To what do you assign value?

by Lillian Ireland

Unparalleled reckoning… unparalleled possibilities…

Have you ever sat at your window, waiting for dawn’s first light,
the night had seemed so long and bleak,
you yearned for things to get right?

Life’s GPS was missing; it was hard to plan your day,
you felt so uprooted, your plans had all shifted,
the darkness would not go away.

Then, out at the edge of your vision, you could see a glimmer of hope.
Yes, life was now different, things had all changed
with no going back to before.

Being tossed like a ball in the throes of fresh grief, you’d been caught in it’s grip, ensnared;
yet, this dawning of hope would help keep you afloat as you grappled with newness out there.

You were nervous about moving forward,
still, the past held its own ups and downs.
Where does one land when it’s all shifting sand?
Perhaps, an answer would come.

The virus demanded a reckoning; it was blatant, in front of our eyes,
awareness exposed many sad inequalities; of pain, desperation and strife.

Yet, alongside were dreams and a vision of a more hopeful, healthier tomorrow,
to ease the suffering in the world, and bring light from out of the sorrow.

Grateful you had made it thus far,
this new life would also unfold…
like the robins returning from warmer climes,
you too would need to be bold.

Many robins travel thousands of miles
on their yearly migrating flight.
After feeding in Central America, their return is a heart-warming sight.

Who doesn’t smile when you see them,
knowing spring has finally returned?
Nature teaches life’s various seasons; there would again be new lessons to learn.

Your pace would be different; your thinking as well,
it would be hard to name every change.
Some things from before, now gone from the shore,
your life had become re-arranged.

Yet, you realized the strength of resilience,
you had adapted like never before.
There was grief, of course, and much gratitude,
an appreciation for life even more.

Now, perhaps you’d chat more with your neighbours and sing to the robins outside.
When you saw them intent on listening
you’d smile with the warmth of surprise.

Perhaps there’d be tears with the memories of those who had come before.
You’d treasure your loved ones deep in your heart and cherish them even more.

Connection now held new meaning,
you were astounded by the importance of touch,
you wanted to reach out, stretching your arms to embrace those you loved so much.

And, the earth somehow had given
a huge and noticeable sigh.
Our palpable global change of pace
rendered her a heart-warming cry.

Yes, the shift had become discernible,
with animals reclaiming their space
in the waters, in the air and out on land –
who would know if these changes would last?

The possibilities were endless, while a new normal was beginning to form.
Hope filled the air while we all held our breath.
A new era was about to be born.

Again, ‘enviro’ and ‘econo’ raised their voices.
Were you ‘us’ or ‘them’ or both?
Perhaps it was time to advance the wisdom of what the ancestors told.

Yes, there was grace enough to listen and perhaps even grow in your choice.
Planning for tomorrow was difficult work,
and required every voice.

Like the animals, we too are adapting,
and trying to find our way.
We’re awed by the robins’ arduous travels and wonder what stories they’d say.

And like the tenacity of the hummingbird and the strength of the stoic owl
we listen and learn, we reflect and we grow,
in steady patience we slowly move on.

Paralleled learnings are emerging
about the virus and worrisome weather.
Yes. Undenied, underscored and understood by all,
we are profoundly in this together.

It’s for the rooted, the finned and the feathered,
and all who find home on this Earth.
When we finally get to post-covid, may we value life for all it’s worth.
When we finally get beyond covid, may we treasure life for all that it’s worth.

Plant new seedlings, sing to the robins, honour and celebrate what you assign value to…



  1. How wonderful! I read this out loud to myself and smiled and felt so much better for it. So I read it aloud again. Maybe it isn’t raining too much to get out into the garden today after all.

  2. Beautifully said, putting words to our recent Covid experiences ! I loved your use of birds in expressing the natural ebb and flow of life, with all the ups and downs of this experience. Thank you !

  3. Thank you so much for this precious poem. It touched me deeply. It reflects so many issues we are dealing with in many different aspects of our lives. You raise me up to be able to touch the clouds. You are an amazing immeasurable Gift from God. Thank you.

  4. WOW! Very nice, Lillian! I love and share your optimism. Messed up and tragic as the covid ‘cloud’ is, it has many potential/real ‘silver linings’ but, like everything in life, we need to sieze those opportunities and work hard to achieve them; they won’t magically happen all by themselves. Virtual hugs…and “Hi!” to Rob and Jenn too. Take care!

  5. Thank you so much Lillian! It’s a wonderfully positive poem. We all loved it, especially my kids. Thank you and be blessed .

  6. A true masterpiece of hope amidst the trials of life that all of us face! The robins have just returned to our yard, feasting on the holly berries, after the silence of winter months. At this time of deep loss for us, your emphasis on the eternal nature of Life, with its ebbs and flows, reminds us to be aware of each moment and absorb its fullness.
    So grateful for your sharing, especially at this time of our lives, Lillian.

    1. Thank you for your kind words which I only saw tonight. The robins do give us such joy, as does the eternal nature of Life, as you so eloquently stated in your comment. May you find continued hope as you connect to the beauty which surrounds us all.

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