Psalm: Lines in the sand — Brant Rosen

In my weaker moments I imagine
that you sent this plague
as punishment for our iniquity,
but deep down in my heart I know
that’s not your way.
In fleeting moments of clarity,
I picture you gazing out at us
and ruefully asking out loud:
Don’t you know that I really don’t need
to inflict punishments on you?
Can’t you see you’re doing a pretty good job inflicting punishments on yourselves?
Even now I’m astonished
that this terrible moment
still hasn’t taught you
that no matter how hard you try
you cannot hide from one another.
Even now you cannot see
that the lines you’ve drawn
will not protect you,
that viruses care nothing
for national borders,
that pandemics do not stop at walls, checkpoints and security fences.
I look on in wonder as the powerful,
your so-called leaders,
close the gates even tighter,
warning citizens not to congregate
even as they increasingly herd humanity into prisons, detention centers and refugee camps.
Even now I’m astonished
by the rampant ignorance
of those who still believe the absurd lines they’ve drawn in the sand
will somehow keep them safe.
And now it has come to this:
you must sit closed up in your homes
keeping your distance from one another
that your communities might survive.
I can only hope that
in this moment of separation,
you will finally come to see
how connected you truly are –
for this may well be your final chance
to grasp the most basic of lessons:
that in the end,
you only have each other.

Rabbi Brant Rosen has composed a series of psalms; this is number 14.