Poetry One

April is Poetry Month and the world is in quarantine. Considering the situation, it seemed appropriate to mine our local poets for their perspectives on coronavirus/COVID-19 and philosophies of life.

Longtime resident and artist, Valerie Walsh, who created the springtime ”paper sculpture” that adorns our cover, also created the spot illustrations here. 


I’m seeing things.

Only one duty remains,

to love this world.

I feel like a cup with no bottom,

one of my Mom’s china cups,

a blue vine chased around the rim,

not a super-sized mug,

but a cup to indulge a moment,

an absolute instant filling the heart

with forest thunder, the forest same

where Buddha found enlightenment,

in the country with no walls,

where leaves clap.

All I can do is love this world

in accord with the time

as I sit, pouring tea,

seeing things, cup by cup,

knowing all I can do is continue

to pour, bottomless,

to set my neighbor free.

—Ann Buxie



She tells me to take off my shirts

for my mammography.

I follow her to a locker room

where I undress my top half

and put on a robe.

She tells me to put my shirts in a locker.

I face a bank of lockers.

Reminds me of P.E. class.

There are directions on the locker.

You have to turn a small handle

to point to a red dot.

Then open and put your stuff in.

Then shut the door and input

a four-digit code to re-open.

Then remember the code.

And remember the number of your locker.

That’s, too many complications.

And I’m stuck, in front of a locker,

intended to safeguard my shirt.

I wonder, can’t I just carry my shirt with me?

As if it never occurred to her,

she said I could.

I need saving every day.

—Ann Buxie

There is far more than the human dilemma involved here. Maintaining a real and vibrant connection—to spirit, beauty, art, the natural world, all beings, each other—matters, not only because we will be sustained during such hard times of isolation, but also because we may be led to make the changes that will allow us to go on (but surely not in the old harmful ways).


Now That We Know

Now that we are sequestered,

an entire globe aware

we are sharing a common fate,

which has always been the case,

now that we, so frightened

without our things,

know we are all mortal,

while grabbing our last meals

from the emptying shelves,

imagining our last suppers,

how we will spend

the final weeks of our lives,

Now that we are aware

that the gift of breath

we have always received from the trees

may not serve us —

Is it because we

relentlessly cut them down?

Now that Water,

who is one of the Immortals,

is dying at our hands,

but without planning

for Her last waves and tides,

is remaining Water

for whoever swims within her,

And now that Air,

another threatened Deity

is still holding whatever birds yet fly,

and Earth, Great Mother,

is continuing despite

all her open wounds,

is remaining Earth,

and Fire, Oh!

He will burn and burn

until every tree,

or the very sun, goes out,

Now that we have succumbed

to each other’s downfall,

no difference, no differences,

and we, the ones who have done

such great harm, who tried

to rival the Gods

with all our weapons,

are taken down

by the most invisible and minute,

the very littlest one,

such is our common jeopardy,

our fate,

Now that we know we are mortal,

might we, for this just moment,

hold a broken prayer,

that our hearts open wide

and with such wisdom

that Life will pity us,

will restore the thousand beings,

and give us another

humbler round.

—Deena Metzger


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