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Know Thyself And Nothing More – Except Coronavirus

Know Thyself And Nothing More – Except Coronavirus

 

Dear Coronavirus, no use arguing -

 

You've got one over us this time!

Your latest upgrade is a dream -

Or a fuckin' mutant nightmare, depending

On one's viewpoint!

 

First you make us sweat, then rasp

Our throat dry. Then, should we draw

The short straw, suffocate life from

Malfunctioning lungs.

 

The fear of you has laid us low,

Not only of you, but also of the law -

Strange how paranoia spreads itself thick, like

Treacle across the nerves.

 

And why all this? Some perverse bid

For world domination? Or maybe

To teach earthlings a lesson? Yes,

I see sense in that!

 

You aren't such a fiend, my friend,

(Don't get me wrong – this is just me;

For millions you're the demon from hell - I

Cannot speak for them.)

 

But I, for one, wish to give thanks,

Although we've never met, for bringing me

To my knees. The very thought of you

Gives me dis-ease!

 

The things I normally tackle are small,

Providing small victory, but you -

Your microscopic invisibility makes you

Invincible; I concede!

 

Conceding to your greater power can only

Serve to strengthen me. Already

I feel more compassion, a refined sense of

Detached empathy.

 

I'm quickly learning what matters most -

And what does not. Which things I appreciate,

Especially Life, when others are

Losing theirs.

.

Already you have demonstrated

That my well-considered plans

Have fuck-all use amidst viral disorder -

The whirlpool drain.

 

To go with the flow is all I can do -

Lessons in Love; like when Diana

Was suddenly gone, and the nation wept and

The world wept with us.

 

If only we'd let ourselves bruise now,

The more easily we would heal!

Between each one of us and heaven lies

The chasm of what-ifs.

 

Re-evaluation awaits at the threshold,

At the foot of the mountain, the root

Of the tree of Life. There is nothing that

Cannot transcend itself.

 

- - - - - - -

 

You've quickly become the benchmark,

Against which I measure success: have I

Capacity to expand my breath, taking in

Even more Life?

 

You've taken my time in your palm and handed

It back neatly ironed, smoothed from

Every superfluous thing clogging

Up joy in my veins.

 

You toy with my circulation, my ability

To breathe, my appetite, my sense of well-being

In the world. You've brought fear onto the

Table where I eat.

 

Each day carries new responses from deeply

Guarded body memories, buoying me along,

Sometimes in backwater, sometimes rapids,

Always t'ward wholeness.

 

You've ushered me into a keen-edged life,

One in which things I do matter, not only

To me, but also the knock-on world - every

One held in trust.

 

I weep for the hopeless, children of lost

Causes, for those in a street named Despair,

Where every action turns upon whether or not

Survival is plausible.

 

I weep for guilty mothers, fucked over by lifetimes

Of dominator abuse, disabled by

An inordinate desire to compensate for

Perceived inadequacy.

 

I weep for strong men, whose suffering soul

Allows no vulnerability – the unthinkable

Act of giving in, when everything screams:

Get a grip!”

 

I weep for those like me, who see all,

But remain helpless, forever nonplussed

To understand truth: that each one is tried

By their own desire.

 

- - - - - -

 

So you make us forget life as known,

Replacing it with renewed authenticity;

I cannot help but respect your insistence to

Take no bullshit!

 

In days you've restored quietude, hardly a vehicle

On the road, in the sky, or a passer-by,

As I sit spellbound by your magnificently

Wresting us t'ward peace.

 

Here at home I creep out of my shell,

Become more of what I know of myself -

Not the God-forsaken halfling, ramping up

Egocentric half-truths.

 

Already you've tutored me in self-belief,

In my allotment to share in restoring health

To a nation – no – to a race on the brink

Of self-annihilation.

 

Suddenly I must obey laws, heretofore

Unheard of laws, granting carte blanche

Liberty to conform for the sake of all -

For the sake of Community.

 

Suddenly I'm faced with deciding, whether to

Fear or to love, whether to perceive

Enemies – or friends I might possibly save -

By keeping my distance.

 

(In truth, I can never be certain whether

You and I have conspired, to make me

Become the bearer of ill, especially

To souls without hope.)

 

Thus you pull me up sharply! Is there

More room for mindfulness? Of my effect

On those I meet – more than their possible

Effect upon me?

 

(And how shall it be when the world spins

Onward, into a time when such respect

Transcends the need for self-protection,

Self-gratification?)

 

How perfectly you emphasise my condition:

That man is but a need - and a

Possibility. Only in relation to others does he

Learn to breathe.

 

Through fear you involve me in world affairs

In ways I've not wanted, peering more closely at

How far we have strayed, how flagrantly

We disregard Nature!

 

You are the essential kickback, Nature's

wake up call, following the long slumber of

Night-time reverie, where nothing mattered

More than moolah.

 

You bring a chill calm to the wind that would normally

Fill our sails, silencing the trumpets.

Into the inner room I retire, clutching a token

Of redemption -

 

How to act fearlessly in a world saturated

With sensation: the only question worthy

Of attention. To do it full justice, I

Enter the Gaian realm.

 

- - - - - - -

 

Oh, Great Mother Earth, what have we done?

Taken your perfect gifts, trampled them under

Heavy diamond-studded boots and

Laughed out loud!

 

In sack-cloth and ashes I repent on behalf

Of all those whose compelling need has driven

Them to grab, grab, grab! I am truly

Sorry for the error.

 

Before I'm done here, I shall see,

God-willing, the resplendent turn-around,

The “let's pull back to the drawing board”, “let's

get back to sanity!”

 

Sanitation is now incumbent on an insane world!

I marvel at how language teaches, where

Exhortation fails. There is a green hill far away,

Where peace is guaranteed.

 

Maybe in retrospect you will be seen

As the saviour we all needed, to bring

Cataclysmic redemption to a world

Grown too fat?

 

And maybe fearless fruit shall ripen,

Giving a taste of real Life, not the one

We've donated to everything but

Who we truly are.

 

If truth could be told, so as to be understood,

It will be believed.” In Greek

'corona' means 'crown'; and there is a kingdom

In which we all share.

 

Steve Slimm 

29/03/2020

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