If in some smothering dreams, you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin… Wilfred owen
I can never expect anyone to fully understand this. We each have our inner us, our private sense of ourselves that we keep pretty much to ourselves. Today we begin what is essentially a 2 week lockdown in Ireland. We have been partially locked down for the best part of March anyway, this is just the final push to save ourselves from being overwhelmed by the virus with a name that will form part of our history. My ghosts are quiet and I will try to keep them that way.
Sometimes I feel like the ghosts in my head. I am outside of myself looking in, or inside of myself looking out, not quite in touch with the man I am and either way, I lose that connection and the ghosts make sense to me.
Outside my door, my beautiful little country has ben invaded and the walls have been breached. It turns out we are all soldiers now, only not everyone is made to fight. This land of my birth, the place I call home was born of struggle and blood, and we do not forget such trauma.
That the police or army should have to prevent people from going about our daily business is anathema to us. This state has always depended on policing that is part of the community. They are of us and for us. Our soldiers are peacekeepers, not war dogs. They are people we are proud of and we will find it hard to accept their new, potentially authoritarian role.
Our Taoiseach, that’s prime minister to those who are unfamiliar with the title, has reminded us of this fact. He has asked each and every one of us to stand tall and do battle for each other. I am so proud of how our government have handled this.
Like teenagers being given responsibility at last, we can mess up. We have already and we will yet. But like good parents our government have given us the chance to prove that we are adults rather than force us to go to our rooms like children who have misbehaved. None of us want to lose someone we love, so we must be part of this coming battle. Too many people have already had to say goodbye.
Yesterday, we were still holding the line, tomorrow we may have to fall back. We know what’s coming and we are unprepared for the heat of battle. No one knows how they will respond under fire. You have to go through it and so we wait to find out if we are truly adults, or if we are still children, needing our parents to do the dirty work. Allowing our parents to decide who should live and who should die. This is our time. Our destiny is not yet written. What we do next changes everything.
Today is the beginning of something. I can feel it and my dark shadow man finally came to call, as if to remind me that he hasn’t gone away. Many of you will know him if you are a frequent visitor to my blog. Mr. Squiggles has been biding his time and he has stirred the ghosts in my mind.
But I have been battle-hardened. I have seen the face of death and it holds no fear for me. Even so, today is really the beginning of something and this feels different. We must hold our nerve, stand fast and we must not step back in this battle. In the days to come, there will be much to worry about, but the way to deal with this is to look at what you can do. I know what I must do. It sounds so simple but it is seemingly very hard for many people. Stay inside. Be a soldier, defeat the enemy by starving it of victims. We must cut the enemy’s supply line, starve it out. There is only through it with no way around. Together we will quieten our ghosts and together we will win…
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