Haibun – COVID-19 – March 30, 2020

Santa Chiara di Trento, Italy

Haibun – COVID-19

Reading news reports of the horror that is COVID-19 can is chilling.  And although the horror of what is happening is wounding to the heart, in these times, there are those narcissists who spread false and horrifying news reports on the Social Media pages. Of course no one requires us to read them or look at what’s on the news.

raging storm
sleeping in my soft bed
safe and warm

The COVID-19 pandemic which has hit our world, they said wouldn’t be as bad as the annual flu season.  Because in our age, we have an influenza season.  I guess because influenza is endemic?  Some say only those with  weak immunological systems and the very old will probably die.  The young are safe, they are strong … no children under 16 have been affected.  And then, today, it’s an official news report, an infant dies of COVID-19.  Many shutter.

age of miricles
instant infodemia
no news

It happened so fast.  Just a few short weeks ago everyone was sitting back in their comfortable homes, watching their TVs.  The news commentators  tut-tutted on how inefficient the Chinese government was in getting the illness under control.  Commenting on the lock downs in Wuhan and Hubei province with condescension .  Then as it seemed that things might calm down, only for it to reach Italy.  The European nations looked on as  she was caught in the maelstrom.  They looked on, sometimes cruelly joking about the situation, not preparing.  It took a week or so and other European nations began to succumb, first one or two cases then hundreds and finally thousands. The United States began to report deaths in Washington state. The WHO proclaimed that COVID-19was a pandemic. Finally the United Kingdom capitulated and their Prime Minister tested positive to the virus.  Many more nations are being adding to the lists of those who have entered the brave new world of COVID-19.  Crematoriums are consuming the dead.

lost in smoke
ravens fly in droves
cawing
© gsk’20

In a Silent World – March 26, 2020 –

Trains still run here in the silent world of illness that is Italy.  There are those who believe that the virus which has killed so many is not really so very bad.  Often people don’t believe, until they are in someway hurt, that bad things really do exist.

I sit on my terrace in the silence, the birds sing, the wind is warm and pleasant, the sun is warm.  There are no distant sounds of cars or jets high up in the sky to leave their white streaks.  The sky is limpid, virginal in fact, as though mankind has ceased to exist.

Looking back on the spring of 2020,  I will remember the silence of the clear skies and the earth as seen from satellites showing a “surprising” decrease in pollution.  I and many will also remember the silent truckloads of corpses, victims of the COVID-19, that snaked through the early morning streets of Bergamo. Many may never live through the silence of mourning loved ones. I mourn the many I’ve never met feeling sure that no one will mourn me.

But we are not yet finished with this illness, though we may be bored with it.  It’s so difficult to be healthy and isolated in this silent spring. Life is being renewed and spring beckons to us like a siren.

The silence is too loud.  We are so used to our comforting noise … the constant hubble-bubble of machinery and commentary.   Some will say: how absurd, why should we be isolated like this … and will congregate.  Then soon there will be more silence.

my heart beat
in social isolation
a silent world
gsk ’20

Samara Ennui – Haibun – November 6, 2018

 

I’m writing, doing what I’ve always dreamt of doing, I’m enthusiastic, I feel revitalized.  People are reading my work, liking it and giving me great suggestions that help me better my work, I feel part of a community … and then I don’t.

Sure, I’d had some bad moments recently in my life, but I kept up my writing and my photography kept on going but at a certain point, for no apparent reason, I found I hadn’t turned on my computer for months.  What happened?  Why did I stop?

I’ve always been a pretty creative sort of person, although not a creative genius.  Since I can remember I’ve always passed hours enjoying my painting, drawing and writing.  I easily pick up skills, I’m a quick study as they say, so I had no problems learning how to sew, crochet, sculpt, cook or whatever else came my way including learning anatomy and acupuncture meridians and points.  But, and there’s a big but, since puberty, I periodically go into more or less long periods of ennui.

I slip into a sort of limbo, where nothing seems very important to me at all.  I pass hours (days at a time) reading or watching TV series.  I do get out of bed because I abhor an unmade bed. I eat whatever is at hand (usually nothing particularly healthy) just as long as it’s quick and fills me up.  I don’t live in chaos, my house though not spotlessly clean is fairly orderly, I make sure of that because I hate being in a messy dirty place.  I drift through life, doing the minimum necessary to get through the day. Fortunately, as I’ve grown older, self-preservation has guaranteed that I keep a life-line open to the outside world.  I do have a couple of friends with whom I never lose contact with completely.

Then one day, something changes … I take a look at myself and my life and a tiny spark glitters.  It may take weeks or months but I become constantly more dissatisfied with drifting.  I realize that I’ve become overweight, that I haven’t done much of anything interesting for a long time, that I’m bored with my books and the TV.  I start looking into diets and exercise (just looking). I get the urge to write or sew myself a new outfit or paint a picture (just the urge).  I become frustrated and panicky. Then the looking around becomes watching what I eat and going for walks, joining a dance class and bicycling.  The urge becomes turning on the computer, looking through models for a new outfit, and choosing a great piece of material.  Usually at this point  my life has started to move again.

I don’t really know why this happens to me.  I’ve gone through analysis, I’ve meditated, I’ve had great mentors throughout my life who’ve stimulated me giving my life a sense of meaning … for a while anyway.  But eventually, there it is, the chasm of ennui into which I slip (not fall) and the cycle begins again. The drifting isn’t painful and I don’t even feel bored.  It’s when I move on, when I become aware that maybe there can be more to my life than books and TV,  the awakening, which is the painful part, fraught with anxiety and impatience to move on.

Have you or anyone you’ve known gone through this sort of thing?  I’d like to read about it, so please leave comments below and let me know.

winter snowflakes
passion gives way to
spring dawn
a never-ending cycle
my Samsara ennui

 

 

Christmas Mummer – December 18, 2017 (tanka)

eventide
waltzing through the street
winter mummers*
twirling golden fairy lights
one for every season

gsk ’17

 

Mummer definition, a person who wears a mask or fantastic costume while merrymaking or taking part in a pantomime, especially at Christmas and other festive seasons.

November 21, 2017 (haiku)

 

spring snowdrops
(now loam feeding worms)
winter’s memory

gsk’17

inspired by:

With Earth’s first Clay They did the Last Man’s knead,
And then of the Last Harvest sowed the Seed:
Yea, the first Morning of Creation wrote
What the Last Dawn of Reckoning shall read.

© Omar Khayyam (Tr. FitzGerald)

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