Tag Archives: poem

Another Poem for a Pandemic

This is the third of my pandemic poetry trilogy (others are here and here) – so you can all breathe a sigh of relief. It is the last one! It is ripped off of a far better poem by John Betjeman, and there is a tribute herein to the wonderful Roz Chast. The reference to “Ol’ Mr. Corona” is something I stole from this cartoon – priceless!

In our Toronto Home: Poem for a Pandemic

Let me throw this disposable mask out
As my paranoia oozes.
Did I get too close to that guy in Loblaws?
Should I decontaminate my shoeses?
As I douse my hands in soap,
Listen to this lady’s hope.

Gracious God, please stop the virus
SARS-CoV-2, or Covid-19,
For whatever you might call it,
It is remarkably quite mean.
But dear God, whatever path you take,
Spare me from Ol’ Mr. Corona’s wake.

Keep my body hale and hardy,
Do your best with my heart and soul.
Oh, and also save my sweetheart
And the other folks I hold.
And, as we chat, sweet Jesus,
Save me and mine from all diseases.

Think of what dear Canada stands for:
Holding Americans in contempt;
Peacekeeping; multicult; and healthcare
Do make we Canucks verklempt.
But Lord, remember with all the muscle you flex
Protect this pair in the Annex.

I worship now on YouTube, Zoom, all that slew,
As no more than one shall gather in a pew.
So God, know my faith has not ceased,
Though I do not at all miss sharing the peace:
Handshakes, awkward smiles – delivered with no flair!
Things that make an introvert’s nightmare.

I miss the singing and King James –
For his version is the best.
None of that “Good News” heresy
Could ever offer me much rest.
I miss stained glass and Healey Willan’s organ,
And Johann Sebastian’s music – ach, JSB, guten morgen!

Now my worries are unburdened,
What a joy to talk with you.
Though these days seem filled with trials,
I know you will see me through.
And while, dear Lord, you do bewitch
I need to binge some more Netflix.

This is Just to Say: Quarantine Edition

With apologies to William Carlos Williams.

This is Just to Say

I have eaten

the unsalted Saltines

that were in the

pantry

and the salted pistachios

and the President’s Choice oatmeal cookies

even though it is Lent

and I vowed no sweets

and the rest of the Kosher Dills

that were in the

refrigerator

along with a chunk of that pricey Parmigiano-Reggiano

you told me was

only for pasta

and a swig of the

Hennessy (right from the bottle)

though you said we

shouldn’t squander it

also I took one

of your Ambien last night

 

These things

I know you had probably

hoped would last us all

through quarantine

 

Forgive me

I was stressed

and it made me

feel better

Epiphany

Yes, it was yesterday. I missed it. Well, I didn’t miss it. I was here – I just forgot to post. I wanted to post something because I love the story of the Epiphany, and also, it was my late brother’s birthday – he would have been 71. So in tribute to Alan and to the day, a recording of Alec Guinness reading Eliot’s “Journey of the Magi.” There does indeed exist a clip of Eliot reading it, but he doesn’t read it as well as Guinness. One can be a brilliant writer, I guess, but lack theatrical flair or the gift of phrasing. Guinness has both.

Merry Christmas

Christmas Card

When the white stars talk together like sisters
And when the winter hills
Raise their grand semblance in the freezing night,
Somewhere one window
Bleeds like the brown eye of an open force.

Hills, stars.
White stars that stand above the eastern stable.

Look down and offer Him
The dim adoring light of your belief
Whose small Heart bleeds with infinite fire.

Shall not this Child
(When we shall hear the bells of His amazing voice)
Conquer the winter of our hateful century? 

And when His Lady Mother leans upon the crib,
Lo, with what rapiers
Those two loves fence and flame their brilliancy! 

Here in this straw lie planned the fires
That will melt all our sufferings:
He is our Lamb, our holocaust! 

And one by one the shepherds, with their snowy feet,
Stamp and shake out their hats upon the stable dirt,
And one by one kneel down to look upon their Life. 

  • Thomas Merton