Pandemic Poem #19

Pandemic poem #19 showed up as I sat with my 6th cup of tea that day, still absolutely incapable of getting work done despite having been seated at my computer trying to settle in to it all day. I realized at that point that some days were just going to be like that, totally unproductive, and I had to learn to work in the new rhythms of sequester and working from home instead of just trying to power through.

(Reading tip: if you are reading this 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.)


Tea Break, Broken

Cups of tea are made for many reasons–
to celebrate, to take a break, to soothe, relax, or rest–
and among tea-drinkers it is understood
that enough tea restores whatever needs restoring.

The cuppas I made today, though,
ever sweet and strong, did no good at all on any count–
such is the anxiety, such the uncertainty,
such the sheer exhaustion in the face of it all.


(Originally written 4/8/2020)


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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