These strange times, full of enforced separation, have split us into smaller units. We connect only at distance, or digitally. It goes against something profoundly human.
Having said that, I am an introvert. For me, lockdown has often seemed like permission to retreat into a place of comfort. I have been blessed by garden and hillside and someone I love to share my head and my bed with. My grown up kids have been with me through most of lockdown. So many others, including friends and family, have had more difficulty.
Still, the capacity I have for retreating into my own small space has led my family to tease me as being one step away from becoming a grumpy hermit at times, who would never see anyone from week to week if left to my own devices. They will tease me about my hatred of the telephone and how I can become very awkward when having to indulge in small talk. I often feel guilty about this, and worry about neglecting my friends…
But I think my friends will also know that what I love more than almost anything is to talk.
This poem is about my kind of small talk.
Sit with me and speak of the drowning
Not in sorrow, but in those stories
Through which we swim like otters
Let our words be a current
To carry us to places
Not yet spoken
Sit with me and speak of the dying
Not our own, but of last year’s light
Dimmed like an untrimmed gas mantle
But not-quite extinguished
Even sepia’d by distance, it
Still splits the dark skies
Sit with me and speak of god
Or whatever we may call her
Let us feed sacred cows
Until the new sun rising in the east
Calls us to take the knee, then
Let our breath be prayer
Sit with me and share that dream
You cherish whilst awake
Clenched like an incomplete pregnancy
For I would be your midwife
I would see the life in you (and me)
Sit with me make a new belonging
In a space that lies wide open
A place where hearts beat on sleeves
A place where laughter ebbs and flows, and
We know that love is profane
As well as sacred
Speak to me and
I will listen
what a wonderful expression of these strange times thank you so much for sharing ….spoke to my heart.
Thank you Chris, very beautiful words and sentiments.