Operation Oysterhood: 15 January

OYSTERHOOD is reclusiveness or solitude, or an overwhelming desire to stay at home.

— @HaggardHawks

I just said to my love at dinner that loadshedding is like the rotten cherry on top of everything. But I made a plan and I had hot coffee when I woke up just after the power failure began at six in the morning. Another one coming up at ten tonight. I need to search for candles …

And ‘everything’ is this:

You can follow Finuala Dowling on IG: @finuala_dowling

Finuala is one of South Africa’s finest writers and this poem … I am reading it again and again and I want to whisper to everyone, Please, please keep safe – as safe as you possibly can. Please.

I had been longing to walk along the sea for a few days now, and when the rain fell this morning I knew my time had come – the Promenade would be empty, safe. And so it was. Safe from Covid-19, as there were hardly any people. But a woman walking alone does not feel safe, ever, and I forgot to think about that when I ventured out into the misty day.

I needed to air my brain. I read two manuscripts this morning, one in full, one only the first two chapters. I had to say no to the first and I could not resist asking for the rest of the second. I don’t think that I can publish more than I am committed to already this year, but I can dream beyond this time of loss, uncertainty and despair.

The news from the ICU today was the most hopeful it had been since the beginning of this year. She is healing, surfacing.

In the afternoon, there was editing and admin. A simple dinner with my love in the evening. We spoke about the rotten cherry and the poisonous pandemic cake it sits on.

I read this article last night and it broke my heart: Bruce Jack on the devastating human and industry cost of Covid-19. This is also the guy who loves poetry and is sponsoring The National Poetry Prize, organised jointly with New Contrast.

Why think about poetry at a time like this? you might ask.

Read Finuala’s poem again.

Be kind. Wear a mask. Support local.

“Physical distancing remains one of the key strategies to curb this pandemic.”


1 thought on “Operation Oysterhood: 15 January

  1. Finuala Dowling

    Dear Karina
    Thank you for sharing my poem, and for the thermos and the walk in the rain: these glimpses into your gentle life.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s