Opinions

Equally Valued: Equally Connected, a poetry review

Written by: Jenny Lindsay, Poet

Published: 11/06/2021

Conference 2021 logo

Award winning Poet Jenny Lindsay, reviewed our ALLIANCE Annual Conference.

And so we find ourselves here –
Not starting over, continuing –
Lockdowns were still life,
sometimes felt like still-life for some –
A limbo, of sorts.
Respite? Or hell?
Solace or catastrophe?

Strange lives for some, but for others, entirely familiar.
Still for others – frantic adaptation
but with hands tied with burdensome strings
puppeteering wildly,
while clinging on
by the fingernails.

And so we find ourselves here,
Zoom-rooming and wondering:
how much did we not know before?
and how much have we known some things all along?

‘Move forward’. Is not the same as ‘move on’.

It’s about time to stop, to reflect, to change,
while still knowing the minutes are ticking –
And if it is about equal value and equal connection,
how much better to know when it is time
to put down the pens,
some research is already done –
those minutes have been filed and at the bottom they state:

“Action.”

It’s about how people power is more important than bureaucracy –
No parachuting outcomes in from far away, but building back differently,
not just ‘better’, from the grassroots up.

It’s about reducing stigma and emphasising humanity.

It’s about knowing where we are, and are not, all in this together –
It’s not just about money, (though it’s a lot about money)
it’s about where that money goes, and how it flows.

It’s about sensory loss. And sometimes sensory overload.
And it’s about understanding both.

It’s about knowing how awake we all are to the problems,
and knowing that alarm bells aren’t enough,
if we stay hiding under the duvet cover.

But sometimes…

let’s not forget:

It’s about laughing as if you are holding hot potatoes –
It’s about cycling for companionship alongside a body of water.
It’s about Constitution Street and Argyll, Moffat, Aberdeenshire,
Ayrshire and Arran and Lewis and Shetland, and Glasgow and Edina and –

– it’s about connection, everywhere.

It’s really all about connection.

It’s about being here and being us
and the collective health of the law
and of the nation.

It is avoiding taking everything to heart in an unjust world.
It is avoiding the self-destructive efforts of trying to control the uncontrollable.

It’s about recognising the importance of getting your hands dirty.
And I mean, literally!

Connecting with the soil, the ground,
and what a community can grow.
It’s about letters, about lives, about loves.

It’s about finally pinpointing a road out
And it’s about where that road goes.

It’s about treating people and not just conditions,
Knowing that people rarely exist in splendid isolation –
We’re part of a complex web that existed pre-pandemic conditions,
with many keen to not return to a normal that didn’t acknowledge
that ‘social-distancing’
was some people’s lived reality –
not through choice, nor social duty, but reluctantly
due to society’s inflexibility…

And if you are currently living it?
You cannot ‘content warning’ reality –
Not for yourself –
That’s for other people’s comfort.
Let’s speak candidly. About addiction.
About the impulse and the control of it,
About the lives lived within it – not just as a ‘grip’
that permanently chokes but as it is actually lived.
Lived with. As it is.

It’s about knowing what we do not know yet –
It’s about making the effort to find that out –
It’s knowing the public have not been the problem –
That behaviours enacted are not always choices.

Know what is universal in all of this.
This communal stress;
What is at the root – having to accept
What we cannot do and getting used to it,
And then being catapulted in and out of ‘normality’
This discombobulates.
Of course it does.

Equally connected. Equally valued.

How much did we not know before?
and how much have we known some things all along?

‘Move forward’. Is not the same as ‘move on’.

It’s about knowing the road and where other roads intersect with it.
It’s about pathways and yes –

it’s often necessarily
about paperwork…

But really, at root:

It’s about lives, and letters, and love.
It’s about looking this straight in the eye
and taking it on.

It’s about unshrinking the world.

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