In the time of pestilence
life goes on, but smaller;
confined in shrinking spaces,
curling in upon itself.
Revolving in cramped spirals
the stuff of it is squeezed
and twisted, all its colours
are wrung out and washed away.

Yet it endures: one day
the cloud will disappear,
the barricades be lifted.
Those who are left will watch
through blinking eyes as life’s
discoloured, crumpled fabric
opens up, unfolds its faded
scenes of brown and grey.

A time for restoration,
an opportunity – perhaps
a duty – not to settle
for what was, but dip the brush
in brighter colours, sweep bold lines
across the canvas of the world,
to paint our future in rich shades
of purple, green and gold.