When the Earth breathed


They say that creatures, usually shy and prone to verges, walked cock-sure into the cities and sniffed the air

And birds circled above airports, painting journeys into empty streams of sky.


There was an opening,

despite the closures,

In every home a bargaining with the self, a move towards the possible,

beyond the tryings of the mind.


They say that men and women worked with such aching care that even as the sick lay dying, recognition flashed across their foreheads, as they witnessed compassion’s endless flow

And dedication reigned. In supermarkets, pharmacies, in ordinary homes

People sat still and… zoomed,

reached o’er-washed hands across the void and remembered that touch is also metaphysical.

In every twitter feed and insta show, in all the whatsapp chats:

this new world unpicked, re-understood.


And the trees swayed easy from the lack of traffic fume

As the readers and the listeners drank from this seclusion

like milk


A tiny virus, spikey as a medieval morning star,

was harming and enjoining, harming and enjoining

Entreating all to only think of



Rivers sighed, unpolluted

Children danced on their own, not immune but almost so, and the elderly took extra care.

One morning the caretaker of our apartment building said his mother died

the week before in Kerala.

I could not cry, he said. Could not go home to say goodbye.


Ocean still lapped on shore.

Okay, it said in soft blue tones

Okay, said the spray


Leaders showed themselves in all colours.

Rainbows drawn by children dried to crisp

in the sunshine of watched-through windows


Parks were places of un-littered emerald, their silence only whispered to by rain

And the streets housed an Edward Hopper Sunday glow,

all lines and light without much traffic, onward flight.


It was a time, they said, when the Earth began to breathe again

Released its ever outward prayer,

Received the purest inward air.

2 thoughts on “When the Earth breathed

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