Pandemic Poem #26

Pandemic poem #26 came as I lay on the floor, petting a cat and just looking at the ceiling, at the light coming through the blinds, and feeling my body and mind actually settle and drop in energy. Things I don’t notice regularly, with life so busy and full of doing, doing, doing. This, by contrast, is a poem about being, being, being.

(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.)


Passing Time 

I don’t think I’ve ever before noticed so fully
or with such surprised pleasure
daylight dancing across the carpet
morning, to afternoon, to sunset,
or the stars peering through the slats of the window blinds
each eve, waltzing with the moon through the nightscape,
or understood quite so acutely how my mind dulls,
my form slows, as the day wanes,
like legendary Gawain, my energy peaking and plummeting
with the sun’s passage across the sky
so naturally that only enforced isolation from
the hustle and bustle of every day in the world
has made it clear to me that time’s queer and personal
as much as it is eternal and collective.
Hours pass physically as much as digitally: I’ve learned to
ignore the clock and look into the light
and into the body, for time’s passing.


(Originally written 4/15/2020)


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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