The numbers increase daily. Today, Sunday, April 26, 2020, at 10:58 pm MST, the world has identified 2,994,349 coronavirus cases! Nearing three million!
One month ago, today, I did what I do when facing a problem in my world—I started writing poetry to defuse the feelings—to get a perspective. Also like during other tragedies I’ve faced in my life, I didn’t start immediately. I needed time to identify and process the feelings before I could look at a blank sheet of paper and commence! When the words came, again like so many times before, they tumbled out effortlessly, so I thought I’d share them with you.
I wrote the poem below two and a half weeks after returning home from Madrid, Spain and deciding to self-quarantine for two weeks, a month from today. We left Spain on March 8th, and the coronavirus exploded there on the 9th, so Lin and I felt uneasy about the possibilities of our exposure. If exposed, we wanted to be sure not to spread it.
Those two weeks, I didn’t write poetry, but I worked on my current book project. I focused and used this time provided to do various tasks I needed to do to finish the book. But I didn’t capture my feelings in words through poetry—I couldn’t yet. My world was spinning! A friend spoke the word “Fear.” I looked deep inside and realized, “Yeah, that’s it!” In stressful times, I do—whatever needs to be done, then I feel. Yes, I recognized fear as it coursed through my veins. My hands shook; my stomach hurt. My restless sleep left me tired and the repeated dark space during sleep I fell into each night didn’t refresh me. Yes, I dreamed, but no detail remained the next morning—only a feeling of despair and darkness.
Fear, okay, and what else? It took time for me to arrive at other feelings: faith, devastation, panic, empathy, and grief. As you can see, what a mixture I felt scattered wildly, but isn’t that being human? As complicated feeling human beings, we have the capacity to feel a wide range of feelings, and all at the same time!
So, in the coming weeks, I’m going to share my poetry with you. You may be saying to yourself, “Oh, no! I don’t do poetry!” Let me share a suggestion—look for the feeling conveyed then see if it resonates with you. Maybe yes, maybe no, but if you give just a chance, it just might get you!
Coronavirus Scares Me! March 26, 2020 I sit here In quiet solitude A peaceful spring scene Out my window And the world falls apart! 500,000 cases of the coronavirus now! Jesse, my elderly cat, snuggles close Nothing has changed He eats, he pees, poos and sleeps And the world falls apart! Deaths— 100’s of them faces of pain fill my thoughts faces of grief flood my heart Losses too sizeable to count! A world turned upside down No, I haven’t lost someone Yet! Will I? Who might it be? An elderly dancer? A young friend? A relative? Me? We all stand at the door Of this possibility Who will it be? I dread that first!
How do you process stressful situations? Create a space place in your world? Share your remedies! Is it poetry? Walking? Artwork? Dancing? What do you do to deal?
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