Tuesday, March 31, 2020

The Bell is Tolling Death: The Covid Time

The Plague Doctor circa 1650 Edinburgh, UK (Carole Di Tosti)*
The bell is tolling Death, oh do you hear?
Or are you deaf to others' mournful cries?
Has arrogance so driven you to jeer
And obviate the truth to welcome lies?
Then sadly you do bow to folks on high
Respect the rich, decry the poor and hate
The weak of body, vulnerable to die
Susceptible to heartless, fickle fate.
Eschew that soul sick attitude of Hell
Align yourself with Christ's Love and His Grace
For we are unified, our lives do dwell
Beneath one sky, enjoined in earth's embrace.
So when one dies, diminished are we all.
Hear the tolling bell; reject Hell's call.

*When I was in Edinburgh last year for the International Festival, I toured the underground streets of the Old Town. The guide brought us through the warren of living quarters and featured the small spaces where the poor lived. The Bubonic Plague visited Europe then and one imagined how miserable the inhabitants of the old Old Town were. After the tour I purchased a slate tile in the museum shop with the Plague Doctor featured. The Doctor visited sick victims and did what he could in the quarantined home. He wore our equivalent of a hazmat suit covering him from top to toe. Gloves were on his hands and in the mask's beak were herbs thought to prevent him from inhaling the foul, contagious air.

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