By J. C. Niala

As we attuned to lockdown
we forgot how life had once worked,
our soundtrack gone like
an interrupted livestream. A
deer, wildflowers took over empty roads no chemical
to kill them, no longer weeds. A council approved experiment
as we were willing to try new ways of being that
we hoped would shield us. suddenly
new noises – hands clapping – illuminated
streets and neighbour-love that had been hidden
A chance for beauty to emerge from broken things.

JC Niala is recreating a 1918 allotment. Her living memorial asks – what does it mean to remember a previous pandemic as we struggle to heal in the current one?

Project website – https://fig.studio/projects/1918-allotment/

The poem above is a golden shovel and I worked with a line from Arundhati Roy’s article in the Financial Times 3rd April 2020:

The lockdown worked like a chemical experiment that suddenly illuminated hidden things.

I wrote this poem because my practice is a practice of hope and even in the darkest times – I am always looking for the crack of light. Even though Roy’s article was an indictment of the way we live – it reminded us that crisis always offers opportunity and I wanted to honour that.

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Helen Deal
Helen Deal
5 months ago

Thank you for this reminder that ‘beauty emerges from broken things’ – I love this last line! I like the concept of the deer and wild flowers taking over and then new sounds coming in like clapping and the ‘neighbour love’ … a reminder of the good things about lockdown.

Amanda Jones
5 months ago

Hope is so important and your beautiful poem brings me roadside verges full of wildflowers.

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