Once Upon A Virus – A Work Of Art Inspired By A Poet’s Survival Of The Pandemic That Rocked The World

Reading poems as a child was such a bore sometimes. Though I read them quite often, I never enjoyed it. I was never a fan. It was as if they hid the written words in a painted veil waiting to be unmasked by the reader-a daunting chore I felt I wasn’t yet ready for. Even when growing up, this mindset made me feel mildly uninterested in poetry.

Then, I came across this debut anthology written by JB FAVOUR. The title was captivating, and the blurb was amazing. Though I had my doubts, I decided to read with an open mind. This book literally blew me away. It was worth every hype. It was such a page-turner that I binge-read it all. This author sure took me on a wild roller-coaster of emotions that I wouldn’t mind undertaking again in a heartbeat.

From anger to sadness, to self-discovery, psychological health, anxieties, guilt, fears, dealing with loss, self-hate, insecurities, trauma, finding love, abuse, this book says it all. JB FAVOUR birthed these collections of poems in a beautiful and sincere way, such that all her readers could easily relate to. I honestly saw bits and pieces of myself that I thought were locked up in air-sealed boxes in my head. This author sure is going places. Definitely one to watch out for!

The list of reasons why I’m in love with this book is endless. For one, it has 30 poems, all of which are my favorites. Each poem has a little heading, giving you hindsight, which leaves you thirsty for more. It also has a little journal where you can write personal thoughts and feelings.

Also, I deeply resonated with the words of the author “FROM DEEP CHAOS, BEAUTY CAN STILL RISE”. For more than two years, the world was placed in a series of unending chaos. The large scale of Covid came as both a shock and surprise to many. The surges in death rate across the globe struck a fearful chord in the hearts of many. Businesses were closed, countries locked-down, schools were shut, plans were put on hold, and even busy streets gradually became empty.

In the poem ‘THE X AND Y’, the author knew what it was like to be thrown into dense darkness, with no knowledge of the way forward. She paints a vivid picture of what it feels like to be suddenly trapped in an unknown cycle. To feel anxious because the future is a blur. She wrote:

‘I’m a time traveler without a map,

               Look ahead, tick the clock and skip a nap,

               Binocular lenses, how I wish I could see the future,

What if to the next if, a very risky venture,

The X, the y, the unknown,

               Running a mile but barely moving a foot,

               Nervous trains colliding in my maze of a mind’

The author ends it by implying that even if we feel as though we are reliving the same nightmare over and over again, our fears are valid. Every emotion we are flooded with in this pandemic should fuel our desire to fight, to survive. And if you find it difficult to swim in the waves of chaos, perhaps it is just enough to float as long as you don’t drown, because that itself shows fearlessness.

The poems ‘DEAR MIRROR’ and ‘DEAR ME’ hit me harder as it captured the constant feeling of wanting to be better, to fill a void, but having a distorted view about it. Wishing to correct every spot, flaw and defect so desperately and the despair and rage felt when we can’t.

The author further provokes a thought of what may happen if we are willing to break the illusion we create for ourselves. She explains that rather than losing oneself, you must first make peace knowing that you alone are enough, flaws and all and that true peace means accepting yourself, raw, undiluted and imperfect.  She wrote:

‘In this journey of self-love,

I had to first make peace,

Peace with the mirror before myself,

To laugh at the flaws and ignore remarks,

And see perfection in my flaws,

If you must know,

I’ve found a friend in the mirror,

When I look at her now,

I don’t hate me anymore,

She shows me a masterpiece,

A walking piece of art,

And reminds me,

How far I have come,

With all my flaws intact,

In this journey of self-love,

I found peace in loving me,

Unconditionally, flaws and all,

You should too.’

The last poem “DEAR SOLDIER” encapsulates the fact that we all fight different battles and undergo so many traumas. Rather than hide these parts of ourselves or drown those voices in our head, perhaps it is time to lay down our guns and stop fighting. Perhaps it is time to embrace those scars and wear them like a badge of honor. Because we are all survivors.

The book finally ends with a letter of love from the author. She genuinely expresses how she felt during her writing journey and leaves little bits of advice I especially appreciate. She says: “Keep living and find happiness in little things around you while waiting for the storm to pass. Also, don’t forget to spread kindness along the way too”.

Undoubtedly, every poem in this masterpiece hits a nerve. Be ready with your box of tissues or wipes as this book lays bare all of its emotions for you to see and feel. This book is a gift to me and all. It is also closure for anyone who is still fighting battles or struggling to live with the aftereffects of whatever experiences they might have.

It’s a must read!!!! Kudos to JB FAVOUR.

Written by Divine Joshua

 

 

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