The Irish Times: Poem of the week: ‘When‘ by John O’Donnell

When    John O’Donnell

 

 
And when this ends we will emerge, shyly
and then all at once, dazed, longhaired as we embrace
loved ones the shadow spared, and weep for those
it gathered in its shroud. A kind of rapture, this longed-for
laying on of hands, high cries as we nuzzle, leaning in
to kiss, and whisper that now things will be different,
although a time will come when we’ll forget
the curve’s approaching wave, the hiss and sigh
of ventilators, the crowded, makeshift morgues;
a time when we may even miss the old-world
arm’s-length courtesy, small kindnesses left on doorsteps,
the drifting, idle days, and nights when we flung open
all the windows to arias in the darkness, our voices
reaching out, holding each other till this passes.

 

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photo Rose Cook

One thought on “The Irish Times: Poem of the week: ‘When‘ by John O’Donnell

  1. This poem has made it to America, where we are in desperate need of its hope, frankness and truth. Thank you, Mr O’Donnell.

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