Not Going Back

Do Not Fear

Now you and I are on the run
Pursued by monsters real and imagined
Driven by fear, we stand at the edge
Of a wilderness, strange roars in the distance
Storms whirling around us.
And people are saying to each other
We can’t stay here, and we can’t go on.
We’re scared to death, and some are
Actually dying. We must get back to normal!

But a few youths, the most abused or the
Bravest ones, say they can’t go back.
They won’t go back.
‘People back there are locked in their houses,’
They remind us. ‘They’re out of work, depressed, scared.
Forests and oceans are dying.
Bombs are dropping. We refuse.
To do normal; we couldn’t if we tried.’

They set off into the jungle. Will you
Follow them? Or will you try to go back
To where workers are disposable,
Where health care is unaffordable, but bombs
Are free to those who drop them.
Is this the world you want?
Because COVID is our chance to change.

In the land of normal, all that matters is profit
and loss. Not health, beauty, truth, not
Art or justice. Black lives don’t matter, nor do
Anyone else’s. Only money matters,
And money is just a story. Why go back
to a story that is killing us?

Can we follow the brave ones; can we
Come together: races, sexes, nationalities,
Ages, orientations, religions? Can we
Let go of the stories our rulers tell
To terrify us, to keep us divided and in line?


Will you brave the wilderness
With me? Connect with Nature, love
The animals and plants, and each other.
Face down the guns of the lost-soul armies
Panicked inside their helmets. Face
Loss of income, home, freedom, safety and
Embrace the future beyond the wilderness?

We can’t go back to normal. Normal collapsed
For a reason. We need income basic to life,
Given to All. We need health care, housing, food.
We can afford all this, because scarcity is a lie
The rulers tell us to justify their own wealth.

So many questions, barriers, but we have brilliant,
Creative people to guide us. The important thing,
The only thing, is to commit to the journey. The way
Forward Is frightening, but the only way. We need
To be heroes, live with love and courage because we’re
Not going back to normal. There’s nothing there for us.
Be brave.

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4 Responses to Not Going Back

  1. Well said, David! What a shame it would be to go back to the “normal” you have so well described. All best, Marty

  2. Laurie says:

    Thanks! It is how I feel and many others, at least in some ways, I’m sure.
    I was just laid off as soon as it was convenient for my employer (two days ago.) It made $ sense for him; I can’t blame him for that – Covid being part of it. But it also confirmed that I was disposable.

  3. Mr. David Spero — A friend, Frances Aubrey, forwarded me the link to your poem. You speak truth with power and grace. Yes, we must make our revolution; there no normal to go back to. Even if we could, that normal was toxic and brought us to the straits we are in now. Thank you.
    bless —
    Rafael Jesús González
    Poet Laureate, City of Berkeley, CA
    P. O. Box 5638
    Berkeley, CA 94705

  4. Hi David,
    I agree with the Poet Laureate of Berkeley – your poem is timely and powerful.
    Do you remember me? I am living in Bellingham, WA, now – living in grace, creativity, ecstasy and love – in the time of Covid and Culture Wars. May we be the shoulders that the ones who bring wholeness and balance to the planet stand upon. We don’t know how long it will take, but the Great Turning is upon us. xo Francie

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