Poems for a Pandemic From Our Poetry Community
As the pandemic progresses month after month, people are left feeling the isolating aftermath of it all.
With the chaos surrounding us, I have found comfort speaking to others in the poetry community. So many of us are trying to make sense of this time through poems, and reading the words of people from all over the world has helped remind me that we’re never truly alone.
Community is powerful, and so is poetry. While I can’t feature every single poem submitted to me, I was so moved by the unique voices and perspectives in each piece. Thank you from the bottom of my heart to every person who had the courage to submit their quarantine pieces to me for consideration. Here are just a few of the incredible pieces people sent to me these past few weeks that have been written during this confusing time of quarantine.
“grief moves like the moon
it goes through phases
sometimes it’s a sliver
the darkness creeping in from the
when you least expect it
sometimes it takes up more space
you feel it just after the sun sets
when you have a minute to sit down
sometimes it’s full
because the sun and the moon
have moved close to each other in the
This piece has such a sincere sadness to it, with an underlying loneliness that is so relatable during this time. Grief is rising in our lives in so many different ways, coming and going in different phases of intensity. Sometimes it’s subtle, and sometimes it’s heart-shattering. The last few lines resonate so deeply as we are all feeling the pain of the distance between us. We may be far from one another physically, but this piece ignites a desire in our hearts to push back and fight against the solitude. May we all seek each other during this time however we can, including—and perhaps especially—those who feel trapped in a phase of darkness.
Ar-Gui P. Villanueva
“we thought many things
during the pandemic
if they were positive or not,
may we always look at life,
mixed with colors,
and turn to believe
in the beauty of it—
like the clouds”
The sense of hope is so strong in this piece, beautifully illustrated through the imagery of clouds. Clouds paint the sky in both stormy and serene weather. There is a beauty to them in each sky, no matter how starkly different the circumstance or the day has been. This pandemic has given us a storm of stress, heartbreak, and uncertainty. It has given us moments of grief and reflection, of anger and fear of the unknown in full effect. But this piece encourages us to start the process of believing in the beauty that is still in store for us. This is a sentiment we desperately need right now, and I hope it brings you comfort as it did for me.
“A choir rides on the evening breeze.
Some voices drop to the concrete below,
numb because they failed him.
Some voices soar like doves
skimming across waterfalls,
fluttering because they love him.
And many more burst out of dandelion wisps and join,
entwining themselves in sweet harmony
as they rejoice and herald him home.”
I spoke with Cajucom-Uy about this piece, and he told me that he dedicated this poem to a relative who passed away during quarantine. I was so moved by his words written in mourning, and it reminded me to take a moment to reflect on all the lives that have been lost. Families have been forever changed, and hearts have been shattered in inconceivable ways. This pandemic is heavy, and for some, the grief is even heavier. This piece is such a profound tribute to a lost loved one and such a poignant reminder of what so many people are going through right now.
“We’re in this life restricted.
A place we have not been before.
So, I go to my dreams to be free
and be all yours once more.
To sail among the stars at night.
To dare to hug the moon.
I know I will be yours once more, my friend.
I know it will be soon.”
This time of restriction has made it hard to dream, hope, and imagine. This piece exemplifies the desire to reconnect with the things that feel so far out of reach right now: community and friendship. Much of life right now feels like a nightmare, but that’s even more of a reason for us to fight to keep our dreams alive. We have to remind ourselves that someday this will pass, and we will be able to spend the quality time with people we are desperately seeking. We aren’t alone during this time, and we aren’t alone in yearning for connection and intimacy. But until the pandemic passes, we can continue to hope and wait together.
As I got the chance to read so many beautiful submissions, I was so humbled by the opportunity to get a glimpse into what the pandemic has looked like for so many different people. It’s been a time of heartbreak and of hope, and it’s hard to get comfortable living in the tension those two extremes.
I don’t know how long this pandemic will last, but I do know this: the comfort we get from being in community with one another will outlast this health crisis. We desperately need each other, and although we can’t all physically be together, I hope these words have bridged the gap and reminded you that, even now, you’re not alone.