Chronicling the Days – Poetry Special

Welcome to QWF series ‘Chronicling the Days’, specifically for this strange uneasy time of coronavirus and pandemic, of social distancing and self isolation, of lockdown and quarantine.

In April 2020, we invited writers in Quebec to submit a story – of a single day at this time, because while we’re all living through this time, we know that we’re not all living through it in the same way. To stay connected – to know how we’re getting on. Every story valid.

Submissions have now closed for the series but we’ll be continuing to publish the pieces throughout May. Keep an eye for them here, or join us on the QWF FB Community page, and let the authors know if their words resonated.

On Saturday, May 2, 2020, we have a Chronicling the Days poetry special. With thanks to Tanya Bellhumeur-Allatt, Jocelyne Dubois, Jeffrey Mackie-Deernsted, Barbara Kelly, Ann Lloyd, and Carol Katz for their contributions.

Photo: Barbara Kelly

Survival Plan – Tanya Bellehumeur-Allatt

Wake up early.

Write a poem.

Let it have angst, but also,

give the poem hope,

like a sticky drop

of maple syrup.

Drink it

like an elixir.

Enjoy it

for a moment.

Let it linger

like the cinnamon scent

of cider warming

on the wood stove.

Think about

tomorrow’s poem

while you walk

along the road

with the dog.

Greet the birds,

newly returned.

Listen to them.

Gather all this

in your heart

like a round, white stone

tucked into your pocket

or a raven’s feather

in your buttonhole.

Treasure it.

And then,

tomorrow morning,

begin again.

*

PLAGUE – Jocelyne Dubois

We sit two metres apart

I doodle & have naps in the afternoon

The phone rings more

friends checking in

some lonely

“Be safe” they say “be safe”

I need prescriptions renewed

dental checkups

all cancelled

The streets are deserted

but grocery stores crowded

no pasta left on the shelves

We will get through this, I tell myself

with help from internet & phone

I read more

paint more

cook more

write more

I listen to you

*

ONE WEEK IN – Jeffrey Mackie-Deernsted

Fragile emotions. New instructions every hour.

No hands touched Digital counter on the population

Sunlight

Surfaces at the end of winter

Salted concrete dried crusts concrete not bread

Amusements grow old quickly

As we grow old slowly

On the TV

Sixteen Candles, Breakfast Club Pretty in Pink

Relive your adolescence

With your significant other

That would be just ducky.

*

An Afternoon in Week 5 – Barbara Kelly

Body on a couch

blue blanket, pulled up close

photographs long ignored

faces on the table, in boxes,

rejects on the floor.

Pink tulips thirsty

or just tired.

TV buzzing news.

Outside, barren branches

large patches of snow

in slow retreat

murky grass, last year’s leaves,

a dark squirrel nibbles.

Body rolls over

stands

walks to the kitchen

crackers, chips, wine,

phone,

ipad once more

chopped-onion tears.

TV buzzing news:

transmission, lack of equipment, the rising curve, expert opinions,

the pleas

of politicians.

And the journalists,

body’s new friends

with bags under their eyes,

despite the make-up.

Dehydrated, soiled, abandoned,

the elderly are dying

despite it all.

*

A TIME TO BLESS AND REASSESS – Ann Lloyd

Now trapped at home

look back, look back

on happy days

and then compute

as I was told so many years ago

with marriage

60/40 is OK

40/60 not so much

So recheck your coming freedom soon

And let your joyous happy days

Exceed the rest

Plan ahead and reassess

Then you’ll be blest

*

The Sound of Silence in the Time of COVID-19 – Carol Katz

This time silence has no sound.

A post-apocalyptic town.

People staying in their homes,

thinking about their health and woes

when social-distancing is the norm,

nowhere to roam.

Abandoned to the birds and pigeons.

And the people bowed and prayed

that the cure won’t be delayed.

Worshipping from indoors

to Gods like mine and yours.

Voices sharing sounds

From distant lands

not holding hands

To the sound of silence.

No restaurants are open now

No swimming in a row.

Where do I get exercise?

Walking in the sun is wise.

But keeping two meters

from my friends,

wave my hands,

slowing the spread

of the Corona Virus.

Through silent streets

I walk alone,

staring at the cobblestones.

People standing at their windows

wanting company at their doors.

But the silence of the streets

are cold and damp, dark is the lamp,

whispering in the sound of silence.

One day we’ll all be well,

silence sounding like a bell.

I’ll walking on busy streets,

people’s faces smiling to the beat

of songs that are flowing from their lips, with a kiss,

Embracing the end of the Corona Virus.

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