Writing for UNICEF #5 – All donations matched £ for £

On May 18, 2021, participants from Kenya to California wrote in response to Covid-themed paintings by children, teenagers and young adults from around the world. This week we share writing from Shane Leavy, Margaret O’Brien and Theresa Jones.

Our fundraiser will remain open till June 30th. All donations will be matched, pound for pound, by the Pears Foundation! Click here to donate.


Shane Leavey, Glenar, Co Leitrim

Image credit: “Wild Imagination” by James Moonan, Ireland

james-moonan-wild-imagination-ireland-1Look, the newspaper always has to gaze
on darkness.

But outside
thistle trembles in the sun
soft waters slash in sudden, showering bursts
that yield at once to rainbows,
rich and ripe,
rivulets dance diamond on the heathered hills.

Bluebells bring indigo haze
under hazel,
skylarks sing, hovering, and swallows flaunt,
flinging feathered arcs
from rafter to fern.

It’s hard to hold dismay for long,
in lushness,
sun on life-enveloped loam
as seed and sapling yearn towards the sun.

ECDYSIS: the act of casting off the old skin

Margaret O’Brien @margaretwriting, Co Tipperary, Ireland

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

muzzamil-mughal-pakistanWe wear masks. Now they are visible. But before? We wore masks that were not so visible, a performance maybe of what we thought the world expected us to be.

Today our fabric masks hide the lower part of our faces, our noses, mouths, jaws. But our eyes are still eloquent, showing our joy, fear, love. I store my masks in a bag behind our front door and stick one in a pocket or my bag as I leave our house. I’ve become very accustomed to wearing them in a public space such as a supermarket but it still feels odd, awkward if I’m in a private space like someone’s home. Not that this happens often.

Vaccinations are rolling out, steadily working down the age cohorts here in Ireland. I’m relieved to have had my first one. Still we must mask up, out of care, out of courtesy, out of love. We have learned so much in the past year. Ecdysis.


Theresa Jones, Clonmel, Tipperary

Image credit: “You Are Not Alone” by Samira Mammadova, Azerbaijan.

samira-mammadova-azerbaijan-1The image of serenity, just look at her, she is definitely looking down at me. COVID a time for peace, to develop peace of mind, read more, dance more, listen to more music, learn more. 

The image of the spiritual woman seemed to look directly into my soul, it seemed to say. 

“I see you.  I see what you lack.  I see what you need”.

But she also seemed to ask, “Do you know the answer to these questions?  Can you say you are at peace with yourself?”

Smug madam.  Looking down, judging me.   She seemed I must say, for someone cross-legged, many armed; totally focused, at peace.

It would be easy to imagine that she never screamed at the computer, at the TV or at the sheer frustration of needing that one little thing to complete a project, that was only sold in a shop deemed to be “non-essential”.  Except that just at this very moment, it seemed very essential to my well being, to my sense of self.

But I looked at her again, resenting her calmness, her look of utter contentment.  Resilience shone through her.  I am sure that woman never threw anything down in temper; with any of her arms.  She was perfectly happy to stay at home. 

Love more, she said. 

Who do you suggest? I said.  Well, I have read more, listened to more music and meditated to beat the band.   Dancing, I won’t admit to.  But love more, well, if you call walking the dogs many times a day and being nice (from a distance) to the neighbours qualified, then Yes, I also did that too.

Perhaps someone out there saw a together woman walking her dogs, chatting with ease and wondered at the peace radiated there.

Perhaps we all share a veneer of calm, while flapping inside, the outward image of serenity; not smugness at all.


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