When autumn leaves

25 May 2020 | Poem Yacoob Manjoo. Photo Pexels. Read time 2 min.
Yacoob Manjoo reflects on COVID-19 while tying his poem to the changing seasons.
Yacoob Manjoo reflects on COVID-19 while tying his poem to the changing seasons.

#UCTLockDownLetters is a new feature on the University of Cape Town (UCT) news site. Staff, students, parents of students: we want to hear about your experiences of work and life in lockdown. Emails, audio and video clips, prose and poetry are also very welcome. This is your space.

20 May 2020

This contribution comes from Yacoob Manjoo, communications coordinator at UCT’s Information and Communication Technology Services.

From green to red,
brown then dead,
leaves fall
as seasons change –
a reminder to man:
life never stays the same.

We crave
peace and prosperity,
disliking austerity;
comforted by stability,
forgetting such things are bound by fragility.

Around the corner,
lies adversity in wait;
lurking like an unwelcome shadow,
ready to pounce,
fulfilling our fate.

Such are the vicissitudes of life:
one day good,
the next less so,
but through it all,
we hold fast to our faith
and on we go.

In these days
of turmoil,
and restriction,
we take it day by day,
survival the only mission.

Doing our part,
by staying apart,
home-bound frustration
necessary to save the nation
from an invisible disease,
spreading like wildfire;
governments sweating
fearing collapse of economic empire.

Masks everywhere,
caution aplenty,
as malls, parks, and stadiums
sit deserted,
so empty.

job losses,
companies downsizing,
desperation palpable,
the anger is rising.

Days and nights turn colder,
as Winter approaches,
and still no end,
the virus
on our freedom encroaches.

We sit and we wait,
day by day,
hoping scientists will soon
send the priceless cure our way.

And while hope springs eternal,
and human efforts must be made,
know that this virus came with purpose;
it won’t depart until changes are saved.

So look within,
at what this episode can teach you,
for without such struggle,
the lessons may never reach you.

Correct yourself,
while days and nights are strange,
adjust habits, attitudes, and speech,
make deeply personal change.

when Autumn leaves,
and Winter arrives,
may we all reset,
and for a better world strive.

Share in our community. Document your thoughts and feelings during lockdown. Send your letter from home (max 1 200 words), audio, video (60 seconds maximum), prose poetry, slam poetry, prayers, benedictions, or songs to lockdownletters@uct.ac.za.

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Please view the republishing articles page for more information.

UCT Lockdown Letters: Share your stories

In order to foster a sense of community during the COVID-19 lockdown, a new initiative – #UCTLockdownLetters – invites staff and students from across UCT to share your stories about life and survival at home.

How has the lockdown affected you and your ability to work or study? What does your study-from-home space look like? What adaptations have you made to working from home? How are you coping as partners, parents, children, siblings and individuals? How do you cope with stress? What will you do differently after the lockdown?

This is your space to express yourself in any medium you choose: in words, prose, poetry, audio, video or pictures. Your contributions will be curated as part of a special platform designed for sharing – and to create a unique archive for future UCT communities.

Please send your submissions to LockdownLetters@uct.ac.za.

Please remember to avoid including copyrighted material in your submissions. UCT reserves the right to review and select submitted content for publication on this feature page. Videos (in .mp4 format) and audio files (in .mp3 format) can be shared with the Newsroom through downloadable link services like WeTransfer or Google Drive, among others. If you are unsure about how to film yourself, please watch the video tutorial.

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