Social Isolation

(internet photo)

Today it’s difficult for me to remain optimistic. It’s our granddaughter’s birthday and to add insult to injury, the gift we ordered online to be delivered before this special day, has not yet arrived. I don’t want to have the day pass empty handed from us so I have written her a humble story and illustrated it to the best of my ability. Singing “Happy Birthday” over the phone with her triggered my tears… I guess it’s a small price to pay if we can remain healthy.

I wish everyone strength and fortitude to get through this. May we all remain healthy!

Reading some poetry by Jimmy Pappas, a New Hampshire poet, inspired the following:

Social Isolation

We cannot
tell

if it is time
for

Friday night wine
or

Sunday
prayers.

Let us
bow our heads.

Bill Evans: "Here's That Rainy Day"

By Jan Zwicky

On a bad day, you come in from the weather
and lean your back against the door.
This time of year it's dark by five.
Your armchair, empty in its pool of light.

That arpeggio lifts, like warmth, from the fifth of B minor,
offers its hand - let me
tell you a story...But in the same breath,
semitones falling to the tonic:
you must believe and not believe;
that door you came in
you must go out again.

In the forest, the woodcutter's son
sets the stone down from his sack and speaks to it.
And from nothing, a spring wells,
falling as it rises, spilling out
across the dark green moss.
There is sadness in the world, it says,
past telling.  Learn stillness
if you would run clear.

I Wonder How Many People

nighttime-city

I Wonder How Many People in This City from “The Spice-Box of Earth” by Leonard Cohen

I wonder how many people in this city
Live in furnished rooms.
Late at night when i look out at the buildings
I swear I see a face in every window
Looking back at me
and when I turn away
I wonder how many go back to their desks
and write this down.

Migration

The geese have flown south for winter.
V-formation steadily directs away from me
until only a speck in the sky.
Echoes of their honks linger long after
birds are out of sight.

I am left alone in a frozen landscape,
surrounded by mounds of dirty ice
untouched by a teasing Chinook passing through town,
its gift of warmth followed by cerulean skies and cold nights.

I awaken to a pink, glowing sunrise,
eastern clouds painted brilliant shades of golden orange,
bittersweet apricot and tints of tangerine.
I am startled from my daybreak reverie by enclosing silence.

Absence of my feathered friends
creates an absence of purpose.
Instead of scattering harvested grain to supplement
diets of my feral flying fowl,
I collect my ricocheting thoughts,
settle into an overstuffed chair, warm cup of tea in hand,
and a book I have been wanting to read.

Black print on a white page cannot distract my longing
to hear from my friends.
Sadness puts an arm around my shoulders,
shadows me throughout my days.

Sometimes I sprinkle kernels of grain atop newly fallen snow
for shy ptarmigan that look surreptitiously at me from afar.
I am happy to provide a treat in this harsh climate
but my heart remains true to the geese.

I yearn for the first honk that will reach my covered ears,
a raspy, grating sound demanding attention,
unlike the gentle coo of a dove,
a honk to announce:
We’re Home
We’re Back
Spring and renewal are just around the corner

Despondent

Air is charged
electric
stifling
Try to breathe but can only gasp
cannot inhale deep enough
cannot draw air in

Want to lay down
want to run, escape
want to read
to forget
dive into someone else’s story
so do not have to face own

Tears surface but refuse to fall
accompanying lump in throat
swells
contributing to difficulty breathing

Count…
one – two – three
one – two – three
one – two – three

a polka that needs to be taken down to a waltz

over and over again
count repeated until moment passes
and calmness returns

Energy is drained
but have survived
did not drop into bottomless pit
Great sadness closes in
yet life can go on

A little piece
the tiniest sliver
of self
has been restored
and can go on

But the monster comes back
furious
angry to have been kept at bay
Thrashing
consuming

All that can be done
is ride the wave of tears

tumble
roll

one – two – three
one – two – three
one – two – three…

Feel the pain
acknowledge guilt

Breathe

Look for the shining little sliver of self
hold on tight
despite bleeding hands
and shattered heart
hold on
hold on
to go on

Waiting

“You make a life out of what you have, not what you’re missing.” – Kate Morton

disappointment

again

lump in throat
waiting for a call that doesn’t come

mind racing
to account for reason why
thoughts toss and tumble
adrift on rough waters
of stormy emotions

tears surface but do not fall
a blind barrier
camouflaged by past hunts
to make sense of behaviour
has arisen

resignation
sadness
suffuse the room
blocking sunlight
covering all with a blanket of grey melancholy

although much has changed
much remains the same