I wrote this poem for a recent online remembrance service for Mission Hospice, where I have been a volunteer for 12 years. We were remembering the many people under the care of Mission Hospice who died during the pandemic, many of whom were isolated and could not have visits by family, friends and hospice volunteers.

A Dark Time

I wanted to sing a song of praise
To the last moments of life, alone and goodbye

I wanted to greet the silent empty room
As a welcome friend, visit just awhile longer

It was all taken away in a rush of panic
The hunger for fear and need and regret

Is rapacious, a deep empty well

Friends and family take ill, some with false credentials
Others dragged into a not so sterile hospital room

Goodbyes are not allowed, helloes are an echo
Once loving caretakers are covered

In their own masks of despair

Still … and yet … and tomorrow … we arise one more day
Feet numb, ankles swollen, hearts filled with goodbye

We must have this darkness in every age
Until our memories fade and hope finds new purchase

Wheels turn, seasons come and go, light follows dark
New life blossoms from old seeds

I miss them all and remember them yet