By: Melanie Roberts

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Backgrounder

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

May 5th, 2020

For More Information:

Melanie Roberts

Digital Communications Major

 melanie.roberts@my.stmary.edu

“Pandemic,” a Poem by Lynn Ungar

Lynn Ungar, a poet, and minister wrote the poem on March 8th, 2020, about the coronavirus and social distancing. Ungar recognized that moving away from other people is an opportunity to connect closer as a community and empathy for all.

Ungar saw the impact of the pandemic and turned her thoughts into a poem that she posted on Facebook. In a few short hours, the Pandemic went viral. The following is the viral poem, Pandemic:

 

What if you thought of it

as the Jews consider the Sabbath—

the most sacred of times?

Cease from travel.

Cease from buying and selling.

Give up, just for now,

on trying to make the world

different than it is.

Sing. Pray. Touch only those

to whom you commit your life.

Center down.

And when your body has become still,

reach out with your heart.

Know that we are connected

in ways that are terrifying and beautiful.

(You could hardly deny it now.)

Know that our lives

are in one another’s hands.

(Surely, that has come clear.)

Do not reach out your hands.

Reach out your heart.

Reach out your words.

Reach out all the tendrils

of compassion that move, invisibly,

where we cannot touch.

Promise this world your love–

for better or for worse,

in sickness and in health,

so long as we all shall live.

 

Ungar is a minster for the Church of the Larger Fellowship, an online congregation for Unitarian Universalists and other religious liberals. She is also Jewish and incorporated the Jewish Sabbath tradition into her poem.

The Chicago Tribune published an article about the rapidly growing poem, “Column: ‘Pandemic,’ a little-known poet’s poem about the coronavirus, goes viral.”

Ungar published a poetry book in 2012, “Bread and Other Miracles,” that speak to many scopes of what it means to be human.

 

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