As events have unfolded over the past couple of weeks, I was unsure about where to begin with getting this month’s edition of the Voice for Arran together. What could be said about the coronavirus and the new situation unravelling before us? Would I even manage to get an issue together with schools closing and the dramatic changes to our lives? But amidst the sudden change, a couple of small threads began emerging in my new daily reality, (one I nearly missed altogether and which before the lockdown I very possibly would have) and in following them I have found a way forward that I hope provides some space from the ongoing tragic news headlines and strict rules of lockdown.
The subject that kept getting my attention most (after a while) has been poetry. First the Poem Exchange arrived in my inbox, in fact it came twice, and as I relay in Poems for April, this set the whole idea off. I will be interested to hear from any readers if they’ve taken part in this over the last few weeks and have any poems they want to share. Actually before I came across this global exchange, there was another poetry connection, as Kenneth Gibson had sent an article for the issue on Remembering Edwin Morgan, the Scottish poet whose centenary it is next month. Then researching items online, I came across a piece ‘Bani Adam: the 13th century Persian poem that shows why humanity needs a global a global response to coronavirus’ by Arshin Adib-Moghaddam who calls for a collective response to the Covid-19 crisis stirred by a 13th century poet. The wisdom in the words of the Persian poet Saadi is inspiring, and highlights as humans our inescapable inter-connectedness, and which can be so clearly seen in our situation today.
Adib Moghaddam points to the way our connectivity, across time and space, is both the defining feature of this virus, in its current crisis proportions, but also in showing us how we might best respond to it. These are themes which are also raised in Sally Campbell’s piece A New Decade, A New Virus, A New Opportunity. She says we cannot risk denying our place in the earth’s ecosystem any longer and hopes that the tragedy of the current pandemic will ultimately be an opportunity to reset humans’ most damaging practices.
Alongside these big ideas to contemplate, in this issue we have information on an array of things to get involved with. Despite the lockdown, there is a lot going on!
We have suggestions from the Carbon Literacy Trust on 10 low carbon self isolation activities, there are amazing crafting ideas from a new island project, the Wee Maker, and we also have links to online resources for those readers with young children at home.
Eco Savvy are finding ways to keep us engaged with green activities, including a new online film club. So while the Corrie film club is on hold, log in to the weekly films and discussion that Eco Savvy are hosting.
And finally of course the Arran Medical group are looking for volunteers. If you are fit and healthy and have time, please see the piece on Arran’s newly set up community hub and the community services that are available during the Covid-19 outbreak and how to get involved.
One of the most hopeful messages that is coming through at this time, and one I find tangible relief in, is that the planet is being given a space to breathe. Air pollution is lifting, bird song is heard in cities, and the waters in Venice are blue again. My hope is that even though it is uncertain when things will ‘return to normal’, we will take the ancient words of Saadi and the courageous view of Adib-Moghaddam, to try and understand the current situation “with the empathy of a poet”, and that our global society will begin to “institute a new form of internationalism that acknowledges and celebrates our common humanity”, and our common humanity as part of our natural world. We would love to hear from you, so please get in touch and let us know how you are getting on and what you are getting up to… firstname.lastname@example.org.
Take care everyone.