A great video by the guys at Speak Life by Glen Scrivener (who has featured on this blog before here and here). The video is called ‘Numbers’ but my title is taken from a line later in the poem that should cause us to wonder what it could possibly be!!
Numbers. That’s what we get, each day we’re beset with numbers.
Numbers doing what numbers do, Numbing the me, numbing the you, Numbing our sense of the she and the he, Numbing the sense that THEY are me.
With numbers ‘They’ stay ‘THEY’, It’s what numbers have allowed.
Each life lost is lost in the crowd. The shroud of death enfolds the heap, Costs it cheap.
We try to weep but numbers can put us all to sleep.
Except for those who we have known, Our flesh and blood, our very own, Who, when exhaling final groans, heard our goodbyes on the phone.
And then were buried all alone. How can each loss be shown?
Each mum, each son, each dad, each wife, Each irreplaceable, iridescent life.
Each gift a vast amount. Each ONE too much to count. Beware the numbers, our dose each day, Until we’re numbered all away.
Until we’re deadened to the toll, Till each one’s lost into the whole. But no.
Awake my soul.
Make each figure strike, Like spurs in my flesh, to stir me afresh, To see galactic worth distilled in each daughter of earth, in each son brought to birth, And near infinite crime in snuffing them out.
Let me shout to the skies with full-throated cries, and, desperate—despise—when the least of them dies.
And when COVID is done, May the numbers not numb May we wake from our slumber And number each one.
Because some day soon you will hear that the peak is long past and we’ve got the All Clear.
The lockdown has lifted and friends can draw near. And we will cheer. But let’s be clear, The numbers are not what they appear.
Each year, in this land, understand we have FOUR Covids. In This Nation, 200 000 terminations. A four-fold pestilence devours these isles, the dead in piles, a hideous mount.
But do THEY count?
In heaven’s account but what will WE say? Each day, 550 slain. They are Abel. We are Cain. And righteous blood cries out in vain. It does not enter our calculation.
We deem it beneath our briefing the nation. We only make public explanation of THESE when disEASE is pursuing. But not when the deaths are All OUR doing.
And maybe you say, “It doesn’t compare.” I say: That’s fair. Cos with the virus we were afflicted, this black death is self-inflicted. Are you convicted?
I’ll depict another figure, this one’s bigger. As I bring this number, I hear you numbing, You are. You’re ahhing and umming, You’re drumming your fingers. Your mind is elsewhere. There you go with that thousand yard stare. Are you there?
By June, worldwide, half a million have died of COVID. As I’ve said, each ONE dead is plenty.
But if we’re counting in millions, abortion’s killed 20. And that’s just by June. It’s not stopping any time soon. Every four days it kills more than the virus.
Let this truth fire us: in 96 hours it devours just the same. But without the fame. This, friend, is our silent shame. So awake my soul.
Make each figure strike, Like spurs in my flesh, to stir me afresh, To see galactic worth distilled in each daughter of earth, in each son meant for birth.
And near infinite crime in snuffing them out.
Let me shout to the skies with full-throated cries, and—desperate—despise, when the least of them dies. And when COVID is done, May the numbers not numb May we wake from our slumber And number each one.
Glen Scrivener is an Australian author and speaker living in the UK.
Speak Life is a UK based charity that resources the church to reach the world.