What a way to start my day! In bed, sun on the rise, coffee at-hand, and given that it is Thursday, I’m listening to Komi Alexander, resident NPR poet on Morning Edition, and he and Rachel are reading a community-sourced poem. The trigger was “What I’m Learning About Grief,” a poem by Nancy Cross Dunham.
The compilation of lines submitted by listeners is stunning. If you didn’t hear the poem this morning (in bed, sun on the rise, coffee-at-hand) click on the site and take a listen.
The poem itself is wonderful, but the evocative lines sent in by everyday listeners is the icing on the cake. If there is an up-side to coronavirus, it would be the creative response from the community at-large. Our government may be in intensive care, but the ARTS are alive and well. HOPE – more than a ‘thing with feathers.’
Shavano Poets are on a roll. Just received two most excellent poems: one from Jane Provorse and another from Margery Dorfmeister. Writing-wise we live in exciting times.
This up-beat news is in contrast to news coming out of Colorado Springs yesterday. Car thefts are up. The homeless are desperate for temporary housing. It is easy for those of us who are retired and secure to forget that the impoverished, newly unemployed, and even the middle class are living in dire straits. Thirty million have filed for unemployment to date!
And because I’m on the topic, here’s one of the poems that I wrote in response to coronavirus:
“To Have and to Have Not”
Standing at the kitchen counter / peeling a thick-skinned Butternut squash, / I remember / standing at an assured safe distance / behind / a woman in line at the grocery. / Two children clung to her side.
Despite stay-at-home / coronavirus warnings, / I wanted fresh ginger / for my squash soup. / I had a sad, not-so-fresh / knob of shriveled ginger, / but I had-to-have / fresh ginger.
I had onions, / garlic, / cilantro, / raw coconut flakes, / and a can of coconut cream, / but I had-to-have a knob of fresh ginger,. / I found no ginger at our local grocery.
But, given that I had already / risked contagion by shopping for ginger, / I picked up a few discretionary, / you-never-know, / just-in-case items: / celery, onions, oranges, pears, / and butter.
Keeping my social distance / from the women with the kids, / I glanced at her cart, and / my heart seized. Her cart held only / five loaves of white bread!
Comparing the contents of my cart and hers / comparing her have-to-haves to mine – / the term “social distancing” / expanded to include the disparity / between the haves and the have-nots.
I’m writing in the east airlock – the sun is brilliant and the in-ground birdbath is splash-happy with bathing birds. The yellow-headed blackbirds seem to have moved on. A delight to have them for three days, but they had a north-bound bus to catch. Their breast as well as their heads are egg yolk yellow, and their call sounds like a throat clearing phlegm. Not musical in the least.
Today, I’ll soak the milkweed seeds that I collected last fall, wrap them in a wet paper towel, and put them in a plastic bag where they will experience winter for a week in the refrigerator. And then I’ll pat them down on the topsoil and sprinkle soil over them. And JUST MAYBE I’ll be hatching monarch butterflies come fall. Yes, I will water the seeds.
I’m not sure, on an environmental scale, that saving the monarchs (down 90% in the last decade due to pesticides and roadside mowing) is equal to my wasting water, but no one ever said that I was holier than thou.
I love being outside. This ‘social distancing’ seems to suit me.