When the Earth breathed

river

They say that creatures, usually shy and prone to verges, walked cock-sure into 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 living room a bargaining with the self, a move towards the possible,

(beyond the tryings of the mind.)

They say that even as men and women lay frail, recognition flashed across their faces, as they absorbed the efforts of hospital-workers, taxi-drivers

Dedication reigned. In supermarkets, pharmacies, in ordinary apartments

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.

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

It.

Rivers meandered, unpolluted

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

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 galloped to shore.

Okay, it said, sonorous, and grey

Okay, said the spray

Leaders showed themselves in all colours

Rainbows drawn by children dried to crisps

in the sunshine of watched-through windows

Parks shone, un-littered emerald, their silence only pandered 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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