The coronavirus is a disaster for many. As usual in this morally-backward global empire, the poorest and most vulnerable among us suffer the most. In the midst of this tragedy there are lessons worth learning. This poem from Kim Hill invites us to consider what society and our communities may learn from CoViD-19.
By Kim Hill/The Medium
When we locked ourselves in to the world we’d constructed
And trembled in panic at impending collapse
We began to wonder, if maybe, perhaps,
This latest disaster in long lines of attacks
Was not a disaster at all.
But, instead, a revelation.
Revealing the truth that the stories we tell
Of progress, business, empire and growth
Have locked us inside our own twisted dreams
And the time has come to awaken.
To the world here beneath us, within us, around us
Who is calling us all to come home.
To let go of the lies, that income and goods
Stock markets, mining, jobs, machines
All make our lives better than ever.
Release these myths. And listen.
To breath. To blood. To wind and rain.
To ancestors and those yet to be.
The massacres and death camps
Factories and clearfells
Plastics and toxics
Choking our lungs, our rivers, our blood, our skies
Are not worth saving, by hiding ourselves inside.
Millions of years of talking with trees
With birds, with clouds, with spirit beings
All lost to the past, or locked away
Replaced with shiny screens.
And now the screens say stay indoors
Far from the beautiful world
They tell us to fear the life outside
And hide in the zombie machine.
Yet even in here, at the height of our fear
Life will not be locked in
It erupts from our soul, our body, our breath
In dances and stories, in primal screams
In song and art, in beauty and pain
In love and care, and ferocious rage
To break the prison down.
To break free our minds from mechanical grind
Of existence encoded as data for sale
To smash mental cages of money and lack
That lock down our essence like jail.
Tear down the wires, the pipelines, the rails
The dams, the ships, the mines
Make sense with our senses, our knowing and feeling
Release the mental blinds.
Burn down the speeding extinction machine
That traps us all inside
While converting vast jungles to money and trash
And selling us on the great ride.
Now return to the forests, the seas, the soils
Who form our breath and bones
And nourish our bodies from the womb of the Earth
And let life carry us home.
Wild beings are speaking: come home to your kind
Yet we slay them to feed our fears
Not feeling or hearing their horror and pain
Or their wisdom of infinite years.
Listen. They are speaking. We are speaking. Hear us.
Your cities don’t serve you, with their concrete and cars
Instead they use you as a tool
They drown out your longings in waves of disease
And madness, repression and school.
If all the world’s beauty can’t be heard
In thousands of years of yearning
Then maybe it takes
The tiniest being,
a microbe, to say
This culture is based on a false assumption that humans as superior to and separate from the natural world. This, in turn, is used to justify violence and hatred towards the natural world. Crises like these remind us that, in fact, humans are an integral part of the natural community, not separate from it.
“From birth on—and probably from conception, but I’m not sure how I’d make the case—we are individually and collectively enculturated to hate life, hate the natural world, hate the wild, hate wild animals, hate women, hate children, hate our bodies, hate and fear our emotions, hate ourselves. If we did not hate the world, we could not allow it to be destroyed before our eyes. If we did not hate ourselves, we could not allow our homes—and our bodies—to be poisoned.” (Premise 14, Endgame, Derrick Jensen)