I am sure that many of us would choose to reverse 2020 in an instant if we could. This year has not only seen a viral pandemic but, resultantly, a mental health pandemic. Isolation from loved ones and missing out on all that was once considered normal has taken a heavy toll on everyone’s wellbeing. However, when we reflect on the mental toils and challenges this year has brought, we have risen to the occasion. Such extreme circumstances have stretched us to tackle what we never thought was possible, and enduring this year has made us mentally stronger than we ever thought we could be.
This reverse poem represents the reversal of this attitude towards 2020: initially it is read as a year of pain and inner turmoil. Then, when you look back at this year (and thus read the poem backwards) it reveals the positive mental and emotional development across such a tumultuous time.
I ask that you read it, firstly, as normal, and then read it line by line from the bottom line to the top line to unveil another meaning.
I am alone.
And you will no longer hear me say that
I can recover
From the fiery, black pit
In which I am living.
Joy is an impossibility
I cannot deny that
My brain is a cage.
When its sorrowful inmates used to think
They could have escaped,
I would smile at them, as
They were like naïve children.
Let the plague infect me.
I refuse to
Let my fears fly away like kites.
Yet these tears will
Fall again –
And never will
I stand up,
If I fall again,
I deserve to beg and crawl along the ground.
You will never hear me say that
I am okay.
Image: by Alan Levine on Flickr