On Bended Knees

On bended knees

These days, I hear birds
Instead of planes

I see people thinking in windowsills

As I watch the sun shining where dark clouds once stood.

These days, I finally get to enjoy the sweet aroma of silence,

as it percolates through the air mixing with delicious spring-like fragrances.

I no longer hear grunting trucks hiccupping dark-coloured plumes,

nor oversized coaches hollering at screeching, impatient cars.

These days, the air floats more boldly – freely,
Unhindered by gloomy artificial clouds;
and the skies stare back at me with genuine blue smiles.

These days, I can watch plants grow in my garden,
and marvel at trees flourishing with tasty blossoms
while children play on balconies, surrounded by their parents’ laughter.

Work has stopped, partially. Suddenly;
factories, shops, and high streets, all set on pause.
Motorways, highways, alleyways and parks now stroll.

They can taste the fresh, clean oxygen of silence,
as people find time for family, to pray.

Yet loved ones – in the thousands succumb – separated and alone.

They leave us unannounced; rushed into hasty farewells,
without words, goodbyes, fanfare or ceremony.
They may even lie nameless, unrecognized in mass vaults.

I also see people erecting cages to barricade life in homes with burglar bars

made from pre-packaged food.

I see fear camped on neighbours’ eyes;
uncertainty etched on the faces of strangers,

rushing to the other side of the pavement;
Afraid, sanitized behind cloth masks;

studying others from careful distances –
now that space, time, contact and emotions are rationed.

I hear the sober stillness of silence
and I can feel each heartbeat as I pray and pray and pray again for those who are mine.

I say prayers also for those filled with dread,

but compelled by courage and duty to defy death, to rescue life

and breathe oxygen into the future.

I hear reports of deaths in multiples;
but each loss is a multiple of one –
a mother, father, brother, sister,

husband, wife, partner, son, daughter, niece, nephew,

grandma, grandpa, uncle, auntie, cousin, friend, colleagues.
All orphans of yesterday.

I can finally hear the birds.

I can finally listen to children’s laughter
and watch streets grow quiet.
I can finally listen to the lonely piano down the street.

And hear the gentle hum of a desolate guitar teasing old tunes

But, through the silence,

I can also hear quiet screams of sadness

Echoed within hushed, watchful walls –

A certain breathlessness –

leaping from hospital wards, ambulances…care homes –
like prayers of peoples;
on bended knees
fighting for tomorrow.


19 thoughts on “On Bended Knees”

  1. Dear Dr Isaac,

    You have literally in one breath transported me the very scene where the birds were singing and the ambulances wailing.
    Super my friend!

  2. Very timely rendition. Love it! I was able to feel the truth and compassion surrounding “on bended knees”.

  3. Your Exellency
    You have penned a beautiful poem about today’s situation with Covid19. The situation is uncertain and no one knows what future will be. It is our prayer that may God protect everyone everywhere
    Ahmed Latif

  4. Your Excellency… A beautiful Ecco of what is & what is passing before our very eyes. I too pray for all your loved ones, for you my friend are one of mine.

  5. As always you allow your readers to envision the poems content like no one else can. Job well done!

  6. Williams Nkurunziza

    Powerfully frames
    This moment’s
    collective fears,l;
    Captures pulsating pains,
    With eloquent grace
    And injects into our gloom
    A palpable tinge of hope,
    Even if contemplated
    On a bended knee!!


    Stay safe, my brother

  7. Dear Kevin,
    You put in words what everybody is leaving today. Our experience would be remembered through the years. I wonder how we would grow after this event. Thank for recording this.

  8. A very evocative picture of this time of wrenching contrasts. Striking images. As I sit at my desk at home, the ticking of the clock brings the two aspects together – peaceful regularity and the inexorable march which we cannot control.

    1. Thanks my friend for capturing and sharing these thoughts in such a moving and emotional way. Awesome.

      1. Amb Sonia M Johnny

        Beautiful , my friend !! This captures my own feelings and experiences as I sit in front of my laptop , facing my opened windows . The singing and the chirping of birds are so clear , even the rustle of leaves on the trees in front of the window , as a light breeze passes through them makes me wonder… would I be genuinely happy if that was life generally ? No I love humanity .
        Thanks my friend for capturing life during Covid 19 in a manner which forces one to appreciate life yesterday , today and tomorrow !!

  9. Stammy Cottakis

    I love this poem. It conveys the emotion of what we have just gone through – and its complexities – so beautifully and aptly. The ‘sweet aroma of silence’ which is also a ‘sober silence’ of grief and shock, the mixed feelings of joy in the spring fragrances and smiling blue skies yet great heart-ache for the loss of so many of our brave fellows. The poem conveys so many of the paradoxes of life in all its mystery. It compassionately pays tribute to the world at this moment and is genuinely a verbal photograph for our times. Thank you Kevin! You have done us all proud.

  10. Kevin, this poem captures Beautifully and eloquently these moments of lockdown that we are currently living in.
    The truth in them is so painful to the heart and ears and mind. Yet we have to keep soldiering in through them and keep looking at the cup half full.
    Thank you for sharing. I absolutely loved it

  11. Charlene Bowry

    This piece has beautifully captured our life as is today. So eloquently written about the little things once overlooked that we now cherish and enjoy. The beautiful birds undisturbed and the cherished family time.
    A masterpiece that is very relevant for our new norm.
    Thank you and God bless you and family Kevin!

  12. Kevin, you have captured the way things are. The innards of current life, with all its moods, colours and scents and feelings and wonder and fear.

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