have drenched me with an urge to get home
To warmth and dry/and tidy up my life
A small compensation in preparation
For unforeseen pending isolation
Impatiently, I stop at the bridge
And watch her sullen flow.
“Why are you so angry?” I ask
Because your people are destroying my beloved world
Suffocating your and your children’s future
Polluting all things I deem precious
You have not stood the test —
Failed miserably, in fact —
I sent you viruses
I sent you fires
I sent you storms
You refused to listen
No halting the destruction
My warnings you do not heed
Apathy and greed on parallel tracks
A downward spiral at a gyrating speed
I am weary of you humans and your failure to act
I awaited the undercurrent
Behold, I have sent you the penultimate
Your chance to reset the switch and revert
Knowing you have only yourselves to blame
You will salve your wounds and start anew
I have lost all patience and hope, and so
My friend, next time will be the final game
Now, take or leave what is solely up to you
Damp underfoot, I look
up the murky river
and inhale the darkness clouding the ember sun —
and exhaling through my lungs the germs from the jam-packed shops,
… and lo and behold
breathing down river
droplets to the sea
bedazzled I am
at the diametrical
bright blue sky/light.
Children go past loaded down with piled-up books
Why so early, I wonder; why all the paper/weight?
And then I remember — schools are shutting down
for at least four weeks — like myself/desolate
A note from Sylvia:
I started writing this on the day Ireland closed down all educational institutions as a safety measure against the spread of COVID-19. I remember going shopping on my way home and being taken aback by the mass of frenzied shoppers. It was as if Ireland had just declared war, and in a way, it had.
Little did I know then that out of the declared two weeks closure plus two weeks Easter school holidays, this would extend to another five months. The mood walking home with my heavy shopping and the icy wind was one of doom and gloom. I stopped to find solace from my seasonal companion, the River Lee, whose ever-changing moods feed my own reflective ones. She was sullen. And I asked her why.
I was amazed at the experience I had standing on the footbridge looking upriver and seeing darkness — clouds shrouding the glazed sun — and then turning around and looking downriver to behold a magnificently clear blue sky. The two photos were taken within seconds of each other — and no tricks — just as it was.
I was so astounded, I failed to look up into the skies to see if there was an intersection of any sort, dark meeting light.
I remember an indescribable feeling as I wondered if what I had observed reflected my/our future… and if so, which direction it would take.
And instead of looking up, I looked down and wrote.
A few days later, reading Lindsay Lonai Linegar’s challenge to meditate and write through the pain, I was reminded of the moment nature showed me her two faces and my feeling of gentle and contemplative desolation.