Poetry of Space, Place + Time Poems

poetry of pandemic

It’s at times like these of global pandemic that poetry and art become so important to public and private life. Not that they’re ever not important! But people in distress, in deep questioning, in need of solace and ways to make sense of the seemingly insensible often turn to poetry and art for answers and relief. Through The Poartry Project’s hosting of and participation in several events over the months of pandemic, we’ve been contemplating and writing A LOT about life during the “corona pause” – with tongue in check, with wistfulness, with a bit of sadness, but with a great deal of hope and knowing that we will come out the other side of this so much better…


It started as a point of light
in the afterburn of a global scream.

Silhouettes of vaporized young men
burned onto trees in Europe –
frozen onto concrete in Japan.

The world held its breath –
suspended in the smoky-smudgy darkness
oozing across the valleys
like leaden fog prowling down the muddy hollows.

Hanging on its point of
humanity turned away,
turned its face aside,
and uttered one tiny, trembling, tremulous breath –
exhausted, empty, ready to be filled.

And between the goal-posts
of dual evils so great,
they are still barely understood,
goodwill rushed in –
a high, thin, precise note
sounding above the grey landscape
of broken skeletons.

Never again, it said.
Never again. Never again!
We repel thee.
We gather unto ourselves
a goodness so great,
it is barely understood.

The dividers will not conquer.
The separators will not stand.
The diminishers will not vanquish.
The will-to-good radiates.
The will-to-peace pulses out.
The will-to-harmonize overcomes the

And stand we still,
lives united,
nations united,
the future face of humanity
glimpsed in the facets
of things to come:

The liberation of our human family,
the realization of our mineral family,
the rejuvenation of our plant family,
the recognition of our animal family,
the release of our elemental family.

United nations –
united kingdoms –
united earth –
joining life to life
in the body
of the evolving life beyond.

This poem is essentially an energetic blueprint of the formation of the United Nations and the ecosystem of energies and forces that were in motion to prompt its formation. It was written by The Poartry Project at the invitation of the United Nations Association for UN Day in 2011, but it is more relevant and need than ever. It aserves as a true invocation using energy science to set energies and forces in motion as a stimulating force of good offsetting the force of separatism and division.


(Dispatched via Diplomatic Pouch)

Date: March 19, 2020
To: My Workers
Subject: In Which You Are to Pause

Dear Workers,

You have been a noisy bunch.
I have had a headache for centuries…
And the neighbors have started to complain.
(Mars just won’t shut up with their sword-rattling,
Vulcan keeps telling me throwing you all in their forge is just around the corner,
and Uranus is getting a kick out of joking about bringing you all to their place 
“where the sun don’t shine”.)
Even my boss, with their sunny countenance and radiant disposition,
is getting on my case.
And, really, do you have to constantly be so god-awful to each other?
In all my travels, truly, you create beauty of some of the rarest form,
but that just doesn’t seem to be enough, does it?

So, my dear workers, the time has come
in which you are to pause…

to reflect, to contemplate, 
to get off the hamster wheel and out of The Matrix,
to love on each other, to treat my body kindly,
to for gods-sake put down your grubby lust for coin
and spiritualize it up and out beyond the ugly bunker you have built.
To witness the chance for the hold to be broken:
To revel in the bullies’ real reveal as bloated baby blimps.
To see the stock market on its knees and 
actually believe it is not the master of the universe.
To laugh at the plaything that is the human relation with money
and feel reverence at the realization that it is actually an agent of love
when we share it in people’s wellbeing.
(Bet Andrew Yang doesn’t seem so wacky and wonky now y’all, eh?)
And, dudes, please thank Bernie and Elizabeth.
Yeah, he’s crotchety – yeah, she’s got a plan for that that didn’t seem sexy –
(I do, however, love a sexy librarian; always have)
but bet healthcare for all doesn’t seem so crazy right about now, huh?
So I’m going to keep those masks slow in coming,
and you are going to – STOP, just stop.

Be silent, my workers.
Be still.
Be plunged, vomiting, out of The Matrix,
and realize you can do jujitsu that restores my world.
Be listening, and hear the steady and sane wonders sharing “wild” ideas
that are just what MY doctors are ordering.

Be silent, my workers.
And become, my Beauties
that you are.
And turn this place into the sanctuary
it is meant to be.

Mars really is in a much better mood when they have a beautiful place to decompress,
Neptune likes to switch up their meditation spot sometimes,
Venus is able to write their monthly wisdom updates so much more clearly,
and don’t even get me started on the The Voice: Galactic Edition show we’ll be able to have
when you finally figure things out.

From the Desk of Planet Earth
The 366th day (it’s a leap year)
of the 12th month 
of my Infinite Year


Note: This poem was written in response to a New Yorker article, “What We’re Watching Under Quarantine”. It makes reference to several of the science fiction/fantasy shows we’ve been streaming over the last months.

Life is stranger than science fiction
when “Devs” seems oddly anodyne and quaint –
when I respond to the queasy colors
of “Dispatches from Elsewhere”
with a longing I usually reserve for
a wish to return to the expansive fields
of my most moving meditations
when I am filled with the substance
of a true elsewhere –
when “Omniscient” rolls its gritty Brazil
and surveillance of indignance into the asphalt
of parking lots where a betrayal of shocking proportions
is meant to confound us,
but it is as nothing when the surveillance is real
and being used to do a better job in Asia
at corralling a killer than the
so-called great-again nation –
when “Ragnarok” is so delicious
in its icy Nordic-ness
because we can imagine that a virus
could not survive the glacial conditions.
Life is stranger than science fiction
when downtown Las Vegas
seen from a drone’s eye
looks like a movie set,
not because of the schlocky neon glare
of misplaced Eiffel Towers,
but because it is completely empty,
waiting for tumbleweeds to tumble through
a minute before high noon –
when one beer company advertises that it is pulling
all sports investment to support the work of
The Red Cross caring for people in stadiums,
and they seem like the good guys
to an avowed non-drinker  –
and when another obliviously runs ad after ad
during every break showing pretty people
drinking like gutted fish,
gills pumping to suck in the missing air
squandered by non-existent respirators.
Life is stranger than science fiction
when a national president calls a state governor
“that woman” because she dares to demand more,
and refuses to let the Vice President speak
to those deemed enemy for disagreeing.
Life is stranger than science fiction when,
walking down the driveway to my mailbox
to place a letter to the father I cannot see,
locked down in his nursing home,
I stop for a moment in the sun
and discover a cedar waxwing at my shoulder,
allowing me the gift of his brilliant yellow tail
and the serrated snap of super-saturated
scarlet wingtips
and the delicate brush of ivory eyeliner –
colors more cardinal than Dispatches from Elsewhere,
and I realize there is nowhere I would rather be.


Note: This poem was written in response to a Shelburne News (Vermont) article, “Split-Second Decision Saves Life”. The “K-9 Billy” of the poem is a rescue dog who saved the life described in the article.

It’s starting to feel like grief.
I have a frame to the future
and I know where this will all go
                                                                good places
But there may be so much more pain
along the way
The two pushy angry older white men
driving unVermont
their rage
            and frustration
                                     and fear
                                                  and fury at lack of control
            and pentup energy
                                                             usually used to eat competitors alive
and will their wives into compliant submission
blast the doors off my car as they pass
           over a double-yellow line
                       in a school zone
that now means nothing for a time

while “elderly white male”
             wanders in the woods
                          of his wintery mind
and the landscape outside a front door
he does not recognize

I have a frame to the future
and I know where this will all go
                                                              good places
But you know when you lose someone you love?
Those unexpected moments
            that catch you
creep up behind you
             and hitch the grief up out of your bruised
and into your mouth?
And then the grief is loosed
I looked into the eyes of K-9 Billy
and hitched in sorrow
for what has to be lost
on the way
             to reclaiming
what we have overlooked.
“The male had left his residence
without shoes or a jacket
with the air temperature
at 22 degrees”
It was devastating.
In this moment of global solitary confinement,
it was devastating
to be – in my imaging –
that anonymized elderly male
wandering lost in the woods
and in his mind
The loneliness
the absolute emptiness
of knowing he ended up
down an embankment
lying on the ground
next to a stream,
in trees,
where he tangled up in the underbrush.
But K-9 Billy saved him.
And in K-9 Billy’s eyes I see all the humanity
that humanity has lacked in calling down
this corona scourge
so that maybe
one day
it can
with the eyes of K-9 Billy.


Note: This poem was written in early February 2020 and accepted for PoemCity Montpelier 2020. It had ended up being presciently reflective of the experiences with the relativity of time induced by the “corona pause”.

The hunched granite imagines that time flies for the evergreen.
The lush shadowed pine imagines that time soars for the rolling pebble.
The shock of birch imagines that time frees its leaf, and wonders the sights it sees.
The leaf imagines that time stands still for its white sheltering stand, and wishes to be home.
The field sedge imagines that time is an eternal wheel,
and the visiting dragonflies figments of the imagination winking in and out of existence.
The dragonfly longs to catch up with the hummingbird, wishing time would stretch its sap
and freeze the hummingbird in place.
The bark knows time only as it is carried away by the beetle.
The beetle awaits decay, the time when it can do its work.
The child imagines the rain will never stop striping window with prison bars, 
time-robber of spring when life comes out to play and time disappears in the face of the Sun
who wonders if she will ever catch the tail of the Cosmos.


Note: This poem was written in response to a Seven Days Vermont article, Sunset Drive-In to Re-Open Friday and a New York Times opinion piece, Covid-19 Reality Has A Liberal Bias.

Opening with abandon
Open to buy, buy, buy
Pushing pubs and pork and pills
Which is what got us here in the first place
But P.S., I am not a consumer
I am not nostalgic for the 1950s
and the veiled and unveiled glee
at a killer roaming the land,
doing the wetwork that certain 
starboard-tacking tribes of this age’s Reds
enviously wish they could do openly –
and increasingly are –
picking off those deemed worthless:
brown folk
elders –
cheering on the viral brother in arms
for its sniper efficiency
and fanning orgiastic dreams
of vanilla sundaes
and green lawns
and root beer floats
that are now decreed by law to be blond
as all shades of brown have been banned –
but otherwise you are not to tell the vanillas
what to do
or what they cannot buy
I am not nostalgic for
carhops and mad men and poodle skirts
and credit card slavery
I am not jonesing
to oil an economy 
that eats its own
to die for the Dow,
so much sausage for the grinder


Note: A close friend observed while riding on a bike path along Lake Champlain during the pandemic that families walking the path were “weandering” (pronounced like “meandering”). Such a cool concept and brilliant new word, so it of course immediately sparked a poem. Thanks, KS!

Some would call it aimless,
but let’s call it the new meditation.
Some would call it listless,
but let’s call it being.
Some would call it dazed,
but let’s call it relaxed into release.
Some would call it unaware,
but let’s call it animistic ecstasy.
Some would call it pointless,
but let’s call it beauty.
Some would call it weak,
but let’s call it love
that cannot be breached.
A surprise found in the dark.
The hyperdrive turned off.
The separation of distraction
powered down.
The dominating of space
replaced by drifting as dandelions
with no particular place to be.
A papa in the path – no cellphone
A pea from the pod – no TikTok
of time running down
A little greyhaired girl of air – no wrinkles
flinging arms wide
on a blue bike
while daughter watches
mama’s years fly away
in silvered threads.
We are weandering,
bonded into new orbits
that may we hope
shall not pass.

Our Debut Voicing Art Book

Voicing Art: Poetry of Space | Place | Time
is now available!

Poetry inspired by works of art, the art of nature and the exploration of beauty, perception and insight through the cartography of the unseen.


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