Writing for UNICEF #3

On May 18, 2021, people from Kenya and Ireland and Spain and California took part in an  ONLINE WRITE-A-THON to raise funds for UNICEF’s #GiveTheWorldAShot campaign. You can still make a donation – our fundraiser will remain active until June 30 – and you can donate directly to vaccinaid.org at any time.

Participants wrote in response to Covid-themed paintings by children, teenagers and young adults from around the world. Every Saturday until the end of June I’ll post a selection of their “Writing for UNICEF”. This week we have three poems, from Eileen Acheson, Patricia Weldon and Caroline Mason. The first two were written in response to all four prompts: a painting from the National Library Children’s Covid-Art Collection (name of artist unknown); “Wild Imagination” by James Moonan, Ireland; “Healthcare Heroes” by Muzzamil Mughal, Pakistan; and “You Are Not Alone” by Samira Mammadova, Azerbaijan.

UNICEF online write-a-thon 4 images

HEY.

Eileen Acheson, Co Tipperary, Ireland 

Cerise, green, yellow
turquoise, red, purple
blue, dog, people, racoon
flying pink duck
dandelion, daisy
disconnected youth in grey.
Hey.

STAY HOME, DANCE
LISTEN TO MUSIC
READ and MEDITATE MORE
LOVE MORE
Hey.

Keyboard buckles.
Christmas tree wilts.
Gifts returned
The cat has turned his back
on another bloody Zoom.
Hey.

I got my vaccine today.
Sin é.
Hey.

FOUR IMAGES FOR VACCINAID

Patricia Weldon, Tara, Co. Meath, Ireland

The boy in the window draws my attention.
He sits with his hands on his knees,
gazing into no-man’s land.
Colour and excitement are all outside his window.
Flowers, exotic pink flamingo, striped racoon, blue skies, far distant hills,
all outside his window.
He sits and stares,
Hands on his knees.
It is grey on the inside of the window.

‘If only I could join the outside world.
If only I could fly freely, sticking my neck out, seeking those foreign lands,
Like the pink flamingo.
All the wonders in the world and here I sit,
Nothing doing, nothing happening.'
'It’s a bit grim in here,' he thinks.
‘It’s nice to hold my knees, a sort of comfort,
like hugging my own body, holding myself together,’ he thinks
as the world passes by on the outside of the window.
‘I suppose I must stay in here.
Safety for others my duty.’

The picture below the boy explains the circumstance for the indoor habitation.
A medic in goggles and mask.
PPE the word that has dominated our landscape along with Covid-19 and numbers.
Endless numbers, so meaningless and so mean filled.
This covid-19 is filled with meanness, stops us all in our tracks.
Locks us indoors for days and weeks and months.
Wearing masks and gowns to come close to another, it has been a stark reality.

Tracking left now, the picture of the girl with the multiple arms.
Maybe she is a mum home schooling while working full time and more.
Not sure if she has time to dance and meditate, listen to music and read.
Perhaps in her dreams as she falls into bed exhausted from multitasking from morning to night fall.

Then we come to the image top left,
our new reality, zoom calls, zoom meetings, zoom webinars.
Little did I know 5 years ago when I first met zoom that zoom would take over our living rooms in such a spectacular way.
Could have invested then would be a millionaire now!
It is amazing to think what we thought was so important before
is so insignificant now.
They are alive.
We are alive.
What more can we want.
A lot more thinks the boy as he sits in the window.
Is this all there is to life?
Where has my future gone?

It’s not enough for his soul to sit and stare.
He needs the colour and the fun.
It’s a dilemma for sure.
The young held back to keep others safe,
Yet their well being depends on the well being of the youth.
A dilemma I am glad I don’t have to decide.
Yet these boys are my boys and I see the price they have paid.

It’s time now to let them experience their dreams,
return the colour to their lives,
before it is too late
for their mental gates to re-open.

BRAVE NEW WORLD

Caroline Mason, Co Donegal, Ireland

Image credit: “Healthcare Heroes” by Muzzamil Mughal, Pakistan

I like the way it billows in and out as I breathe,
The linen fitting snuggly under my chin.
The soft cloth caresses my lips, stray fibres tickling my tongue.
My warm breath mists the visor, obscuring my identity.
I feel safe behind it.
Today I walked home, one of the many,
Masked and visor-ed and unremarkable.
If anything, people are scared of me now.
If I walk too close they shrink away or swerve around me.
I am their real and present danger.
Not the other way around, like it used to be.
Before the plague.

My heart quickens with excitement and anticipation for a new way of living.
I’m not afraid anymore.
I don’t want to run.
I can stand my ground.
Take my place in the world.
I smile behind the mask.
I laugh inside.
I am free to be me at last.

1 thought on “Writing for UNICEF #3

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