A Second Letter to the World (in the time of pandemic, courage and hope)


At this dramatic moment in time, when many people are losing their lives; the most vulnerable are suffering great hardships and the whole of humanity is forced to make painful sacrifices; a group of international poets (who are also human rights activists) are sending a second letter-poem to the governments and international institutions of the world. The letter is a plea to remember all the victims and martyrs who have succumbed to the virus, but it is also a request to safeguard human rights and freedoms, prior to a better future.

A Second Letter to the World

Let’s raise a funeral hymn and a song to life
from within walls that have no exit,
from behind borders of fear.

Ah, we never expected
we’d abandon the day
to what the night had in store,
to live divided by a network of lines
we cannot see the beginning
or the end of.

Withdrawing into our anguish
vast as a cold, distant desert;
no, we never expected this.

Let’s raise a funeral hymn and a song to life
for those who died alone,
without solace, between rubber-clad hands
and the masks of fearless nurses,
of doctors tenacious as warriors.

Let’s raise it to white skies
along with the survivors
slowly returning home,
as we swear never to forget
those who protected life with their own.

Let’s raise it for Ecuador
unable to bury its dead,
for Iran, whose mass graves
are visible from the air,
for Africa that trembles, already beaten
by fatal winds of germs, thirst and hunger;
for those who cultivate the seeds of hope
and for those who have lost theirs.

Let’s sing, let’s dream like Stone Age man
of the day without bodies on the pyre,
and that solitude is the cure
to flush out the enemy that breathes,
exploiting the tired body
of a sequoia, or of a young sapling.

Yes, let’s sing from our windows, from our hearts,
let’s dream like the righteous, that the powerful
will put themselves at the service of the weak
to preserve other people’s lives
but also the freedoms we have acquired
with age-old courage and suffering.

Let’s raise a song from quarantine,
besieged by a secret enemy,
as we remember those who were alive, and died,
because in the fields of the world
flowers and viruses are growing
as we taste the sublime flavour
of the moment.

Let’s raise a funeral hymn and a song to life
and continue, as long as we have a voice,
because we know we will be free once more.

We will have the freedom and strength
of those who remain standing,
when there are no more bodies on the pyre
and we still have the gift of memory;
we will find the right words to pray
that everything will be renewed,
in a better time.

Roberto Malini, Isoke Aikpitanyi, Alatishe Kolawole, Antonella Rizzo, Dario Picciau, Glenys Robinson, Steed Gamero, Skylar, Daniela Malini (The Poets of the Letter)
EveryOne Group
International organisation for Human Rights
via Sara Levi Nathan, 34
61121 Pesaro (PU)

A Letter to the World