Whitney: In the end we will shine, not shelter. Our city will stand tall.

The following poem is meant as a break from the drone of bad news since the global pandemic altered our lives:

Don’t want to hear about the data. Don’t want to write about death.

Grasping for hope amid the madness as the enemy catches its breath.

How long has it been since we experienced normal? Seems like six months or more.

You never appreciate normal until normal walks out the door.

What would we give for full classrooms, or dine-in instead of to-go?

Sunday picnics, soccer practice, a sloppy late night at the Crow.

Shackled inside our houses, we search for someone to blame.

Superiors fumble for answers and play a political game.

But with anger comes understanding, a sense of collective loss.

We see the suffering around us. We comprehend the cost.

It’s a war fought from living rooms – there’s nothing to invade.

Our weapons are patience and sacrifice, an arsenal destined to fade.

Lives are altered, businesses falter – the historic toll is shown.

But enemies can be vanquished once their tendencies are known.

We continue to keep our distance, we test to find our way.

As spring takes flight and summer awaits, there dawns a brighter day.

Through wars and unrest, and stock markets stressed, the human spirit survives.

We know what the prize is, ingenuity rises – we’ll reach out and reclaim our lives.

I caught a glimpse, not long ago, of the hope that’s here to stay.

The warm air expressed, with familiar finesse, a plea to come out and play.

Clustered families with dogs on leashes, the beat of a bouncing ball.

I closed my eyes for just a moment: My city is standing tall!

Sunlit playgrounds swell with laughter, a comforting refrain.

There is soaring appreciation for treasures lost and then regained.

Heading downtown for summer splendor, crowds of people alight.

A stroll through Zandbroz, a drink at Crawford’s, music fills the night.

But reveries don’t last forever; reality rears its head.

Hours spent indoors, apart, increase the sense of dread.

Tough times follow, it can’t be denied, our challenges abound.

A community that clings together can get up off the ground.

We are meant to shine, not shelter; our instinct tells us so.

The enemy is out there but we lean on what we know.

Science, facts and data – with greater knowledge comes power.

But the distance doesn’t define us. We’ll find our finest hour.

Argus Leader Media columnist Stu Whitney can be reached at swhitney@argusleader.com. Follow him on Twitter @stuwhitney

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