El Jones's poem Glass Hands is a eulogy for the pandemic — and a call to action
'In elegy I believe we also can find hope, and in hope, action,' says poet and activist
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.
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