A POETIC RESPONSE – “Shrinking Back” by Craig O’Flaherty | Day 2


Shrinking Back

We once conquered this world
and blithely defined our own
borders and land masses.
We naively drafted maps,
argued and fought over
who belonged where,
and kept redrawing them –
when it didn’t suit our purpose.

Now the world has claimed
itself back and redraws
its own patterns.
Daily maps of this globe
get covered in silent
circles of viral spread– like
blotting paper marked
in contagious red ink.

This did not need to happen,
but it has. Lines get redrawn
by the earth itself, as more
borders close each day.
Some now even bar their own
citizens from a return to home –
or isolate them in lockdown.

It’s becoming a world where
rite of passage may need new
types of passports and visas.
Airline fleets lie stranded
on runways – patterned crosses
on airfield graveyards.
We’re unsure when they might
fly again – or if they ever will.

Perhaps the globe never really
wanted us to fly – but we
imagined it and simply did.
What do we now need to see
that our humanness cannot?

Craig O’Flaherty

Published 28 March 2020