I have been reading some pieces by famous people about to whom they turn when isolated or stuck. I turn to Bruce Cockburn.

In March 2011 he released Small Source of Comfort and, as usual, it seeped beauty in its poetry and musicianship. He is still the best guitarist in the world. On a great album there is one song that stands out to me and speaks into the unforeseen pandemic world we inhabit and explore now: ‘Each One Lost’.

The story goes like this. He was in Afghanistan in 2009 with a charity and, while waiting for a flight from Kandahar, witnessed the loading of military coffins into the planes that would take the bodies home. It was the dignity and the pity that got to him. And out of this experience came a song of simplicity and beauty – almost a lullaby for the young people now ‘asleep’.

Under the big lights
shadows stretching long
the ramp is lowered gently to the tarmac
and all of us, we wait
in this sea of gravity
for the precious cargo to appear

Here come the dead boys
moving slowly past
the pipes and prayers and strained commanding voices
and the tears in our hearts
make an ocean we’re all in
all in this together don’t you know

Each one lost
is everyone’s loss you see
each one lost is a vital part of you and me

And so it goes on. You can find it here.

Over 16,000 people have so far died in hospital in the UK of Covid-19. And, as we are daily reminded, each one is precious. Why? Just because the closely bereaved love and miss them? Well, yes. But also because amid the huge numbers we cannot let go of the trust that each one matters – each one, in the words of the Judeo-Christian tradition, is made in the image of God.

Being a society means that every loss is everybody’s loss.

The song is simple and beautiful. Grief rarely is. But, whatever the expression in words or emotion, each one lost is part of you and me.