“Pandemic,” a Poem by Lynn Ungar
With special thanks to our good friend Joe Jansen, who sent me this poem, and to the website Science and Nonduality where it appeared … here is “Pandemic” by San Francisco poet Lynn Ungar, www.lynnungar.com.
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.
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.
Thank you, Lynn! Some pretty good thoughts, I think, for those of us whose work is interior to begin with. Don’t get too crazy and keep doing what you do.
And keep washin’ yer hands!
Perfect! Thanks to Joe, and to Steve for posting this – we all need to hear this right now. Stay healthy, everyone.
The power of words. I hope all can retain that centre calm in the days ahead. I will certainly be working on it.
Thank you thank you!
“Reach out your heart.
Reach out your words.
Reach out all the tendrils
of compassion that move, invisibly,
where we cannot touch.”
Beautiful. This certainly reached my heart. Thank you to Steve and everyone. Stay safe and healthy.
Beautiful and poignant. Thank you for sharing and lifting us up during this difficult time.
nothing like this Corona reaction today was in play during the obama admin’s H1V1 Virus crisis.
COVID-19 Wuhan Virus
U.S. Cases: 6,946
U.S. Deaths: 104
Panic level: Mass hysteria
U.S. Cases: 60.8 MILLION
U.S. Deaths: 12,469
Panic level: Totally Chill
i had similar thoughts
DO THE MATH:
Corvid19 Fatality rate based on your number: 1.5%
HiNi Fatality Rate based on your number: .02%
So Corvid19 is 20 times more fatal.
just because you are a ‘writer’ is no excuse for being math ignorant.
TO defend the writer, he did what writers do, tell story, not math. Thank you for catching that SPIN.
MORTALITY rate is what is missed when people compared the two. Nor did we see the Italian Army driving bodies away from overfilled morgues. H1N1, although I am not quoting data, did not pass without symptoms being shown, so we knew when we had ‘a bug’ . . . that then escalated, or ran the course of the annual Flu. I am not an Orangey supporter either, and I would take Obama for another 8 if we could.
You cannot compare thee two! They have (had ) different spread, different infection strength, etc
Wonderful poem. It speaks to what matters and to the truth. Lots of love to all!
One of the Stoic aphorisms from Epictetus seems good for today: “It is not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.”
There’s no better time to recognize (1) the things we cannot control: external events, other people’s actions, versus (2) the things we CAN control: our own actions, the thoughts that arise within our own minds, and the emotions that arise from those thoughts.
Do we have any other choice than to choose how we will consider this time? Is there a sacred opportunity to recognize the stark truth of how we are all connected? Skin color doesn’t matter. The sound of the words of the 6,500 different languages spoken on this earth don’t matter. The shapes of the emblems on a “passport” don’t matter – it’s all part of the story we tell ourselves about “us and them.”
We’re all one thing, and our lives are in one another’s hands, as Lynn’s poem says. Is our ability to grasp that truth part of some deeper meaning about what’s happening here – a test of our ability to demonstrate selflessness?
The air over China and the waters in Venetian canals are both running clear. An Israeli man who stole a 2000-year-old catapult ball 15 years ago has returned the artifact to the Israeli Antiquities Authority. What is the earth saying to us? What is history saying to us?
The Stoics said that what matters is the story we tell ourselves. Lynn Ungar asked us to “Promise this world your love.” There’s meaning and a story underlying all this, and it’s for us to find it.
Wow… I see from Lynn Ungar’s FB page that her poem has been shared nearly 2,000 times (probably more than that before long). Bravo, Lynn.
This was the perfect post today, and I love your “Meditations” reflection. I need to add that to my daily reading period. I also like James Allen’s daily meditations:http://james-allen.in1woord.nl/daily.php
33 flavors, all made from milk.
Thank you Lynn and Joe and Steve.
Dear Steve/Joe, and especially Lynn,
This is the perfect medicine for this period of uncertainty. How do poets do it? I was hoping that this blog would contain something about the pandemic this week. As an all-star catastrophe-izer, I have had to play mental jiu jitsu numerous times since late January.
I swung by the YMCA yesterday to borrow a few kettlebells, and did another wholesale run on pet food for our animal rescue. We doubled our order for prescriptions for our dogs and cats as well, we ‘specialize’ in older, less-adoptable dogs and cats, so many if not most are on life-long medications.
As I was talking with my friend/maintenance director at the Y, we discussed how will we hold hands with social distancing. I’ve been deliberately praying each morning for my loved ones, our leaders, our infirm, our communities, nation, world–but I also have noticed that I’m almost in a constant state of prayer throughout the day, “Please God, let us be calm, give us courage, let our better angels surface..”
I spoke with Joe on the phone last week, feeling a greater need to connect with someone with whom I knew I could talk about this situation without judgment–but also with whom would have wisdom. Joe sent me this in an email:
Oh–before I post this, I said to him that I believe it is the creatives, the artists, the writers who will keep us sane and explain all of this to us. In that vein, Joe sent me a quote from Pat Conroy from his memoir “My Reading Life:”
“From the beginning I’ve searched out those writers unafraid to stir up the emotions, who entrust me with their darkest passions, their most indestructible yearnings, and their most soul-killing doubts. I trust the great novelists to teach me how to live, how to feel, how to love and hate. I trust them to show me the dangers I will encounter on the road as I stagger on my own troubled passage through the complicated life of books that try to teach me how to die.”
I am very grateful to all of you who make art. As a younger man, I blew off the humanities. I was way more interested in sports, women, drugs/alcohol, fighting, and facts. It wasn’t until I returned from war that I began to really appreciate the “meta-truth’ of the humanities.
So beautiful, thank you!
Brian mentioned his ideas about how artists show us the way. I just watched this: novelist John Green offering one path through the dark:
The best. Thanks, Steve!
Thanks, steve and all of you, for the poem and your heartfelt words. We need the artists now more than ever, for we are the ones who can see in the dark.
Amen…thank you for sharing.
I don’t want to sound condescending, but I am an extreme introvert, so life is all the same for me!
Thank you Steve for sharing Lynn’s beautiful, ‘triffic’ poem. Have shared…
Love from Perthshire, Scotland
A. My peace I give you. Not as the world gives, give I unto you. Do not let your hearts be troubled. Neither let them be afraid. B. Summer is a state of mind.
Pretty shallow poem which is directed to all of you connected to THE MACHINE and can’t unplug from it or want to get away from the damn thing.
Hummm you have a option.
Great poem 🙂 Going to seize this opportunity to beat Resistance by staying home to do what matters most.
Let’s slay the dragon amid COVID-19!
Such a lovely poetic piece! One can find strength in art to change their perspective. And a change of perspective often becomes a gateway to new possibilities in almost any circumstances….
Beautiful poem,it gives expression to all that I feel in these strange times and lack the words to express.They certainly lifted my spirits this morning and thank you Lynn for that. Hope they do the same for many who wish to dispel fear and find inner peace
I stumbled here having read this poem already and was googling the author. We are all Interconnected – and we all have gifts to share. Together we makeup the diverse tribe of humanity. Only we can choose to use this time to ask ourselves ‘Am I living Pono? Am I living devoted and committed to my world?’ Aloha!
Oh !! This is a really great article. Thank you for providing these details. I’m sad I didn’t even know about this.
Stupid poem all u rich white ppl like it
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These are scary times still and I’m glad someone bringing this topic up and writing a beautiful poem out of it, it is good to still be there for one another but to be safe about it keeping a six feet distance and staying home when were not feeling good is always a good start in stopping this pandemic!
Great poem. Going to seize this opportunity to beat Resistance by staying home to do what matters most.
Thank you for sharing this beautiful piece of art.
This is excellent poetry. I’m going to take advantage of this opportunity to defeat Resistance by staying at home and focusing on what matters most.
Thank you for posting this poem. It’s just beautiful and hits the mark. In fact, it seemed to me that we had already survived the pandemic, but that was not the case, unfortunately. I would very much like to turn back time and somehow make sure that this pandemic does not happen at all. How many lives would be saved… But the struggle continues, and we should not lose heart.
How did i miss this for this long, Beautiful moving. Thank you for sharing