Play – A Poem by Eleanor Goldfield

What a strange time to write poetry –

what a strange time to play music –

what a strange time to build barricades and light molotov dreams

what a strange time to rattle thrones –

to breathe tear gas and sage –

to smell change

to pray with raised fists

to meditate in bellowed screams


what a strange time to smile – to laugh

to wear masks that reveal who we are –

to dance, when the world is watching

to forge silver linings – in hurricanes

to write our stories in graffiti –

on monuments to a whitewashed history


a strange time –

the siren song of normal –

a normal – so strange –

do you remember?

That mirage

a facade of democracy, a well-dressed hypocrisy

now naked – obvious. True.

Illusions die hard

– and always haunt the living


Everything wasn’t alright – isn’t alright – may not be alright –

I’m not alright – and if you’re not alright –

that’s alright.


Through a trembling hand, I can write poetry

with aching arms, we can build

through tired eyes, we can see

with weak knees, we can fight

in the din of toppling empires, we can rest.

In these cramped corners, we can make worlds.


We are historic – we are futuristic –

we are place holders for infinity –


we won’t be here again

but we are here now

in these strange days

in these strange ways


You can stop us like you can stop the sunrise –

Seeds will grow

Others will burn


that fire inside is your ancestral guide –

call on it now –

as we swoop into trenches –

navigate underworlds –

catch glimpses of sky and carve hope in our minds –

feel summer soaked concrete – our feet – pound streets

sew our dreams with silver threads –

weave wonder in a weary world –

and these songs of freedom –

drown out our fears –

carrying a tune – from the fields to the mines –

from Haymarket to Zuccotti park it’s this chorus –

of improvised beats, no solos but symphonies rising –

more and more – a crescendo electric – tripping that light fantastic –

bombastic, no this ain’t no requiem mass, it’s –

a love song –

to militant joy –

to radical resolve

to the solidarity of the shaken.

To the emergent, divergent –

and like root systems find our way home –

to the fight, to the build.

Heartbeats pulse – the rhythm –

of our place

our time.

No pause, no rewind.



This piece was written by Eleanor Goldfield and was originally performed during the People’s Convention on Sunday August 30th, 2020.