Poets can handle Covid-19 lockdown. By Dr. Stephen Gill


The more I think of the Covid-19 virus the more I become convinced that this infectious agent was created by maniac messiahs to strengthen their lust to control the bodies of the world governments.  Unexpectedly, the maniac messiahs also came under the control of this infectious agent. The agent has courage, muscles and freedom to upset the world, particularly its economic order, though it is so tiny that naked eyes cannot see. . 

 This infectious agent however has failed to dampen the spirit of committed poets, as it must have failed to dampen the hands of committed artists. Like the committed poets and artists, I led relatively a life of isolation long before world governments forced lockdowns to contain the spread of the Covid-19.   The dark forces have failed to compel me to stock necessities for more than three weeks.  Hoarding creates scarcity and deserving citizens who do not have means to buy even bare necessities suffer. I must say that unnecessary hoarding is an evil practice.

 The isolation I talk about is not the isolation that is thrust upon anyone. It is not the isolation that is forced upon prisoners or the punishment that parents give to their children because of their disobedience. The isolation I talk about prevails in the monastery of the Muse.  This monastery is without distractions, and is primarily for the seeker who longs to meet his or her beloved to receive the gift of creation.  Isolation here nourishes a silence that is the medium for divine revelation. I believe that dedicated artists have thirst for this kind of self-isolation.

Buddha was in self-isolation, fasting for forty days, before he received his enlightenment to share the path of non-violence with the world. Christ prepared himself for his ministry of selfless love in the monastery of self-isolation.  He fasted for forty days and forty nights before choosing his disciples, and starting his spiritual battle. There are verses in the Gospels to show that even during his ministry Jesus renewed his spiritual power by going into self-isolation.  We can read it also in Luke 5:15-16, and Luke 1:45. Jesus passed even his last hours in contact with the divine power, aloof from his disciples in a garden. Ten Commandments which are the base of Christianity were written around 1400 century BC. on Mount Sinai. These commandments were dictated by God to Moses in solitude.    

 I would like to pause to add that the universe has two mighty forces. One force is speech and another is silence. Speech is for creation, and silence is for the preparation of creation. Creation is immense, astonishing and mind-blowing when a human stops listening to the noises, because noises are superficial. When we succeed in our efforts of conquering all the noises from outside and also from inside we are tuned to the source of creation and miracles begin to happen because then we are one with the creative force.  To connect with this creative force we have to turn off the switch of artificial noises and listen to the voiceless stillness.

As I think of the voiceless stillness I think of the beginning passage of my poem “Invisible Hand.” The poem has appeared in several written media and also  in my collection Shrine. I say here:

Silence is a hand of nature.  

It pulls down

the mask of distance 

 to unmask the lips

 of the melodies of the stars,

 Trees and rocks.



yet silence 

 is audible and profound.

 Nature is the open book of God to present some truths about silence. All the four Gospels are full of verses where Jesus is giving examples from nature. One of those examples is when he says “Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.”   Jesus emerges as the Sufi of the Sufis in such verses, which are in plenty.  The fact is that beautiful things, such as flowers and fruits, grow in silence. The sun, moon and planets ambulate in silence to manifest the deepest depth of the infinite radiance of timelessness—in other words Divinity.  When we are in a silent place, we bath ourselves in the imperishable fragrance of glory. Silence is to communicate with the real self and the real self is without the clothes of the thoughts. Self-isolation creates solitudes for artists to discover their true selves. Covid-19 lockdowns provide such opportunities for self-isolation. 

(StephenGill, a multiple award-winning Indo/Canadian self-exiled poet, fiction writer, and essayist, has authored more than thirty books. He is the subject of doctoral dissertations and thirteen books of critical studies have been released. The focus of his writing is live and let live. Available For: writer or poet in residence)

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