Pandemic Poem #30

Pandemic poem#30 came along after several significant conversations about why we should care about planning for future events when things are so uncertain now. Fully understanding the feelings behind that sentiment, and fully supporting others’ right to feel pessimistic; yet to me, it seemed even more important to think of “someday” and make plans for that future than it usually is. I am a “dark and twisty with a side of optimism ” gal, and I genuinely believe in the power and importance of hope. We simply need to have it, we humans, to get through our dark times. And I feel it is especially fitting that, though I wrote it originally on April 19, this poem about hope comes out on May the Fourth, since the whole premise of Star Wars is hope for a better future. Dare to hope, y’all. Make plans. Have dreams. Never let go of that; it’s one of our superpowers.

(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.)


Tomorrow Is Not Canceled

I know it’s hard to envision it,
to see beyond now to a tomorrow,
a time after this time, when we
are again free to roam the world as we will
without fear of contracting or spreading
a dread and mysterious disease.
But tomorrow is not canceled,
so continuing to shelter-in-place, still
dreams and plans can and must be made
–that is the human way,
and we don’t have to apologize
for our optimism, our faith
that better times are coming–
our hope is what keeps us alive,
and life worth the living.


(Originally written 4/19/2020)


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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