James Wolanin – Thoughts of Summer . Gandalf’s Gallery. Flickr.
“But someday soon,
things will open up.
Get back to normal.
Kids around the world,
will be free again.
Then you will see,
All of your friends,
of September, 2020, middle .
spreading a lockdowns .
Vida Gábor – The Haircut. Gandalf’s Gallery. Flickr.
I this because I I that
“Maybe not tomorrow or next week or a year from now, but someday soon, things will get better. Someday soon, you will find freedom from this darkness.”
Published by Daniell Koepke
important something . So that is all I did.
I the will . Maybe there will be a successful vaccine. But whatever, the be .
as a draft.
I squirrelledknowing it was there kept me going.
It had become more than a usual post and had metamorphosed into a hibernating, digital creature, secret, dormant, waiting to emerge and burst into wakefulness when it was warm and safe enough to do so.
As I watched the cold rain trickle like tears down my window, falling from leaden skies, I nurtured this private thought, which must have coincided with the thoughts of many others, all isolating in their homes.
“Perhaps somewhere, someplace deep inside your being, you have undergone important changes while you were sad.”
Rainer Maria Rilke
The knowledge of having partially written and concealed this post functioned as a kindnights I come.
I I . .
“In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.”
Now I feel able to share this and to take the risk of telling you about it and saying “someday soon” we will emerge from the darkness of these past months.
Now I feel able to finish the post I began in September last year, as there are signs that the pandemic may be on the wane in the UK and many people have been vaccinated.
“Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly.”
Now that we have been given some clear exit plans out of lockdown here in the UK, there is a feeling of more hope, of a light at the end of the tunnel.
Fork-tailed Woodnymph by Martin Johnson Heade, c. 1863-1864, oil on canvas.
“My turn shall also come:
I sense the spreading of a wing.”
Jennifer Campbell . After the Flood. Gandalf’s Gallery. Flickr.
“We are all in the same boat, in a stormy sea, and we owe each other a terrible loyalty.”
I have filled this post with poetry and images, to raise your spirits and celebrate springtime, in the hope that this pandemic will lessen its destructive clutches on the world.
We cannot know what will happen in the future, and, no doubt, as ever, there will be highs and lows; the best laid plans do sometimes go awry, as we all know too well.
Despite this, I offer this post to you all by way of a gift, to cheer you along the way, whatever the future brings.
There has been so much pain and loss, so much sadness, loneliness and fear. This has been a year when we have witnessed extraordinary examples of humanity, courage, heroism, caring.
This has been a journey none of us has ever taken before.
The loss of dearly loved friends and family has been so tragic for many over the past months.
There is a huge emptiness where all those lost people once were and they leave so many memories, so much sadness and, in many cases, so much inspiration.
“And when great souls die,
after a period peace blooms,
slowly and always
irregularly. Spaces fill
with a kind of
soothing electric vibration.
Our senses, restored, never
to be the same, whisper to us.
They existed. They existed.
We can be. Be and be
better. For they existed.”
Vincent van Gogh – White Roses  Gandalf’s Gallery. Flickr.
“The grief we carry is part of the grief of the world. Hold it gently. Let it be honored. You do not have to keep it in anymore. You can let go into the heart of compassion; you can weep.”
I want to emphasise that I do not wish to be over-optimistic, over-positive, or over-hopeful. This is unrealistic.
New variants exist and we still need to be vigilant. There are also many who have not been vaccinated who are vulnerable. Such threats still lurk furtively at this dislocated time, waiting to pounce.
Sadly, in many countries, the virus is continuing to take hold, leaving pain and tragedy in its wake. It is heartbreaking to watch and read about the devastation caused by Covid 19 in some parts of the world, such as India.
Here in the UK, we have been fortunate that the vaccine roll-out has been successful.
That said, I certainly do not want this post to be seen as a kind of encouragement to break any of the existing and necessary rules to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
Inevitably, however, we will all have some hopes, some plans, some wishes.
We may be thinking about seeing family and friends again, about holidays, days out, eating inside pubs and restaurants, and about our lives becoming a little more interesting.
“And indeed it could be said that once the faintest stirring of hope became possible, the dominion of plague was ended.”
Albert Camus, ‘The Plague.’
What will this new life be like? How will the ‘new normal,’ for want of a better description, impact on us and on the world around us?
“We are free to change the world and start something new in it.”
What will happen when we eventually regain our freedom to mix, to mingle, to socialise again? What have we lost and what have we gained?
“And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.”
Extract from the poem ‘The Before Times.’
“We must not forget the Before Times, when we could touch
doorknobs, doorbells, the mail, U.P.S. packages, restaurant tabletops,
colleagues’ keyboards, other people’s hands, our own faces.
We must not forget dinner parties, book groups, political rallies,
concerts, movies, worship services, protests, weddings, funerals.
In the Before Times we shared our joys & sorrows together.
Will we ever live together again?”
Isabel Bishop – Unknown Title. Gandalf’s Gallery. Flickr.
“So I guess my point is… “normal” is never going to be static… it’s elusive. We’re constantly chasing it. The minute we think we’ve found it, something often comes along that shifts it. It might be a child or a job or an opportunity to go back to school or a loss or a gain. It could be any number of things. So since normal is ever-moving and ever-changing… maybe what we need to do is learn to be comfortable in the in-between. In those moments where there is no normal, where we may struggle to find peace.”
Jerimiah Stermer – Bistro Gandalf’s Gallery. Flickr.
We can only wonder and speculate about how things will unfold in this highly uncertain time. Perhaps, however, we can risk a dream or two…..
Ardith Starostka – Three Wishes . Gandalf’s Gallery. Flickr.
“Tis not too late to seek a newer world.”
Alfred Lord Tennyson
“It takes courage to reinvent joys, to reinvent opportunities, to reinvent dreams, to reinvent connections, to reinvent hopes that you have set aside.”
Mary Anne Radmacher
Charles Levier – The Good Place [c.1960]Gandalf’s Gallery. Flickr.
After a long winter, the days are beginning to lengthen and the wonders of nature are starting to appear. We cannot help but feel joy when we see this new growth, new life.
“Over the land freckled with snow half-thawed
The speculating rooks at their nests cawed
And saw from elm-tops, delicate as flowers of grass,
What we below could not see,
Winter pass. “
“It is spring again. The earth is like a child that knows poems by heart.”
Rainer Maria Rilke
Maurice Denis – April  Gandalf’s Gallery. Flickr.
“And then, suddenly, something is over.”
“Long have we lived in shadows and shuddering: today I think our future is opening out.”
The Kiss. Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. Wikimedia Commons.
“the time will come, my dear
when I will hold you close
and all will be
in the world.”
René Magritte – Towards Pleasure  Gandalf’s Gallery. Flickr.
What will be the effects on art, on film, on literature, of this pandemic? After the first and second world wars, new Abstract Expressionist movements developed in art.
Will people have the same need to express their pent up feelings, the pain, the isolation, the anger of the past year?
Jackson Pollock Lucifer, 1947. Flickr.
How will poetry reflect the pandemic? Already poems are being written about it, such as the one quoted above, by Bonnie Shaw.
This poem by Siegfried Sassoon reflects the joy after the first world war in 1919.
Perhaps, at some point, we night feel something similar to the rush of freedom that was felt after the war….
By Siegfried Sassoon.
“Everyone suddenly burst out singing;
And I was filled with such delight
As prisoned birds must find in freedom,
Winging wildly across the white
Orchards and dark-green fields; on – on – and out of sight.
Everyone’s voice was suddenly lifted;
And beauty came like the setting sun:
My heart was shaken with tears; and horror
Drifted away … O, but Everyone
Was a bird; and the song was wordless; the singing will never be done.”
Archibald John Motley – Nightlife. Gandalf’s Gallery. Flickr.
“Dreams come true; without that possibility, nature would not incite us to have them.”
Dorothea Sharp – Children Playing Beside a Stream. Gandalf’s Gallery. Flickr.
“After the rains departed the skies and settled on earth – clear skies; moist brilliant earth – greater clarity returned to life alone with the blue above and made the world below rejoice with the freshness of the recent rain. It left heaven in our souls and a freshness in our hearts.”
Monet. Springtime. 1872. Wikimedia Commons.
“The most important thing is to hold on, hold out, for your creative life, for your solitude, for your time to be and do, for your very life; hold on, for the promise from the wild nature is this: after winter, spring always comes.”
Clarissa Pinkola Estés
Daniel Gerhartz – When Hope Comes . Gandalf’s Gallery. Flickr.
Above the mountains
the geese turn into
the light again
on an open sky.
has to be
so you can find
the one line
Sometimes it takes
a great sky
to find that
wedge of freedom
in your own heart.
the bones of the black
sticks left when the fire
has gone out
someone has written
in the ashes of your life.
You are not leaving.
Even as the light fades quickly now,
you are arriving.
© Linda Berman
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