July 7, 2020
As we emerge from UK coronavirus lockdown, this poem reflects on the way we lived our lives before and during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic. It was reported that many people turned to prayer. Jesus Christ offers hope and new life to those who seek him. Full words of the poem “The Birds Were Always Singing” are below.
We built our mini empires and we idolised our homes;
We took so much for granted; our health and wealth, freedom to roam.
Consuming at a rate of knots, insatiable appetite.
Coveting the Insta-gods of influence and might.
Perpetually busy, in the rat race and the throng;
and the birds were always singing, but we never heard their song.
We’d moan so much at things that interrupted our routines;
prioritising self whilst we pursued our goals and dreams.
Believed the lie that we had time, for those we loved, tomorrow;
we never thought time might run out, that there’d be grief and sorrow.
The lives we lived would last for years, but we couldn’t be more wrong.
And the birds were always singing, but we never heard their song.
Rumours came from far-off lands, an outbreak of disease;
But confident in our own strength we continued as we pleased.
It wasn’t on our doorstep so it mattered not to us
and even if it did, we’re not the type to make a fuss.
We had romantic notions that this island race was strong;
and the birds were always singing, but our lives drowned out their song.
The virus came and life stood still and all that went before,
ceased to be; security was not ours anymore.
Places closed and we stayed home, a hush replaced the noise.
Families adapted to homeschooling girls and boys.
And some panicked and they stockpiled goods, as if that would make them strong.
And the birds they were still singing and we began to hear their song.
People started to get sick, most recovered and survived;
but others, despite best efforts, fell ill succumbed and died.
And we weren’t allowed to comfort, or to say our last goodbyes;
and when we wept, we wept alone, with no one to hear our cries.
And when we mourned apart, as loved ones went into the ground;
birdsong filled the silence and our hearts ached at the sound.
Many railed at cruel fate, or shook their fists at God.
Yet others recognised the truth that deep down’s understood.
That empires rise and empires fall and we aren’t in control;
that tomorrow isn’t promised and we can’t save our own souls.
Many for the first time prayed, aware that they’d been wrong.
And the birds they kept on singing and hearts lightened at their song.
If Covid’s taught us anything, it’s that we are so small.
But there is One who is big enough to save us from it all.
One who knows the pain of loss, to suffer and to die;
who guarantees eternal life not vague pie in the sky.
Jesus conquered sin and death for us, upon the cross;
in Him we have eternal hope, even in the face of loss.
That hope is there within our reach, but not by our own works;
we cannot put an end to death, despite human research.
Covid’s taught us time is short and the stuff we have can’t save.
Only Christ can free us from the fear of death and of the grave.
In Him we’re sure of Heaven, within a vast and diverse throng;
and the birds will sing forever, their joyous worship song.
Words written by Rose Marmion
Read by Mim Clow
Edited by Nathan Addington