It is more than a year ago that we locked down in Scotland, and it has been a year whose impact is too big to reduce to a comment. We have been brave, kind, patient, grieving, anxious, hopeful, disappointed. So many of us have lost so much. So many of us have had to do the year largely alone. Some of us realised that our lives had been like that for years, without anyone noticing. Some of us have realised that things could be different if there was good will enough. Most of us are tired. This is my poem for times like these.
Stand in the Light
Stand in the light.
Allow the wild things to creep
out of the shadows.
Welcome them all, the wet
bedraggled things, the ones
all spit and claws, the one
who weeps and hangs its head,
the one who stares, and says ‘Make me.’
Stand in the light. They are yours,
washed and unwashed alike.
Stand in the light, and sing.
Raise your voice as if
there was no fear of darkness.
Listen and you will hear
other voices, other songs,
rough and sweet and dauntless,
blues and canto jondo,
pibroch, nanha, tanakh.
Stand in the light and sing. Their pain
is yours. Allow it to hurt.
Stand in the light. Be still.
Light is what we need. Let it glow,
let it shine into the furthest dark
to find the lost forgotten hopes
and warm them to new life.
Allow it to grow and touch the ruined
homes and hearts and show us
what’s to mend. Stand in the light.
Be still. Become the light.
I will take the moment of silence at mid-day to think of you all – those I haven’t seen in so long, those I will never see again. But then – let’s come together and sing. Not necessarily literally – there’s a song that got into my head when I had my allotment, and I used to dig my potatoes to its rhythm:
All God’s children got a place in the choir.
Some sing low and some sing higher,
Some sing out loud on the telephone wire,
Some just clap their hands
Or paws, or anything they got.
Let’s stand in the light.