This poem is based on actual experience in late May 2020 of a senior (the author) at and via an eating place in the Town of Burke, as viewed through the universal lens of who one truly is, a human person created by God, with a soul joined to a body. This perspective differs from the norm of an unthinking compliance or noncompliance of an individual Vermont resident dealing with restrictions on civil liberties and constitutional rights during a state of emergency declared in executive orders by the Governor to combat the spread of a deadly virus, save lives, and keep people healthy. That is, one still has a duty to love and serve God and thus in that way, too, one's neighbor as a brother or sister. The basis for service to others that leads to lasting benefits to them such as life is to be the one that God had created one to be, not to be somebody else that one has invented on one's own to benefit oneself over one’s neighbor. That is what Vermont is truly about, people not carrying fake identity cards nor wearing masks (like bank or store robbers or online scammers or child abusers) to hide their true identities and intents, but documenting and showing who they really are in relationships they have with others, thus being vulnerable to them in order to balance wisely the demands of the State with those of Religion. So the poem has multiple tiers of meaning, such as through the many meanings of the word "mask" chosen out of the several words of mask, hand washing, social distancing, essential services, stay-at-home, self-quarantine, and so on comprising the set of rubrics imposed by the State as a nearly absolute mandate but with a tiny amount of ‘wiggle room’ for the individual citizen as protected by the Governor’s general principle of voluntary compliance without police enforcement and by an apparent avoidance of too close a definition of what each of those words mean (thus allowing for a small amount of self interpretation). Accordingly, while one’s life in the spirit has to be collapsed into that tiny space while discerning what to give to Caesar, what to give to God in this time of crisis when we all have to pull together yet cannot gather in large numbers, one can still, by the grace of God, keep one’s own body and soul together and thus stay healthy mentally as well as physically.
Harold M. Frost, III
Harold M. Frost, III
See uploaded poem, with title of "Shekinah"
Harold M. Frost, III, “Shekinah,” COVID-19 Archive, accessed January 26, 2023, https://covid-19.digitalvermont.org/items/show/312.