Connected in times of lockdown: Vogels, vissen
At Sheffield we may be dispersed but that does not mean that we are disconnected. On the contrary. Over the past week, staff and students in Dutch studies – each from their own place of isolation – put together a shared reading of Vogels, vissen (Birds, Fish) by the Dutch poet Ingmar Heytze. Within 48 hours, it received more than 2000 views.
In the poem Heytze expresses frustration and fear, but also hope and beauty. One of our participating students caught the mood of poem when they said: "I am so happy that I've had the chance to take part in this project. It is a really hard period for all of us, but I still believe we can be better together."
Tom is in Cambridge. John is in Leeds. Elinor in Wales and Alice in Belgium. Marta and Zhanxin stayed in Sheffield. Gemma went back to London. Giorgia is in Italy. These are strange times for both students and staff. With a temporary suspension of face-to-face teaching we gather in digital classrooms. We’re raising our hand by clicking a button. We’re sipping the coffee that no one else can smell. But we managed to give people 'goosebumps' with our rendition of 'Vogels, vissen'.
Zet de radio uit. Je hoort niets nieuws. De stilte wacht geduldig af.
Ik ben net zo bang als jij, net zo bezorgd voor iedereen
Maar: in Wuhan hoor je vogels zingen.
De kunst van leven was altijd dezelfde: ongevraagd komen,
Sluit de voordeur. Zet de tuindeur open, voel de zon op je gezicht.
Turn the radio off. You’ve heard it all before. Silence is patient.
I am as scared as you, as worried about everyone
But: in Wuhan you can hear the birds sing.
The art of living has always remained the same: entering uninvited,
Close the front door. Step into the garden, feel the sunlight on your face.
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