Poem for a Pandemic: Blessed

Photo by Patrick T. Reardon.




Blessed are the dead and the dying.

Blessed, the mourn-filled good-byes

to loves behind glass, behind walls.


Blessed, neighborhoods of pain,

grief communities, lightning-struck homes,

annunciations of the Angel of Death.


Blessed are the respiratory technicians,

nurses, doctors, lab pathologists.

Blessed, the women and men who clean hospital floors.


Blessed are the unhealthy, the aimless,

lost souls, lone hearts, stunted, scarred,

the poor, rich in afflictions.

Photo by Patrick T. Reardon.


Blessed, those ascending stairs, entering vestibules,

with groceries, with medicines, long days, dangerous.

Blessed, those who repair.


Blessed are those who protect, those who care,

those who drive buses, masked and vulnerable,

those out of work.


Blessed are those who stay home to save lives,

who can stay home, selfless in their selfishness,

wanting to live, not wanting others to die.


Blessed, the children who adapt.

Blessed, the babies, innocent, unfearful

of the invisible invader.


Blessed, the makers of hard decisions.

Blessed, the disease detectives.

Blessed, the inspirers, the hope-sters, the up-lifters.


Blessed are those who whirlwind bloom,

who are brave before mysteries,

who embrace the morning.


Blessed are the dead and the dying,

the courageous and the hand-holders.

Blessed, us, one and all.



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Patrick T. Reardon

Patrick T. Reardon is a Chicago historian, essayist, poet and writer who was a Chicago Tribune reporter for 32 years. He is the author of nine books including the forthcoming The Loop: The ‘L’ Tracks That Shaped and Saved Chicago (SIU Press).