There once was a lass named Iris
Who stumbled into the virus
But she took the vaccine
and developed a sheen
It’s a story that seems never to tire us.

Limericks? Really? Why not?  Would you rather talk about golfers? COVID?

I woke up on Christmas morning  with that limerick floating in my head. There are a couple  of them, so bear with me. We need even this pale humor desperately. Don’t you agree?

The darkness is always around us, but so is the light. They are dueling sisters of the universe. Humor the darkness, embrace the light.

I know, it’s a bit Deepak Chopra-ish, but we like it, do we not?

There once was a lad we’ll call Clark
Who wallowed around in the dark
He lived with such fear
Til’ the light said, “Come here,”
and so was born a bright spark.

Despots and pandemics, scoundrels and sycophants come and go, and still, despite the charred and savaged earth they’ve left behind, we persevere.

We all, friend and foe, have survived four shambolic years that have left us standing on the trembling lip of the volcano. We see the next surge in the shadows, economic catastrophe and fear ahead, and so we share space with poor Clark.

But miraculously, a light has emerged, has it not? There it is, glowing for many, like that biblical star, floating down from Bethlehem’s sky into a glass vial.

Calm voiced scientists, such as Pfizer’s Ravi Shanker and Jennifer Lafontaine, have elbowed the naysayers aside and upped the wattage.

It appears, for now,  that their work has softened the ravaged, hard-edge streets of the planet, soothing the stricken, offering hope that even in the dark, there’s an ember waiting to ignite a fire. Which brings me to this.

I’ve often, probably tiresomely for many, quoted the words of the old slave hymn “The fire next time” that says, “God gave Noah the rainbow sign. No more water, the fire next time!”

It meant to the chained slaves at the time that there would be no more devastating flood, but that the final punishment would come as a devouring flaming holocaust.

I’m thinking now — and hoping you’ll find a way to agree with me — that perhaps there is a way to see it as something hopeful, that the promised fire could be the flame of discovery by the heroes behind Pfizer’s walls, that burns through ignorance and bias.

There once were faithful believers
who warred with wild-eyed deceivers
but justice prevailed
the dark trains derailed
and so ended such political fevers.

J.P. Devine is a Waterville writer.

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