If you come across any poems about the pandemic

that you think are worth sharing,

send them in and we’ll post them here.

Photo by Laura Chouette on Unsplash


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.
Centre 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 11/02/20

‘Tis a Fearful Thing

Tis a fearful thing
to love what death can touch.

A fearful thing
to love, to hope, to dream, to be –

to be,
And oh, to lose.

A thing for fools, this,

And a holy thing, a holy thing
to love.

For your life has lived in me,
your laugh once lifted me,
your word was gift to me.

To remember this brings painful joy.

‘Tis a human thing, love,
a holy thing, to love
what death has touched.”

Yehudah Halevi (c.1075–1141) is considered to be one of the greatest Hebrew poets. He lived in both Muslim and Christian Spain before rejecting its culture of Jewish-Arab hybridization and leaving for Israel in 1140. His most famous work is the philosophical text called the Kuzari.

‘And People Stayed Home’

written in 1869, after the famine

And people stayed home
and read books and listened
and rested and exercised
and made art and played
and learned new ways of being
and stopped
and listened deeper
someone meditated
someone prayed
someone danced
someone met their shadow
and people began to think differently
and people healed
and in the absence of people who lived in ignorant ways,
dangerous, meaningless and heartless,
even the earth began to heal
and when the danger ended
and people found each other
grieved for the dead people
and they made new choices
and dreamed of new visions
and created new ways of life
and healed the earth completely
just as they were healed themselves.

Kathleen O’Meara

For Maundy Thursday

The foot washing we mimic
in our pimped up sanctuaries
on Maundy Thursday
with our tepid water
and pristine white fluffy towels
will never get close
to the ritual played out by Jesus
who handled the feet of grown men
who had just traversed
the gutters and cesspools
of Jerusalem at festival time.
Our notions of servanthood
can barely compute
the magnitude
of the teacher stooping,
the soles of his disciples.
And all without PPE.
But today
all over the world
we are witnessing
such magnitude
of selfless giving
in our frontline
workers who are risking all
to care for the ill
and the dying.
Today, at every turn,
we are being confronted
with tangible reminders
of what servanthood looks like
and of the cost of love.
So maybe it’s a good thing
that we won’t be able to gather
and reenact a ritual
Instead, as we bear witness
to an extravaganza
of costly love
May we not look away but,
observe and stand in awe
of the servants
who are teaching us today
about stepping up
and stepping out
to love and to serve.
And may we never forget
our debt of gratitude
for their acts of servant love.

Liz Crumlish, Holy Week 2020