Praise Song for the Pandemic
Praise be the nurses and doctors, every medical staff bent over flesh to offer care, for lives saved and lives lost, for showing up either way,
Praise for the farmers, tilling soil, planting seeds so food can grow, an act of hope if ever there was,
Praise be the janitors and garbage collectors, the grocery store clerks, and the truck drivers barreling through long quiet nights,
Give thanks for bus drivers, delivery persons, postal workers, and all those keeping an eye on water, gas, and electricity,
Blessings on our leaders, making hard choices for the common good, offering words of assurance,
Celebrate the scientists, working away to understand the thing that plagues us, to find an antidote, all the medicine makers, praise be the journalists keeping us informed,
Praise be the teachers, finding new ways to educate children from afar, and blessings on parents holding it together for them,
Blessed are the elderly and those with weakened immune systems, all those who worry for their health, praise for those who stay at home to protect them,
Blessed are the domestic violence victims, on lock down with abusers, the homeless and refugees,
Praise for the poets and artists, the singers and storytellers, all those who nourish with words and sound and color,
Blessed are the ministers and therapists of every kind, bringing words of comfort,
Blessed are the ones whose jobs are lost, who have no savings, who feel fear of the unknown gnawing,
Blessed are those in grief, especially who mourn alone, blessed are those who have passed into the Great Night,
Praise for police and firefighters, paramedics, and all who work to keep us safe, praise for all the workers and caregivers of every kind,
Praise for the sound of notifications, messages from friends reaching across the distance, give thanks for laughter and kindness,
Praise be our four-footed companions, with no forethought or anxiety, responding only in love,
Praise for the seas and rivers, forests and stones who teach us to endure,
Give thanks for your ancestors, for the wars and plagues they endured and survived, their resilience is in your bones, your blood,
Blessed is the water that flows over our hands and the soap that helps keep them clean, each time a baptism,
Praise every moment of stillness and silence, so new voices can be heard, praise the chance at slowness,
Praise be the birds who continue to sing the sky awake each day, praise for the primrose poking yellow petals from dark earth, blessed is the air clearing overhead so one day we can breathe deeply again.
And when this has passed may we say that love spread more quickly than any virus ever could, may we say this was not just an ending but also a place to begin.
Christine Valters Paintner, PhD REACE is a spiritual director and an American poet and writer living in Galway, Ireland. She is the author of twelve books of nonfiction on creative process and contemplative practice and her poems have been published in several journals in both the U.S. and Ireland including Stinging Fly, The Galway Review, Boyne Berries, Headstuff, Skylight 47, Spiritus Journal, Anchor, Presence: Journal of Spiritual Directors International, ARTS, Crannog, North West Words, Tiferet, Artis Natura, The Blue Nib, and U.S. Catholic, Presence: A Journal of Catholic Poetry, and Tales from the Forest. Her first collection, Dreaming of Stones, was published by Paraclete Press in 2019.
In her own words:
"There are three identities I currently hold dear:
Poet: I look beneath the surface to find beauty in all things and then offer that back to others. I seek to cultivate this kind of presence in the midst of ordinary life, finding poems everywhere.
Hermit: Silence nourishes me deeply and I take regular times of solitude, often in the woods or by the sea to help me hear a deeper voice.
Mystic: I am called to follow in the tradition of the many who have felt a passionate desire for connection to the divine and I am blessed to share this path with others."