The Current

El Jones's poem Glass Hands is a eulogy for the pandemic — and a call to action

The Current asked El Jones to write her new poem as part of special coverage to mark one year since the WHO declared COVID-19 a pandemic. 

'In elegy I believe we also can find hope, and in hope, action,' says poet and activist

Glass Hands: A Eulogy on the Anniversary of the Pandemic

The Current

2 months ago
4:30
Poet and activist El Jones wrote her new poem for CBC Radio's The Current, as part of special coverage to mark one year since the WHO declared COVID-19 a pandemic. 4:30

Writing a new poem about the pandemic, El Jones thought of long-term care homes in lockdown, and families "meeting through glass" as residents were brought to windows to see loved ones outside. 

"Those images spoke to me both of the distance, but also of the force of our love that presses through barriers," said Jones, an activist, educator, and Halifax's former poet laureate.

The Current asked Jones to write her new poem, Glass Hands: A Eulogy on the Anniversary of the Pandemic as part of special coverage to mark one year since the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic. 

Jones said the poem is about how "COVID has touched us all, but some more harshly than others — people in prisons, in shelters, Black and Indigenous people, our elders, those who go out to work in risky jobs, those without housing, frontline workers."

Over email, she told The Current that she hopes for "mourning with purpose."

"Do we use this moment to fight for a better world or do we accept this world of pandemic, of environmental destruction, of human indifference?" she asked.

"In elegy I believe we also can find hope, and in hope, action."

Read the full poem below.

Glass Hands: A Eulogy on the Anniversary of the Pandemic


Article written by Padraig Moran. Audio produced by Julie Crysler.

Hear full episodes of The Current on CBC Listen, our free audio streaming service.  

For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success stories within the Black community — check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project Black Canadians can be proud of. You can read more stories here.

(CBC)

Add some “good” to your morning and evening.

A variety of newsletters you'll love, delivered straight to you.

Sign up now

now