Social Distancing Elegy

Jay Leonard Schwartz - Bed 2019.jpg

Social Distancing Elegy

Oh, children! Where are you marching off to today?
Oh, children! Where are you stomping off to today?
Are you going down to St. James Infirmary?
– (No, Lord, I’m staying home today.)
Will you go down to Maggie’s Farm?
– (No Ma, I’m staying put today.)

Let me tell you ’bout social editing
in the new math of justifying
the survival of the populist regime.

One soul dying … but it’s only one.
Ten souls dying … but not in my home.
A hundred souls dying …
– (Well, they were already gone.)
A thousand souls dying …
– (Didn’t know ’em. Save the other ones!)
Ten thousand souls dying …
– (Not in my constituency. Come on!)
A hundred thousand souls dying …
– (Gotta keep moving on …)
A million souls dying …
And it goes on and on …

Oh, children! Where are you marching off to today?
Oh, children! Where are you stomping off to today?
Are you going down to St. James Infirmary?
– (No, Lord, I’m staying home today.)
Will you go down to Maggie’s Farm?
– (No Ma, I’m staying put today.)

Some anticipate the far reaching effects of social change
in light of the new infectious reality
that proliferates an obvious impediment
to put their minds at ease …

Others pray for the doom n’ gloom of the end days
and hope half-heartedly when kingdom comes
for their holy salvation and release …

Starve the fever of irrational politicizing.
Feed a cold heart with the madness of fear mongering.
Lockdown or shelter in place is sanitizing.
Will social distancing herald psycho-social cannibalizing?

Crisis management ain’t pretty; it requires common sense.

Oh, children! Where are you marching off to today?
Oh, children! Where are you stomping off to today?
Are you going down to St. James Infirmary?
– (No, Lord, I’m staying home today.)
Will you go down to Maggie’s Farm?
– (No Ma, I’m staying put today.)

And the holier than thou
send thoughts and prayers
and sacrifice sense to a germ conveyor.
Holy cows and bricklayers,
propagators of ignorance
in the undertaker’s favor.

And the poor walk a windswept tightrope only to fall, as expected.
Shit happens; it’s why you got infected.

——

Note: Originally written as lyrical poetry for the music video below,
while “sheltering in place”. It was posted on the day before an official lockdown was ordered in Greece. Music & Lyrical Poetry by: Jay Leonard Schwartz (ASCAP)

How to seriously make a difference in this one soul’s life:

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