Against Panic and Pandemic by Molly Fisk

You recall those times, I know you do, when the sun  

lifted its weight over a small rise to warm your face,   

when a parched day finally broke open, real rain   

sluicing down the sidewalk, rattling city maples   

and you so sure the end was here, life a house of cards   

tipped over, falling, hope’s last breath extinguished   

in a bitter wind. Oh, friend, search your memory again —   

beauty and relief are still there, only sleeping. 

Against Panic and Pandemic

I first read this poem in the collection How to Love the World, edited by James Crews. It was titled there as Against Panic but when I searched for Molly Fisk, it appears as above. Regardless of whether this speaks to our anxiety about the pandemic or our everyday anxieties, this short piece has that magic that holds both the dark and the light.

She opens with when the sun / lifted its weight over a small rise to warm your face, and rain, real rain / sluicing down the sidewalk are recalled. Then the anxiety, the panic arises: and you so sure the end was here, those thoughts that can paralyze us, hope’s last breath extinguished / in a bitter wind. Who has not gone there to the worst possible outcome?

But finally, Oh, friend, she addresses us, search your memory again, reminds us that all is not lost, hope is not extinguished. What we long for is still there, only sleeping. It’s true, is it not, that when we feel hopeless, drowning in worry, beauty and relief have not truly gone forever; we’ve just lost sight of them and can find them again. Beauty and relief, strong medicine and ever more sweet after the moments of panic – perhaps this poem will remind you of that.

4 thoughts on “Against Panic and Pandemic by Molly Fisk

  1. Thank you Jan… right to the heart of the matter -” beauty, relief” AND despair – coexisting, if we “search (y)our memories”… if we re-member the wholeness of our unique being swimming in the sea of life. Thankyou for being such a lovely swim partner 🙂

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s