Pandemic Poem #9

Pandemic poem #9. Living in an apartment (and a smallish one at that) with three other people and two cats, solitary time and space are difficult to come by. In the spring when mornings are warmer, I love to take a beautiful Adirondack chair gifted to me by a friend when she moved and a stack of books and writing implements and just sit outside by myself as long as I can manage it to think, and dream, and let my mind wander where it will. This year, the first morning it was warm enough for that was March 28, my birthday. As I settled in for this unexpected but delightful treat, I realized that I felt alone, but not lonely, surrounded as I was by things gifted to me by family and friends, with my own family just inside. “Alone but not lonely” is one of the nicest feelings for creative people to experience, because you feel loved and supported but with the physical and mental space to make your art. It was a lovely morning, and I got both this poem and the first chapter of a new project out of it!

(Reading tip: It occurs to me, that if you are reading these on your phone screen, turning the screen sideways will result in a correct placement of each line; otherwise, they are broken up in unusual and not especially poetic fashion.)


March 28, 2020

Delightful, that the first dawn of this year
Warm enough to take coffee in the mug from Evelyn
and the Adirondack chair gifted to me by Cindy
And a small stack of books and my journal
And a pen and a pencil to physically think with
And slip on the sweatshirt given to me by my sister to go
And stay outside, set up a makeshift office facing the trees
And sit and sip and commune with words and writing,
With friendly presences enshrined in material things
And muses dancing with ideas in the dappled sunlight
All morning long, in silence broken only by bird song
Is dawn on this day, my birthday, March 28-Day;
Today, Covid-19 seems very far away–
And there will be cake later on.

(Originally written 3/28/2020)


I invite those who are also writing creatively in response to the pandemic to share their words in the comments below. I am sharing the “poem-a-day” on Instagram and Twitter, as well; follow me @mridleyelmes !


About Melissa Ridley Elmes

Professor and writer; Unrepentant nerd; chaotic good. Author of Arthurian Things: A Collection of Poems. PhD, MFA. She/hers. Views my own.
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