Everyone suddenly burst out singing;
And I was filled with such delight
As prisoned birds must find in freedom,
Winging wildly across the white
Orchards and dark-green fields; on - on - and out of sight.
Everyone's voice was suddenly lifted;
And beauty came like the setting sun:
My heart was shaken with tears; and horror
Drifted away ... O, but Everyone
Was a bird; and the song was wordless; the singing will never be done.
Siegfried Sassoon (1886 – 1967)
Yesterday was ‘Remembrance Day’ it also coincided with the easing in Canberra of the restrictions associated with the virus.
This well-known poem is all about freedom and release from war.
The first stanza highlights the immediacy of the release in a sudden outburst of joy. But there is a hint of the transient nature of this emotion with the disappearance of the birds in the last line of the stanza on – and out of sight.
The second stanza shows the joy to be short lived being counteracted by grief – and beauty came like the setting sun. And ends with the dramatic statement – and the song was wordless; the singing will never be done. The song being wordless; without meaning. Siegfried Sassoon remembers those that died in the war and those that are maimed and unable to join the celebration.
In similar fashion there is a degree of immediate relief at the easing of virus-restrictions counteracted by the unease that the virus is still a threat to life. And for those families that have lost members there is that on-going shadow to life. We are fortunate for currently there are no virus-related patients in Canberra hospitals.