How much of life needs to break down
at first slowly
then in ways, unimaginable.
And not only here,
How much needs to be turned inside out
make no sense
as day after day
familiar routines fade into memory
and fate makes folly, once and again, of my plans.
How much of this happens
before I begin to see that even I
That I am not the person I have come to know myself to be.
I have tied my identity
my ambitions and my future
to mainstays and certainties now upended,
as security is replaced in these dark days
and the gnawing desire
to escape it.
I see from here, just how much I have taken for granted.
How much I thought essential to my life,
has fallen away
as I adapt
As the anxious knots,
and the drowning of them
in Netflix and wine and patience and restlessness
such temporary pleasures give way
to the only question standing
beside all those with no answers:
What ‘less’ in my life, has now become ‘more’?
What really mattered when everything else was falling
and yet the sun still rose each morning
un-phased in its stalwart loyalty to the earth?
What really mattered when my life as I knew it was laid bare
and the stories faltered
and the savings dried up
we found our way.
What, when we return again to life,
will we bring from these quiet, fear-filled and solitary times?
Perhaps instead of nonsense and chaos,
this has all been divine intervention,
with its plagues and wildfires
of biblical proportion.
And what if the darkness we have lived through
isn’t “the darkness of the tomb,
but the darkness of a womb.”*
And if — in this new year —
a new sun rises
and standing beneath it
on this earth
we double down now,
for the birth.
With the blessings, then,
of this shared darkness
lighting our way
- changed as we are by a changed world -
what steps will we choose to take forward,
and our world
towards a truly new day?
*Gratitude to Valerie Kaur’s visionary metaphor and her work at Revolutionary Love
Karin Swann-Rubenstein writes essays and poems born where today’s cultural and political circumstances meet our evolution as humans on a planet in peril. Her writings can be found on her blog karinswann.life. Her poetry is published on Medium at swannsongs.