by Juliana Harris
will be horrified
when (and if)
she sees me again.
This morning, in a fit of pique,
I chopped off
an offensive tuft.
Just pretend you don’t notice.
I hope, when distancing lifts,
her skillful hands
will restore me
ODE TO MY SHOPPER
by Sharon Olson
I was seventy-one and still counting
when I counted the grocery bags arriving
at my front door, each one labelled
I guess for the shopper’s convenience,
some mnemonic only he had derived,
Poems 1 of 8, Poems 2 of 8, and so forth,
and they were like poems, each item
of slightly different size and voice,
tuna can haikus next to sonnets of milk.
I chalked it up to coincidence, until
the next week new bags came, this time
marked Lyric 1 of 7, Lyric 2 of 7, so
we knew we were in some sort of
telepathic, telegrammatic finger-
tapping sync-apathy, as if he knew
I must write poems and would eat
to write them, not eating words
but snippets of lyric, edible syllables.
The market has stipulated one week
between orders, and I am as I said
earlier seventy-one and still counting.
And so I find myself wondering
what the next code will bring, what
subliminal message my messenger
will write to signal our connection.
He must be a poet, too, composing
behind the front lines and so essential.
FROM SHARON: “Originally appeared in The New Verse News. The New Verse News presents politically progressive poetry on current events and topical issues. They have published several of my poems. I’m always interested to see what poets they present. There are new poems every single day.”
IMAGE: Vertumnus by Giuseppe Arcimboldo
A POEM IN THE PANDEMIC?
by Margaret Iacobellis
You should, they said, be able to write lots of poetry,
it’s very quiet now you are confined at home
you are free to do what you want, you can choose
your words. You must be filled with words!
there are no happy trails
filled with synonyms or rhymes with happy singing
No, there are no outlets which are unexplored.
All drawers are cleaned out. All closets closed
Each bookcase shelf dusted and reviewed
Then replaced exactly as before or joining the
tall tall pile of unwanteds now dusty with age
or filled with useless wordage
Even the discovery of a long lost photograph
brings only pain. A smiling face. no longer
No……no happy trails the cost to leave now
too high to pay.
A PANDEMIC REFLECTION
by Jen Payne
It’s hard to hide from yourself
in a pandemic, day in day out
living without distractions,
your reflection suddenly more real
reveals the things you forgot,
or your grandmother
stooped over the sink too,
her familiar refrain
your familiar refrain
Oh god, you wake one morning
realize this is the same day, again
day in day out day in day out
and not just because of some virus
but because you, YOU have
worn down a path from the bed
to the bath to the sink
where you stoop now
see your reflections in the mirror
as the sun rises and the birds sing
and trickster fox laughs from the yard
laughs at you, your bucket list,
that wisp of gray descending
so long you can’t ignore.
(Image: Mirror II, George Tooker.)
by Ed Walker
is my job
it is not
I break shit
I fix shit
in this rare air
I’m waiting for your call,
chickadees, owl, vultures
but it’s your call
why I’m still here
for the givers,
and the takers
by Jane Muir
My mother, as a child, was sick one weekend and didn’t visit her grandparents.
That weekend their house was struck by lightning and burned to the ground.
Both grandparents died in the fire.
I grew up with a fear of lightening.
My father, as a very young man in Scotland went to sea
As a cabin boy or whatever lowly job was available.
When one voyage finished, he took another
But missed the one to India
That boat sank before it reached Gibraltar
The whole crew perished.
And now I and all my children
Face our own dire threat—
Not a lightening strike
Nor a leaky boat
In China who
by Norman Thomas Marshall
A POEM IN WHICH THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC IS HAILED AS A
VISITATION UPON A WORLD OF SIN NOT YET READY TO RECEIVE
THE MESSIAH OPENLY AND FREELY SO THEREFORE THE WOLRD
STUMBLES BLINDLY– IN, AMONG AND AGAINST EACH OTHER AND
WE HAVE SOMETHING TO CONSTANTLY TALK ABOUT WITHOUT
ANYTHING GETTING SAID.
by Patricia Horn O’Brien
Despite my bamboo blind
clattering up, despite my elbow
seeking my fallen strap
to send it to my shoulder’s
angled quest, despite my eyelids,
aflutter with my window’s
close offer of a sparrow’s
still curiosity, she and I stare
each other into the speck of this hour,
neither she nor I adding anything
but the slender tether we allow. I
awake to how the sparrow
and I are in it
together. She, awake,
and without a word about It.
Stuck at home during COVID-19, members of the Guilford Poets Guild recently engaged in an ekphrastic exercise of writing poems inspired by works of art in their own homes. Similar to seeing rooms on Zoom, these poems offer a unique and intimate glimpse into the lives of these local poets.
- Summertime, Evelyn Atreya
- November Walk with Andrea, Gordy Whiteman
- Heist, Jen Payne
- Eagles Mere, Summer 2020, Gwen Gunn
- Sea Turtle Breaking Through, Carol Altieri
- Stairway to the Stars, Juliana Harris
- Cotton Candy, Dan Goldberg
- A Wave, Ed Walker
- Sharing a Room with Two Other Women, Patricia Horn O’Brien
- Le Bal à Bougival, Sharon Olson
Ekphrastic poetry is a response to a visual work of art, often a vivid, dramatic work that takes a painting, sculpture, or other artwork as its inspiration.
In June, GPG poets will be writing about COVID-19, and their reflections on the pandemic. Stay tuned!
Members of the Guilford Poets Guild are writing ekphrastic poems this month, poetry inspired by artwork hanging in their home.
by Evelyn Atreya
About this Art: In 1987 in a garden in Suzhou, China I came upon a local artist painting on silk swatches. I purchased this small piece and stuck it between the pages of a book to protect it on my journey. I completely forgot about it. More than two decades later, it tumbled out of the book I was preparing to donate to the library. I feel in love with it all over again and immediately brought it to be framed. I have treasured it ever since.