Reiterating Hope: A Poem from the Pandemic

Ishnita Nayantara Keskar   |   March 31, 2023 

For the past couple of years, the beginning of March takes me back to the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic and the nationwide lockdown. While the pandemic was being spoken about in the news, I never imagined that it could have affected us with such great magnitude. The announcement of the nationwide lockdown threw everyone into panic and confusion.

We found ourselves unemployed, pregnant with our second child, and absolutely confounded by the situation. A haunting silence set in after the 24th of March in our locality. The only sound was the dread, trepidation, and anxiety in the air. We coped with the situation by consuming endless webinars, news, and articles, and by cooking and eating! The disorder in our lives certainly reflected a lack of trust in the Lord and a struggle to believe that He was good and still in control.

After a couple of months of lockdown, I was able to find refuge in the Lord through the fellowship groups our church initiated. It helped to share our experiences and find Godly encouragement. It was soothing to find a place of comfort in the chaos. Slowly, life became more constructive as God transformed the anxiety into a time of rest, relaxation and feasting. While we became accustomed to our new normal, I longed to meet friends and family. There was a yearning to live life the way we had- to meet friends, go shopping in crowded places, travel and visit others. Meeting in ‘bubbles’ came as a relief. It was bittersweet to meet our family friends. The joy of seeing each other face to face was reminiscent of the separation, the continued uncertainty, and the fear of the present.

Come 2021, life went back to an altered normal. My husband got a job and was stepping out for work every day and armed with sanitisers and double masks I was able to extend the ‘bubbles’. After 3 months, we were able to have selected visitors to see our newborn and finally it began to feel that we may just be able to resume an altered social life in the pandemic. Spring was in the air, weddings, travel, church- all this started blooming after the cold ice of the pandemic started melting away.

The joy was short-lived when April 2021 saw the worst of the Covid-19 cases. We were affected along with most other people we knew. I found myself home with two small children, a husband in the hospital, a dirty house, a sink full of unclean dishes and exhaustion to a level I cannot explain. I have experienced much sickness myself but never had I felt so helpless and alone. The dread of the pandemic, the fear, and the uncertainty was daunting. Each day the news carried the desperate cries of people and we lost so many dear and loved ones. At that moment we did not know if and how we would ever recover from this.

The realisation after that wave was that we may have to learn to live a life with this pandemic. What a dreadful thought it was after seeing the kind of devastation and loss of life. I couldn’t imagine living the rest of my life wearing a mask at all times and living in extended periods of confinement. It was disheartening to see the volume of suffering around us. We knew that we had it easier than many. There were so many whose suffering was far greater and far worse in our country.

In that time and desperation, I wrote this poem - Reiterating Hope. At the time I was writing it out, I did not really know if life would ever go back to 'normal'. 'Would we have to spend most of our lives confined to our homes?', was a real and heartbreaking question. It was hard to find hope and joy.

Today as I sit in a café, two years from then, without a mask, chatting with friends and being able to do things I did before March 2020 -  it fills me with renewed joy and hope in the Lord. God is sovereign. The words of Habakkuk also remind me that we live by faith and not by our circumstances and therefore even in difficult situations we can find joy, hope and peace in the Lord

Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign LORD is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights. (Habakkuk 3: 17-19)

Since the pandemic, we have heard of new viruses, and we also know that Covid-19 has not gone away. However, reading this poem reminds me that my hope in the Lord will not go in vain. Even in times of gloom and hopelessness we can write filled with joy in the Lord and hope for the future because even if it does not come to pass here, we have an eternity of possibilities waiting for us. I hope this poem blesses you as much as it blessed me.


Reiterating Hope

In green fields I will run

Wild and free

Maskless, breathing in the air

Hitting my reddened face

And the sweat running down my temples

For this day, I hope…


On crowded streets I will walk

Manoeuvring my way through

Escaping, bumping shoulders and feet

Stumbling now and then

And leaning on to a stranger without fear

For this day, I hope…


Weddings I shall celebrate

And feasts I shall eat

With friends and family

Falling over with laughter

Almost cracking up with tears

Celebrating our joys

For this day, I hope…


If grief there is,

I shall cry with the bereaved

Not speak a word, or text a message

Or mourn with a screen

I shall hold hands, embrace

And let my silent presence speak for me

For this day, I hope…


When I can hold a strangers baby

Or ride unafraid on a bus

When my doctors are not stressed

And the nurse has a day off

When I can eat with unwashed hands

And smile at the passers walking by

For this day, I hope…


When grief does not grip my heart

But all tears have been wiped away

When lost time has been restored

And there is no fear or stress

Of sickness and disease or death

When life can be lived in its fullness

In the endlessness of eternity

For this day, I long…



Photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash

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Ishnita Nayantara Keskar

Ishnita Nayantara Keskar is a mother of two and currently lives with her husband and children in Bhopal. She is pursuing her PhD in the Psychology of Education from Jawaharlal University, Delhi. She loves writing, travelling, driving and watching movies.

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