April is National Poetry Month and on this last day to mark the occasion, the final stanza of Alfred Lord Tennyson’s poem “Ulysses” comes to mind. The last stanza talks about resolve to get through difficult times and experiences. At the least, that’s what makes it a favorite to read and review:
“Tho’ much is taken, much abides; and tho’
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.”
The last stanza is fitting for a month marked by the need, and state requirement, to hunker down, continuing Gov. Charlie Baker’s closure of non-essential businesses. It is fitting for the employers and employees who since March 24 have been affected by the closures to help stem the spread of the coronavirus or COVID-19. Schools — public, private, parochial and post-secondary — have had to adjust to remote learning since March 16. The need to be adaptive and open minded in the business, healthcare or educational setting has never been more important.
And, the last stanza reminds all to remain diligent, especially as Baker on April 28 extended the non-essential business closure and stay-at-home advisory until May 18. The governor’s administration will review and consider a phased-in reopening of commerce on that date. That doesn’t mean shops of all kinds will reopen for business on May 18.
As Baker noted April 28, “businesses and organizations not on the list of essential services are encouraged to continue operations through remote means that do not require workers, customers, or the public to enter or appear at the brick-and-mortar premises closed by the order. This order also extends the existing ban on gatherings of more than 10 people until May 18.”
The ongoing need and healthcare recommendation to wear a mask or face covering over the ears and mouth remains important. As does speaking with the face covering on if you meet another person. As necessary, stand, talk, walk or run at least 6 feet between you and the person to any side of you.
Before the last stanza, “Ulysses” speaks about it not being “too late to seek a newer world.” We will need a newer world in which to recraft how we work, shop, study, play and live. Advising Baker on that front will be Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito and Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy, who will co-chair a Reopening Advisory Board. Scientific data and metrics will guide these decisions, Baker noted.
That’s the way it should be.
Going forward, a need to work on the racial and economic disparities raised through this pandemic need to be acted on. We trust that these topics will be addressed by state and national leaders.
– Lisa D. Connell