Not at dusk, when daylight turns the corner,

Neither at the graveside, when the final dump soil lands,

Where heaven begins,

A deep place in open sight,

A secret out in the air,

A longing, a feeling, a tagging of heart,

Snow coming heavy on a lone elder’s lawn,

And you wondering if they are fine,

Food lines stretching miles,

And you calling a wheelchair bound kin to offer to queue,

Where heaven begins,

Is at that mat at the corner,

Tears drenching the wobbling cheeks,

Remonstrating with the unseen for healing,

Extending the plea for all in similar states.

Where Heaven begins,

Taking precautions to shelter the unsheltered,

Assuring a child that love means a wave,

Commitment to welfare of others by denying self,

Where heaven begins,

Is at that same spot where earth lost its sport,

Play receded into delayed seasons,

Party times muted into a foggy future,

Travel shortened its invitation card,

And offices lost their daily murmur and clocking cards,

Where heaven begins,

Is the hearth of discover of rediscovery, 

Family claiming its center piece place,

Rush and gold onto the express highway taking a back seat,

Excess settled for enough and sufficient,

As nature out regrouped to rediscover itself,

Lessons rolled unfazed down the shocked face of humanity,

Seeing how survival is a communal affair,

How differences can fade in an instant,

How largesse and grander are as flimsy as an expensive coat,

For what was thought impossible to imagine,

Happened in real time in months,

Where heaven begins,

Is at the feet of humility,

Where brains and success both draw same air,

Where prince and pauper are same flesh,

A realization that is still building,

Block by block of healthy borne of care,

Making Covid both an enemy and a teacher,

Yes, a scare still challenging us daily,

With mutations that shock science,

Where heaven begins,

Is the shrine of man’s repentant heart,

Where bias and entitlement bend a knee,

To embrace each the other,

for in caring enough for another,

you care enough for you,

that’s where heaven begins.


Duality of life is a dance,

One and two a tangos gaiety,

Male and female the base of birth,

Up and down, prayer and play,

Shake too, comes with a shift,

As volcanoes rumble before spew spits,

Tectonic plates birthing continents,

Joy and warmth overflow,

Sorrow and the icy shivers,

Our world does shake,

Shifting to a new frontier,

Whatever the reason, mission or intimation,

Covid has spoke and continues its speech,

One of business unusual,

Unknowable phenomena, unmeasurable scare,

Cooped up within spaces confined,

Lamentations and statistics of scores,

Unified humanity boxed to a corner,

But resilience has won crowns,

Of heroes sweating blood to help,

Some giving up breathe in the process,

Walls have crumbled and bridges lifted,

It’s no longer you and yours,

But me and ours,

It’s no longer them and theirs,

But us and ours,

Truancy has dimmed its ugly torch,

Demagogues of divisions have lowered their flags,

Champion color tantrums have drunk a sober cup,

Man is somewhere.

A place not seen before,

A crossroads, a junction,

Which road he takes,

If he decides to stay,

Lessons are home in the heart,

Lessons of the fate of humanity,

That one is equal to all,

And all is just as one,

Unless we regard this lesson,

Devoid of former footprints of ignorance,

Borne of hidden schemes of lordship,

Then we suffer the fool’s paradise,

Where tears and sorrow consumes us,

Without impacting a better human.


I carry my confessions,

In this old duffle bag leaking with tears,

Sorrow is a poor visitor dressed in cold dew,

Bringing shards of broken glass as belated gifts,

Joy left on vacation to a location without an address,

Conflict has built a castle inside my mouth,

Taunting music with guttural sighs that rival mountain thunder.

Fear has hugged each dawn,

Bringing glazed stares of a receding hairline,

Trauma has pitched its tent at my back door,

And terror at the front,

Am seized and squeezed like the meat in the burger,

Running is no option,

For East woke up with a sneeze,

Which West caught with both hands,

Winding a spiral on a sparrows wings,

To North and South.

Am torn in places I didn’t know exist,

I hurt in thoughts and skin,

I howl in regret and guilt,

Am besieged by control beyond my control,

Lamenting won’t attend a sick one,

Wailing would not say goodbye,

Am settled on the cobwebs and rafters within,

Unsettled by memories of summer and flowers,

A creature no preacher can teach,

For this journey is like none,

No reprieve or pause to rest,

Constant is the rhythm of ill winds,

Parched with pockets of more ware,

Warring has become a common chorus,

Comparing notes has stopped,

Evenly distributed is the requiem masses,

In tandem of drums of doom,

That come with the faithful sun,

And continue with the romance-less moon. 

My journey is the chronicles of a time,

A time of newness beastly,

Beastly as humans can deal,

Deals that derail a plan for fear of reprisals,

Reprisals that come to the innocent and guilt.

So for breaks in between a new birth and death,

I write poetry to feel relevant to this old wagon,

Carrying itself on the current of times of the covid.


Nancy Ndeke. 

Nancy Ndeke is a poet who loves to read as well as to write. Her writings lean towards social commentary and especially raising awareness on the justice issues and the vulnerability in social groups.

You can follow Nancy on Facebook!

Life in Quarantine: Witnessing Global Pandemic is an initiative sponsored by the Poetic Media Lab and the Center for Spatial and Textual Analysis at Stanford University.

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