Tuesday, 7 April 2020

Clean hands

Around here, Covid-19 remains at a distance despite cautions growing into the shape of a crisis.  A devil’s advocate piece below didn’t make the film and narration practice linked through above, which in the end included a shot of McG washing his hands rather than my fiddling about with autofocus over the taps at home. Here we wait, follow the daily count, weigh the human cost as best we can. Predictions are only a working out of the problem.

Pilate Washing His Hands, Matthias Stom

Clean hands

The old man believes in legalese: Clean hands,
he says, shows seamless palms to illustrate
a point, in part he means to keep good conscience.
As if he thought, like Pontius Pilate,
washing hands gained distance from his office.
I’d say, sophistry lacks heart.

The stain runs deep below the skin
and will not fade,

                        duty is owed community,
neighbours, parents, it will not do to say:
I do not know, I did not act. 
In truth, I did not want to know. In fact, 
I dare not think about – what would you say? –
the family at large.

In short, he might say: Let them rot.
Humanity. That seething mass,
in all its dirty ways.

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