Friday, March 12, 2021

One Year Later—New Murfin Verse

One year ago yesterday the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the Coronavirus pandemic and suddenly, as if a light switch had been flicked everything changed.  We shut down and retreated to our homes, got used to mantras about masks, social distancing, and washing our hands for as long as it takes to sing Happy Birthday.

I was getting ready for an event that I had been working on for months—Poets in Resistance II scheduled for Friday, March 13 at the Tree of Life Unitarian Universalist Congregation in McHenry, Illinois.  A year ago today, I had to abruptly cancel the event and scramble to contact all of the poets and volunteers and let the public know.  Still, I expected we could reschedule in a couple of month or so.

My 71 birthday was coming up on St. Patrick’s Day and our whole extended clan was expected to gather to celebrate that and other March natal anniversaries the next weekend.  It will be this Easter, at best, when most of us have had our shots that we will be able to gather again and dote on the babies—great granddaughter Sienna and granddaughter Matilda born 9 months ago in the midst of the plague.

As Uncle Joe Biden was addressing the nation and I was waiting to begin yet another Zoom meeting, my mind wandered.  When I finally got to sleep last night I had a dream which woke me and I scrambled to write it down before it evaporated like so many night visions.

An eastern tiger salamander emerging from under the leaves.

One Year Later

The Anniversary of the Corona Virus Pandemic

March 11, 2021


I dreamed that we were salamanders

            in the window well

            after a long drought

            and a horrid winter.


We buried ourselves

            in the mud and the mire

            below that thick layer

            of leaves blown down

            from the catalpa.


We are waiting for spring rains

            to fill the well

            and some early balmy days

            to warm the mud.


Then one fine day

            the children down the street

            will come, bend over,

            brush the leaves aside

            and squeal with delight.


They will run home for a sand pail

            or a mother’s pot

            to come and scoop us up

            in all of our wriggling,

            sliming mottled green and black.


And then will run home

            to show us off.


—Patrick Murfin


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