Days on end without a human touch
a face to see, a voice to hear
the one thing that shows we care
the social being in the presence
of a human ear.
Worst than prison, locked away,
the social distance,
speaks to the voices abay
who would have thought
of this insensitivity
when from a distance
we still could speak.
Awaken me now from this terrible sleep
for I wonder what are the thoughts that be
as I reach deep inside and remind myself
that today will eventually come to an end.
O. Stephen Peart. 2020 © All rights reserved
Motivation for the Poem
Isolation has been a tool used to correct a bad behaviour. Used in schools, prisons and now in our entire world. How does one survive isolation? Well in school you can still see your teacher and classmates while standing in that corner. Often times you will try and say something and you will certainly get a response from the teacher. In prison, solitary confinement is further restrictive by separating the individual from any form of contact. They all have an end point, an acknowledgement of the behaviour.
Recently we were introduced to a term called Social Distancing. My first impression was what am I being punished for? Why do we need to socially distance ourselves. I am a social being, in need of social connections. Whatever form that takes. As a mental health advocate I realize that the language we use can often create additional stresses on individuals and I often take caution and listen to others. Prior to writing this piece I had a conversation with a mother of an only child. She expressed her concern about her daughter who was being socially distanced by her friends who prior to the COVID-19 pandemic would always go out with her to play. She has been making a number of attempts to connect with her friends but to no avail. Text messages, phone calls, all with no response. As she shared, I was making an effort to create some last rationale for this social disconnect. However, I could not figure out why.
This little girl has to play by herself or with her mom. For how long. As I grapple with the thought, I also thought of individuals that lived on their own. How are they coping? What does it feel like to be in a state of isolation, no human touch, no human connection, no live human voice. So is the biggest threat the virus or the isolation?