What is life if you can’t go to work?
“Better than death,” I hear some smirk.
“I stand with Dan,1 stay at home, stay inside.”
But what if your room is only 2 metres wide?
An hour to exercise outdoors you may2
And go to the park where the kids cannot play.3,4
“That’s stage four. It’s for your good, get a grip.”
The police are outside5 cracking C.H.O.’s whip.6
So where are we now, united as one?7
The rich catch their yachts to have fun in the sun.8
The borders are closed,9 and so are the schools10
So parents at home are relaxing the rules.
“In front of the television; just sit there!”
“Fail grade 1? … the devil may care.”
So what is life, if you’re not really working?
Be careful what’s said, Big Brother is lurking!
So what is death in these pandemic times?
Consider what’s written in the following lines:
Is it confinement to room with no air on your face?
With no friend to hug, and not leaving your place?
Is it crushing debt, and losing your job?11
With head in hands, ready to sob?
Is it purpose lacking, and absence of meaning?
Is there more to life than simply breathing?
The scientists say, “Just look at the numbers!”12
But look at the calendar, look at the slumbers.13,14
The time spent in lockdown, the time isolate’
Are times that one could spend with a mate
Or friend, or fam’ly, or community.
How long must we wait for immunity?
So what is death if you can’t go to work?
“Better than ‘life’,” I hear some smirk.
- 1. Graham T, Bruns A, Angus D, et al. #IStandWithDan, #DictatorDan, #DanLiedPeopleDied: 397 000 tweets reveal the culprits behind a dangerously polarised debate. The Conversation 2020; 22 Dec. http://theconversation.com/istandwithdan‐dictatordan‐danliedpeopledied‐397‐000‐tweets‐reveal‐the‐culprits‐behind‐a‐dangerously‐polarised‐debate‐151100 (viewed 7 Sept 2021).
- 2. Murray‐Atfield Y, Dunstan J. Melbourne placed under stage 4 coronavirus lockdown, stage 3 for rest of Victoria as state of disaster declared. ABC News 2020; 3 Aug. https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020‐08‐02/victoria‐coronavirus‐restrictions‐imposed‐death‐toll‐cases‐rise/12515914 (viewed 7 Sept 2021).
- 3. Whigham N. Stage Four lockdown: what you can and can’t do in Victoria. Yahoo! News 2020; 3 Aug. https://au.news.yahoo.com/coronavirus‐stage‐four‐restrictions‐victoria‐what‐you‐cant‐do‐012531161.html (viewed 7 Sept 2021).
- 4. Beers LM. Melbourne playgrounds open under slightly eased Stage 4 Victorian COVID restrictions. 7NEWS 2020; 14 Sept. https://7news.com.au/lifestyle/health‐wellbeing/melbourne‐playgrounds‐open‐under‐slightly‐eased‐stage‐4‐victorian‐covid‐restrictions‐c‐1312989 (viewed Sept 7 2021).
- 5. Human Rights Watch. Australia: harsh police response during COVID‐19 [news release]. Human Rights Watch 2020; 4 Sept. https://www.hrw.org/news/2020/09/24/australia‐harsh‐police‐response‐during‐covid‐19 (viewed 7 Sept 2021).
- 6. Windholz EL. Governing in a pandemic: from parliamentary sovereignty to autocratic technocracy. Theory Pract Legis 2020; 8: 93–113.
- 7. Oliveri N. Border closures to take centre stage at National Cabinet as PM calls for unity. 9 News 2020; 21 Aug. https://www.9news.com.au/national/coronavirus‐border‐closures‐on‐national‐cabinet‐agenda‐as‐prime‐minister‐calls‐for‐unity/154fa941‐6764‐442d‐9196‐ab11c35d4eed (viewed 7 Sept 2021).
- 8. Houston C, Nolan D. Melbourne magnate sails away from face masks and lockdown. The Age 2020; 24 Aug. https://www.theage.com.au/national/victoria/melbourne‐magnate‐sails‐away‐from‐face‐masks‐and‐lockdown‐20200824‐p55otv.html (viewed 7 Sept 2021).
- 9. Nguyen K, Raper A. NSW border exemptions for Victorians are now tighter, this is what has changed. ABC News 2020; 7 Aug. https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020‐08‐07/nsw‐victoria‐coronavirus‐border‐quarantine‐rules‐tighten/12531162 (viewed 7 Sept 2021).
- 10. Carey A. State’s schools, childcare centres to close for most children. The Age 2020; 2 Aug. https://www.theage.com.au/politics/victoria/state‐s‐schools‐childcare‐centres‐to‐close‐for‐most‐children‐20200802‐p55ht4.html (viewed 7 Sept 2021).
- 11. Pharaoh N. Australia is spending up to $25 million for each COVID life saved. News.com.au 2021; 7 Sept. https://www.news.com.au/world/coronavirus/australia/australia‐is‐spending‐up‐to‐25‐million‐for‐each‐covid‐life‐saved/news‐story/ff9e95686349940bcf076f69b5a4067a (viewed 7 Sept 2021).
- 12. Handley E, Clayton R. By the numbers: Where does Melbourne need to be for restrictions to be eased? ABC News 2020; 11 Aug. https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020‐08‐11/victoria‐coronavirus‐cases‐weeks‐away‐from‐reduced‐restrictions/12542272 (viewed 7 Sept 2021).
- 13. COVID in Australia: Melbourne to exit 112‐day lockdown. BBC News 2020; 26 Oct. https://www.bbc.com/news/world‐australia‐54686812 (viewed 7 Sept 2021).
- 14. Dunstan J. Melbourne marks 200 days of COVID‐19 lockdowns since the pandemic began. ABC News 2021; 18 Aug. https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021‐08‐19/melbourne‐200‐days‐of‐covid‐lockdowns‐victoria/100386078 (viewed 8 Sept 2021).
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