A collection of poems from around the world........
9-year-old raises money for first responders
through book of poem sales.......read more
Restless, horror, hope and laughter:
Kentucky poets putting COVID into words.......read more
And So The Sun
by Lotus Kay
It’s been honking all morning
The highway is filled with cars
Of people trying to make it someplace different than where they are
Trying not to be late
But the traffic’s making them wait.
The cars pass by a school
They pass by some stores and shops
They pass by some restaurants and salons
All working non-stop
The day had only begun
And there’s so much to be done
Today’s a morning
Just like any other morning
Of human civilization under the sun.
And so the sun
When looking down
Thought “What would happen
If things changed around?
The world is just like a sun
That will not set
When will the world
What if these cars had no place to be?
What if these stores and shops closed
And people were to forced to focus only on the things they really need?
What if people were forced to spend time with themselves?
Forced to reflect and focus on their health?
And I’m not talking about just one town
What if the whole world changed around?
All going through the same thing
All equally affected.
What if instead of putting them to waste
People appreciated the resources they had?
Not constantly taking for granted
What’s in their grocery bag?
What if all this pollution started declining?
With the highways mostly empty
And fewer planes flying?
What if families were forced to bond
Whether or not they got along?
And the glitter and glamour of a celebrity life
What if you took away all the hype?
And forced everyone to live the same way
Forced to see they’re all alike.
And what if parents watched their kids learn and grow?
Not sending them away each day
But keeping them at home?
What if people were forced to connect
In a place where countries don’t have boundaries
Called ‘the internet.’
What if there was a deeper feeling of unity?
With more people being aware of their communities?
What if people had to redefine
The things that they find fun
Without being able to go to parties and clubs?
What if an extroverted society
Had to find a way to do things more quietly?
Just for a while
What if there was a collective pause?
So the upcoming mornings
Wouldn’t move so fast
And people could reevaluate
The way they were living in the past?”
And so the sun
When looking down
Thought “What would happen
If things changed around?
BY MARIA MEZIANI
Looking around I see these walls,
These dull brown walls,
These four sharp walls,
These lonely but united walls.
So constricting yet so welcoming
They will hold you tight,
As long as you’re alright,
They will keep you warm,
Helping you mourn.
The holes in the wall let me see,
That very tree.
It reminds me.
It reminds me of those days,
Where nothing went my way,
Where I skipped through the grass
And wasn’t looking through stained glass.
It reminds me of the times I didn’t spend alone,
Before any of this was known.
Before the drama and the trauma,
Before the pain and the rain.
Before the deaths and the threats.
Making me wonder if I was ever alone,
Away from home.
Oh, what a shame it would be!
To leave these four walls and flee.
Will The Door Ever Open?
by Indulekha Agnihotram
The roads are empty, the crowds too small,
And no trace of life outside, none at all.
Every human is locked up in their house,
And the sunny play ground, now looks bleak.
Why does our wide world look so desolate now?
What a silly question, even a toddler would have the answer.
Cause, there’s a monster out there,
That can make even breathing like hell.
It is tinier than our cells, but it is causing a huge pandemic,
If it enters your body, it may wreak havoc.
Coughs or sneezes are like its private jet,
And to your lungs, it’s a threat.
We, who always chat and dine in groups,
Now prefer to stay away,
And with a mask on our mouths,
St at home straight away.
Nobody’s going to school anymore,
No child playing in the park,
Nobody’s even opening the door,
Except for grocery or stock.
We used to giggle and play
On our swings and slide,
Now, we’re caged in our homes,
As Corona gambols outside.
I used to pity my dolls, trapped on the shelves,
Now, I really don’t know why,
As to me, it’s a privilege
To even bask in sunlight these days.
We, who are social animals,
Now dread the door bell.
Sadly, we are told to see,
Every visitor as an unwelcome virus.
When can we really be free?
When can we stick our heads out?
When will the dawn arrive?
Come on, let us await that day
BY AUDREY CHUANG, 11
The news rings in my head
The anger and negativity swirling around me
I can’t settle
My heart won’t settle
Everyone’s hearts won’t settle
Every pair of anxious eyes
Waiting for the image
For the image
The old book that I have read millions of times by now
And words are faded
I can’t go outside to play
I can’t imagine without going to the library
I can’t imagine without reading a new book
I can feel my heart beating every time
Something bad happens like the stock
Rising up and down
Like the heartbeat
of a patient
Waiting for the doctor
I can feel the pain that the world is facing
It feels like its pulse is in my hands
Ready like a flying fish
Out in the sky
Open to the new
Open wide world
That used to be
Full of people
But a mere ghost town
Waiting to swallow you up
And make you face the crime
And the pain people are talking about in the news
You know it
You have it
You feel the pain of who you are
Until you fall into the jaws
Of the people
You don’t know who is next
But it may be you
Watch out for the coronavirus
Doctors and nurses
Are waiting to
See how to stop the jaws
Of the Covid-19.
by Steven Kiama Ambrose
"The human race shall always overcome," said Jommo Kenyatta
See, I am the ultimate test
How well do you work together?
How well coordinated are you?
COVID 19 is my name
I know no boundaries or lanes
No celebrity can match my fame
Like a roaring flame I engulf all on my path
The poor and the rich both feel my wrath
You have a common enemy in me
So, lower your guns and focus on me
Lower your rank, tribe, ethnicity and focus on me
For can't you see, can't you see?
I know off no hierarchy
My presence brings fear and anarchy
I am stronger than Samson
For I break the unbreakable
I'll break your economy
I'll break your faith
But that's only if you let me
For the racism you show only strengthens me
You like hiding your identity, then wear a mask
You claim that your hands are clean, then sanitize
For the death I cause is no man's fault but rather my nature
You shall overcome me; it's in your blood, it's your nature
I am no professor, neither is this a lecture
But only working together can tame my destructive nature
As Nations cower in fear
For I grab many victims in a day
For once they see something worse than war
For once they see humanity is worth fighting for
What goes up must come down
No authority is higher than me
For I break the laws of traditions
I break the laws of a normal condition
But I'll never break the so-called men
Bend them to their breaking points
Once they kill me, they forget my wrath and once again I'll strike
As you suffer because of me
Also try and learn from me and your mistakes
As I go down the books of history
Still there's more to come
Maintain the togetherness
And there will be no harm
Share the little you have
Before I strike and leave you with none
The only way to survive me, is by joining heads
Lock your doors for I roam the streets
Stay alert for like an assassin; you never know my target
Love in the Time of COVID-19,
Poem for Healthcare Workers
and Other Frontliners
San Mateo County Poet Laureate
Your voice holds me
when your arms cannot.
You spoke calming words to me
as I slipped into sleep
And yours were the first eyes I saw
as I came out from under the fog
Wingless angels dressed in scrubs,
footfall on our steps,
a tap on the window,
a neighbor’s wave,
a newly-sewn mask tossed
(in a plastic bag), to the front
of the door: “run it through the washer
first,” she calls, waves, and departs.
(Fifteen years ago, at fifteen,
just arrived from El Salvador,
she walked into my Jefferson High
ESL class. Today, she is a hero,
daily risking her life for her patients,
while her own children wait
in their fog-shrouded home.)
Earth angels, haloes shining bright,
working with this virus in the air!
We will not despair
You support us
You surround us
Because of you, the world
will get brighter,
Bless the arms that hold you today.
We’re all joining hands,
guests on this planet,
across many lands.
We are forever grateful
to the warriors who save lives.
Time to recognize the real heroes,
brilliant shadows, as we’ve never
seen before. God calls us
to opportunity, it is for each
of us to claim. Our neighbor
is our brother, is our sister,
is our keeper, is our healer.
As soldiers, you stand tall,
ready for the next patient who calls.
Your love and care exemplify
heroism without compare.
Without you, our country would be
facing an even larger catastrophe.
Doctors and nurses and other
frontliners, with help to give.
Some deliver goods,
some clean and scrub,
stock the shelves,
and work so hard
so we can stay in our space.
You can do it, you can make it,
single mom working two shifts,
exhausted nursing home staff
fighting against depression
and confusion. Dementia.
Dressing up in silly costumes,
dancing down the halls,
Holding ipads high
so loved ones can see,
their elderly parent
who are unable to communicate,
that everything will be okay.
the outside world
and residents stay safe.
For the inner strength,
courage and compassion
with which you serve,
our eternal devotion, you so deserve.
For all your efforts,
may you be blessed
a thousand fold. Where we are,
the tired ghosts of fearful uncertainty
welcome the laughter
that champions the heart,
for the speed of love turns out
to be the speed of light.
A gentle reminder:
Be safe. Be well.
Be kind. Which is to say,
shelter in safety and love.
and nobody’s alone.
by John O'Donohue, Irish poet and priest
When the light around you lessens
And your thoughts darken until
Your body feels fear turn
Cold as stone inside,
When you find yourself bereft
Of any belief in yourself
And all you unknowingly
Leaned on has fallen,
When one voice commands
Your whole heart,
And it is raven dark,
Steady yourself and see
That it is your own thinking
That darkens the world,
Search and you will find
A diamond-thought of light.
Know that you are not alone,
And that darkness has purpose;
Gradually it will school your eyes
To find the one gift your light requires
Hidden within this night corner.
Invoke the learning
Of every suffering
You have suffered.
Close your eyes
Gather all the kindling
About your heart
To create one spark.
That is all you need
To nourish the flame
That will cleanse the dark
Of its weight of festered heart.
A new confidence will come alive
To urge you toward higher ground
Where your imagination
Will learn to engage difficulty
As its most rewarding threshold!
By Sally Morgan
The coronavirus looks like a dog toy
or a child’s Koosh ball
with its primary color
and fanciful shape.
How can something so whimsical
be so insidious?
It hasn’t infected me, mind you,
but it has changed me —
morphed into an
odd, complex chimera.
I’ve grown antennae that detect
a six foot field around me.
I’ve developed a fly’s eyes
to see danger on surfaces.
Like a squirrel, I bury food
in nooks and crannies
for a distant time.
I don a carapace
to venture out —
which I shed like a
on return to my door.
I am Lady Macbeth at the sink.
The future keeps receding.
Certainty has collapsed.
Sometimes I am like
lumbering out of hibernation —
but mostly, I am like
the ground hog,
to see her
A Viral Composition
By Renata Starbird
It all seems so simple, yet wonderfully cunning
that we should be haunted by creatures so stunning.
Not a prokaryote nor is it eukaryotic,
some close to home, others much more exotic.
As we go ’round the globe in our planes, trains, and cars,
as we chop down the trees to make room for our yards,
as we drill deep into earth and pave roads in the mountains,
viral dark matters inch closer by thousands.
They are shapers and shakers of mankind’s own history.
Preceding discovery, they were gigantic mystery.
Killing off whole royal lines was Smallpox, the devil –
pustules on eyes, skin, and lungs, truly testing our mettle.
Intriguing and puzzling, these enigmatic beings.
All time they’ve been with us – know they well a human being.
Great lessons and wisdom they’ve yet to divulge,
with science and research, we all may indulge.
The cold, oh so common, is beastly to tackle,
over two hundred strains leave us to grapple.
More ominous yet, our dear friend influenza,
With quick RNA changes, she cares not for agenda.
We’ve got light bulbs and iPads and hydraulic presses,
but vaccines(!), they must summit mankind’s great successes.
They’ve transformed and disposed of so many diseases,
now I need not be scared every time someone sneezes.
Anthropological insight may also be gained.
Conversation ’cross cultures renders a virus contained.
It takes research and business, compassion and sharing,
with bright minds invested, much better we’ll be faring.
I find myself curious and searching for answers.
What makes EBV change? It caused mono, now cancer!
Might viruses also bring nanotechnology,
come to save us from skewed inner ecology?
Viruses bookmark our history and act as timekeepers.
Of iron-lung confined children dream motherly weepers.
With red patches and scratches returns a viral exanthem,
when anti-vaxxers in Cali say vaccines, we can’t stand ’em.
And then there’s Mbeki with his one stoic face,
turning down HIV drugs, laying his country to waste.
Humbly reminding that with best of intentions
we will still make mistakes.
What intricate beings, these expert cell hijackers.
Of our proteins and systems, they are detailed mappers.
By studying viruses, we study ourselves,
this is where my mind wanders while observing the wells.
“Pathogen free!” some have said,
but I vote allies instead.
There’s so much yet unknown –
viral footprints in our chromosomes.
And with this brief poem I hope to convey,
the fascination for viruses that I have today.
Man’s best friend may be dog, but his longest companion
has always been microbes that are living within him.