Pandemic Poems - APRIL 2020
We are all islands now, invisible moats around us as we witness the weather of our isolated lives. It even seems there’s a shift in the light, the sky more muted than usual, yet more blue. Some say porpoises are frolicking in the Venice canals, and locals can see fish again. This may not be true, but maybe it is, maybe we were overdue this reset—clearing skies over China, most countries learning they must help each other—though some still refuse, hoarding their need. Half alive, half dead, this tsunami virus learns quickly, is speaking to us in a new language, saying, time to cull the herd, to rob from you illusion of control, and to wake you to the energy of love.
Another Ordinary Day
Another ordinary day in this new pandemic world, my only company, the television, unable to show anything but graphs reporting rising infections, deaths, and a government wrangling about how to relieve a horror unthinkable before this month. I turn it off for the night, open my bedroom window, climb into bed and listen for the usual sound of tires hissing on the wet road out front, but tonight, I note long pauses between cars, drift on the steady rain into a restless sleep with dreams I can’t remember. Cardboard boxes of extra food line the edges of the living room—a room I mostly live in these ordinary days—and crowd my current kitchen whose electric stove doesn’t flare with the blue gas flame that lit a former life. Once I wrote a story called The Family Who Lives in the Basement. They only came out after some apocalypse was over, stumbling up the cellar steps, eyes blinded by the shock of sunlight. I don’t remember what happened to them next. I guess they adjusted, rebuilt their world best they could, although it could not be the same as before, no blueprints to follow, no brick and mortar waiting in the side yard. But they went on, that I know. Surely I would have had them go on! Surely . . .
Angels in the Time of Pandemic
They have so many tasks, these days, hovering over us as guardians, trying to tell us all will be well whatever wave of sorrow breaks upon us. Sometimes they wait by the side of a sickbed, fanning fever away with the gentle undulation of their wings. Other times, they reach out to embrace us, welcoming some to what we call heaven, the cessation of suffering. And there are human angels, selflessly tending us in our sickness, opening their hearts to fatigue, exposure, and illness, risking their lives and families. In these hard days, may we also aspire to be angels, ministering from our isolation by reaching out our virtual hands to clasp another’s, offering love.
©2020 Penny Harter
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