"I asked poets far and wide to contribute to a chain poem, and here is the end result from myself and 18 creative friends (not necessarily in order): Alys Caviness-Gober, Mary Couch, Sarah E. Morin-Wilson, Shelly Gambino, Deborah Petersen, David Allen, Nancy Simmonds, Kathy Jo Carter, George Wylie, Dennis White, Tamara Horton Saylor, Harold Taylor, JL Kato, Michael Strosahl, Chuck Kellum, Spike Morin-Wilson, James Green, and Patrick Kalahar. I did a little editing to keep the flow and style, but not much. I hope you love this as much as I do! Thank you to all who participated! I'll be publishing this in the state poetry anthology this autumn."
Kind words I wanted to say came from my lips
Poems I thought about writing I sat to write at last
A painting I wanted to study, a leaf I wanted to press
Prayers once stuck in my throat were said
Fear pushed aside to find some hope, some peace
A song I used to sing haunts my frozen memory
And in the torrents of rainfall beyond my window
Run the blurred faces of loved ones far away.
I push aside my cobwebbed fears then remember
Cobwebs glisten like diamonds in sunlight after rain.
I see sunshine rise once more through oak trees
Stand on my porch, smell the sweet aftermath of a downpour
Discover daffodils have burst forth from nourished ground
Remember spring from my youth and know grandma’s words of wisdom:
“This too shall pass.”
And yet the passing is stretched out thin,
A membrane of too little patience over too much uncertainty.
My nerves pervious as a face mask
Handsewn from scraps of frayed restraint.
We fear to go outside
To be around the gatherings as we used to
Living essentially for the day.
Hope is strong; may it continue to stay
A serendipity, a grace,
A stepping aside to a new, yet familiar, path,
Allowed to dream, nestling to a body-mind-soul rejuvenation.
This quintessential rest
Prompting a fully hopeful and appreciative
Awakening, long, long overdue.
Emptiness overtakes us sometimes.
We write poems we can’t speak to the gathered crowd
Looking for signs of digging a new beat
Or a sublime inner rhyme.
No appreciative applause feeds our ears
So we pretend.
We step onto the back porch,
This year’s spring break destination.
We play salsa,
Our meetings and morning mass virtual,
Embracing our desire to release our nesting selves,
Crying, “Clean on, I say, clean on!”
The sunny day wears a friable tent of fear.
Pets look for quiet spaces to rest.
From the accelerated inhabitance pressure
We begin to see our home as … a home.
Shelter reimagined surfaces in our consciousness
But the haunting, echoing words of essential and non-essential
Wear thin my once leather-like skin of fragile ego.
I must and I will resist those whispers
And cling to my wavering yet intact hope
While trying to hold the world together—my part at least,
With a few words, a measure of grammar,
And an occasional metaphor that takes root and sprouts.
Words of this time hang as droplets
Between us until hope becomes viral as well.
Sequestered with my dog and cat and spouse,
The truths that I came in with I am sure
Will out pan this pandemic on our house.
The truths self-evident evince truth yet
God is not dead, and He does not forget.
We count the days and I count my blessings
As the counting of death mounts.
Unceasing, uneasing, fear-teasing,
While each of us wonders
Who might be counted next.
One day, perhaps not soon, or perhaps tomorrow
The ice of today’s strained requirements
Will melt away forever, and others’ tears
Will make the only circles in these now-still puddles,
Echoing through the water “I, too, shall pass,”
Ripples expanding into stillness and clear reflection.
Remembered, then forgotten--
Not even the ghost of memory,
Not even the last shiver of iceberg.
But I am being thin.
Breathe in, breathe out. And sing
While I can. Perhaps you will join in?
I’ll admit the darkness swirls my thoughts.
Creeping in with my welcome-home hugs,
Tearing into our homestead bliss.
I miss the good old days
Without counting six feet off,
Searching for smiles behind masks.
I meditate on the distant horizon
And listen for messages on the wind,
Doubting the present hours
And imagining a thousand years:
A hope for rebirth in a new Arcadia,
Earth restored—with the help of Man.