GloPoWriMo – Day 27

The Speech I Want to Hear

Neighbors–and we are all neighbors,
if we live in San Francisco or New York,
Grand Rapids or Fort Myers,
Wuhan, Paris, St. Petersburg, Berlin,
Cape Town, Thika, Erbil, Salvador,
Busan–wherever you live,
on this bright and threatened planet,
we are neighbors.

Neighbors, when your futures
are uncertain, you fear the loss
of dreams, of hopes, of plans,
of the surety that you
will be safe and secure.

And in that loss, we have now–
this moment. it is the same
moment that we had before
the virus. It is the same
moment we will have
when this virus is no
longer a threat.

And it is from within
that moment that I speak
to you, neighbors.

I see your strong spirits,
your goodness, as you
help each other through
service, through connecting
across distance, through
staying home, keeping yourselves
and others

safe.

Let’s acknowledge the sacrifices
made by the graduate who
stays home from the stadium,
the bride who doesn’t walk the aisle,
the teacher who reaches
through the computer screen.

Let’s honor the bravery of our
grocery store clerks, our sanitation
crews, our custodians, delivery
teams, food industry workers,
factory workers, the production line,
the healthcare aids in urgent care
who adminster the tests,
our nurses, our doctors,
our first responders, our
police officers, our firemen
and women.

Essential

workers, you keep us
alive.

Neighbors, let’s recognize you.
Whether you are on the
essential line or whether
you have lost your
employment or made
changes to work
from home.

A crisis points toward
our weaknesses, and we
can see so many, in
social justice, equity
the food industry,
our infrastructure,
our healthcare systems.
We have work

to do.

A crisis also posts towards
our strength–which in
this case, is you. You
have made the needed changes–

quickly, without coercion or
revolt, to protect
yourselves and serve

others.

This shows
we can do what
we need to do.

Neighbors,

this is just
the beginning. But

through your strength

through your sacrifice

through your resolve

you show we
can do
what we need
to do

when faced with the greatest
crisis of all

the crisis of our damaged climate

You show me
we can change.

Daily Prompt:  “Write a poetic review of something that isn’t normally reviewed,” from Na/GloPoWriMo.

Author’s note: I didn’t really complete the prompt, though when I thought about reviewing the daily briefings from the White House on coronavirus, I decided to write this poem. You see, for the past week or so, every night, as I lay down to sleep, I imagine what a true leader might say to us during these times: sharing information; recognizing our strength, sacrifice, and suffering; helping us to contain our feelings and interpret events in a way that motivates, comforts, and inspires. (For more about a healthy approach to leadership, see Gianpiero Petriglieri’s “The Psychology Behind Effective Crisis Leadership.”) It’s been a valuable exercise, allowing me to comfort myself and find some order and priority, instead of chaos.

<< Previous | Next >>