Slice of Life/SmallPoems Day 28 (generation pandemic)

(I am participating in the March Slice of Life challenge via the Two Writing Teachers site.  Slice of Life is the idea of noticing the small moments. I have been a participant for many years and each year, I wonder if I will have the energy to write every day. This year, I am going to try to coincide it with my daily poetry writing, and intend to compose small poems on small moments. We’ll see how it goes …)

Day Twenty Eight

Forever
changed is
what they’ll be:
these Children
of the Pandemic

Whether shaped
by panic or fear or
the greater good –
no child today
escapes where
the world once stood
and now, stands
at a fragile start

the hope for all
rests with open heart,
nurtured by together
and not by distance
dividing us apart

Note: I was listening yesterday morning to The Daily (New York Times) podcast, which had very young children sending in questions about the COVID-19 virus to the NYT science reporter. At the end, the host wrapped up some related news and then played part of a news conference from New York Governor Andrew Cuomo that really struck a nerve with me. I listened to the section three times. I wrote down his words. Then I made the comic below. Then, I composed the poem. He’s right, of course. An entire generation of children are forever now impacted by this event.

Thinking of the Children comic

Peace (on us all),
Kevin

Slice of Life/SmallPoems Day 27 (teacher parade)

(I am participating in the March Slice of Life challenge via the Two Writing Teachers site.  Slice of Life is the idea of noticing the small moments. I have been a participant for many years and each year, I wonder if I will have the energy to write every day. This year, I am going to try to coincide it with my daily poetry writing, and intend to compose small poems on small moments. We’ll see how it goes …)

Day Twenty Seven

It’s just smile after smile;
just mile after mile –
streets and sidewalks
and lawns lined
with faces not seen
in weeks – you wave
and wave and wave –
you find yourself smiling
with hardly strength
to speak, just motion
of mobile movement,
settling in with disbelief;
your front seat sadness
colliding with this madness,
even in temporary relief

Note: You may have seen school communities organizing these Car Parades, where the school staff keeps the social distancing by driving (each in own cars) through the community, to see students again, if only briefly. We did that yesterday, thanks to the organization prowess of a colleague. We had more than 50 cars driving for two hours throughout our town, following bus routes across the entire community. So many kids were ready for us (a message had gone out) and it was heartening, uplifting to see families together, waving and shouting and holding up signs of support for the school, and teachers, and for each other. It was the first time seeing many of my students since our abrupt closure on Friday the 13th (yeah, that day). What joy, mixed with sadness, too, that we find ourselves in this situation. I think we teachers needed it as much as families needed it — that connection reminder. We do the best we can do. (more)

Peace (traveling the distance),
Kevin

Slice of Life/SmallPoems Day 26 (lost towns)

(I am participating in the March Slice of Life challenge via the Two Writing Teachers site.  Slice of Life is the idea of noticing the small moments. I have been a participant for many years and each year, I wonder if I will have the energy to write every day. This year, I am going to try to coincide it with my daily poetry writing, and intend to compose small poems on small moments. We’ll see how it goes …)

Day Twenty Six

This quiet is where
they used bulldozers
and floods to bury four
small towns – barn roofs
and fire-stacks, pieces of
people’s homes, still just
below the surface, drowned
but defiant against time –
all for the greater good
of somewhere else

Sometimes it feels
as if we are forever
living in metaphor

Note: We broke up our ‘stay-at-home’ isolation yesterday by driving about 45 minutes to the Quabbin Reservoir, a beautiful scenic space with lots of trails and lookouts over the huge reservoir created long ago to provide water to Boston by destroying and flooding four small Western Massachusetts towns. Some of the buildings are still down there. Communities around here still remember how Boston exerted its political might and removed people from their homes. Yesterday was a bit chilly but lovely in that early Spring/late Winter kind of way, with open grey skies and bracing air, and not too many people about. Everyone greeted everyone with smiles, a nod of the head and wondering eyes, a quiet: Are you doing OK?

Peace (and surface tension),
Kevin

Slice of Life/SmallPoems Day 25 (sticks/streams)

(I am participating in the March Slice of Life challenge via the Two Writing Teachers site.  Slice of Life is the idea of noticing the small moments. I have been a participant for many years and each year, I wonder if I will have the energy to write every day. This year, I am going to try to coincide it with my daily poetry writing, and intend to compose small poems on small moments. We’ll see how it goes …)

Day Twenty Five

Small branches and sticks
trick streams, currents as buoy,
while we stop to watch

Note: My wife and I took the dog for a long walk yesterday, on the heels of the snow storm. We wandered along paths along the river that had not yet been traveled because of the slippery conditions. I found myself stopping often, looking at the river, and noticing the many tree branches floating downward, maybe from coming loose with the melt or maybe from falling from the heavy snows. This poem also does double duty — the blog as a buoy for the words — as it is both a moment for Slice of Life but also a response to today’s prompt for of a poetry project called Water Poems, which you can learn more about here. I didn’t follow today’s directions for a found Haiku, really, but I did use the idea of the Haiku.

Peace (floating),
Kevin

Slice of Life/SmallPoems Day 24 (spring sledding)

(I am participating in the March Slice of Life challenge via the Two Writing Teachers site.  Slice of Life is the idea of noticing the small moments. I have been a participant for many years and each year, I wonder if I will have the energy to write every day. This year, I am going to try to coincide it with my daily poetry writing, and intend to compose small poems on small moments. We’ll see how it goes …)

Day Twenty Four

Spring sledding seems wrong,
don’t it? Won’t it wait until next
winter? Fingers frozen in gloves,
the sled, ahead, rushes the hill
with riders; beside her, the boy shouts
out the call, all of childhood forgetfulness:
Yahooo!

Note: We got hit by a decent winter storm yesterday — a few inches of heavy snow and then sleet and freezing rain. My wife and I joked: no school tomorrow! We laughed. Gallows Humor for the times we’re in. Walking the dog during the snow fall, I came upon this scene of two young siblings (kindergarten age), riding their tube sled down the hill (really, a slant) of their front yard, yelling with such joy and abandon that their voices rang out in the quiet neighborhood. As if everything was normal. As if.

Peace (yelling it),
Kevin

Slice of Life/SmallPoems Day 23 (seeds sleep)

(I am participating in the March Slice of Life challenge via the Two Writing Teachers site.  Slice of Life is the idea of noticing the small moments. I have been a participant for many years and each year, I wonder if I will have the energy to write every day. This year, I am going to try to coincide it with my daily poetry writing, and intend to compose small poems on small moments. We’ll see how it goes …)

Day Twenty Three

Sleep, seeds,
sleep; keep deep;
the spring’ll keep,
for cold is sure
still yet to come
and winter,
winter always creeps
back in to claim
the young

Note: We’ve been keen to noticing the flowers coming up, particularly as the virus shutdowns have us spending more time outside on walks. But now we see a Winter Storm Warning posted for today, with up to half a foot of snow possible — it’s one of those tricky-to-forecast fronts, with the temperatures hovering around freezing – so maybe more rain than snow, or maybe more snow than rain. But the bulbs need to get back into hiding!

Peace (expecting it),
Kevin

Slice of Life/SmallPoems Day 22 (branch/songs)

(I am participating in the March Slice of Life challenge via the Two Writing Teachers site.  Slice of Life is the idea of noticing the small moments. I have been a participant for many years and each year, I wonder if I will have the energy to write every day. This year, I am going to try to coincide it with my daily poetry writing, and intend to compose small poems on small moments. We’ll see how it goes …)

Day Twenty Two

Listen:
the trees are singing;
the Spring winds are
bringing stress-fractured
songs to the wood,
the creaking sounds
of the forest in motion

Note: On a long walk yesterday, the wind kicked up as a change in weather moved in. What we noticed were the sounds of the tree branches, creaking and groaning. It seemed to our ears as if one would start, and then another would add in from a distance, as if the branches were doing a call/response.

I turned some ideas about the forest songs into a piece of music: TreeSong

Peace (listening for it),
Kevin

Slice of Life/SmallPoems Day 21 (out and about)

(I am participating in the March Slice of Life challenge via the Two Writing Teachers site.  Slice of Life is the idea of noticing the small moments. I have been a participant for many years and each year, I wonder if I will have the energy to write every day. This year, I am going to try to coincide it with my daily poetry writing, and intend to compose small poems on small moments. We’ll see how it goes …)

Day Twenty One

We walk into uncomfortable quiet:
the microcosm of society
inside the strip mall
barber shop;

We’re there for a quick trim,
maybe a bit off the top,
before the city
brings business to a stop

The boy takes a seat;
I stay on my feet

as every alternative
chair’s already filled,
and emptiness between –
each of us a piece
of silence in a game
of checkers, or chess;

every motive, scrutinized;
every cough, every sneeze,
every sound, magnified –

Gosh – this world’s
a mess

Peace (and open spaces),
Kevin

Slice of Life/SmallPoems Day 20 (mourning rains)

(I am participating in the March Slice of Life challenge via the Two Writing Teachers site.  Slice of Life is the idea of noticing the small moments. I have been a participant for many years and each year, I wonder if I will have the energy to write every day. This year, I am going to try to coincide it with my daily poetry writing, and intend to compose small poems on small moments. We’ll see how it goes …)

Day Twenty

Don’t mourn these rains,
the drenching replenishment
of these rivers and ponds,
of oceans and lakes;
bodies, suddenly awake
in hopeful expectation

Don’t mourn the wet
that arrives by sky,
the falling on the first day
of this year’s sudden
Spring, the earliest
Equinox ever

These rains
herald beginnings
of a season
of change

Peace (falling),
Kevin

Slice of Life/SmallPoems Day 19 (rock/wreath/remembering)

(I am participating in the March Slice of Life challenge via the Two Writing Teachers site.  Slice of Life is the idea of noticing the small moments. I have been a participant for many years and each year, I wonder if I will have the energy to write every day. This year, I am going to try to coincide it with my daily poetry writing, and intend to compose small poems on small moments. We’ll see how it goes …)

Note: I had to bring some library books back to the bin (libraries are shuttered) and went the long way, driving a secondary route, if only to break up the day. My eye caught something at the top of the hill near the old Northampton State Hospital. A large wreath, with green flowers, set against a memorial stone that I already knew the history of, since it represents a terrible moment in my city’s history when prejudice and bias took the lives of two innocent men. Echoes of these injustices still ring out today, if slightly muted by the Pandemic. Someone remembered. Someone always remembers. Sorry for the downer verse. – Kevin

Day Nineteen

Someone left a wreath
on the stone on the hill
by the hospital where
they tried, and killed,

two men, immigrants,
two hundred years ago,
for the crime of being Irish,
and people by the hundreds
came out to cheer;

A rock memorial decorated
with green flowers and dedicated
as reminder of some things
never changing, even still;

The Other is always us,
always in us, always
wearing wreaths on the rock
on the hill near the hospital

More about this historical event: http://historic-northampton.org/daleyandhalligan/daleyandhalligan.html

Peace (in noticing),
Kevin