Sunday 6 December 2020

Odveig Klyve: 'Pandemisk'


PANDEMIC     Odveig Klyve



I would just like to give you a hug, 


not because research says

a hug can soothe the fear of death and 

cause the brain to produce a hormone 

for happiness,

not because a hug eases pain, 

makes you feel secure, calms the nerves, 

strengthens the heart, 


although it is most likely true.


I would like to give you a hug

just because 

I know you,

because you are the one you are,

to share

that we are here together,


even though we are alone.



it is not so long ago,

medical experts said that a hug 

increases the number of antibodies in the body

and reduces the risk of 



But that was before,




Now we rehearse distance,

rehearse forgetting 

the hugs we cannot give,

the hugs outside

the household, outside

the infection control. 


We breathe the world

through flickering screens,

or face masks.

We sail around in our bodies

as if they were planets

in outer space.


Can we find each other

in pandemic distance,

or closeness


Can we learn to meet

and to leave

as they do in Japan

when they stop

and slowly bow

to each other

at a distance of two metres,

and the bodies speak

their own language:

I see you.

You see me.

We are here together.


I try to imitate

these beautiful movements,

but it is a dance

practised for

hundreds of years.

I need to rehearse.


Finding the right


is most important

in life and

in art,

an Estonian poet writes.


I bow

towards you,

clumsily perhaps.

I just want to say 

that I see you,

that we are here together.


While we are waiting

to give each other

a hug.


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