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this morning

by Bruce Kauffman

          weeks into the 2020 pandemic

even early this morning
in these days of
only computer screens
screen's flesh
          not soft to the touch
          but index finger against -
                    still slightly warm
and a divided comatose pulse
between it and me         it and us
          them and us
          us and us and us and us
but screen’s inaudible heartbeat
          will connect us still
          will hold each a hand when
                    there are no hands to hold

today while there are still whispers
          we will whisper, yes
          this too shall pass
and that whisper will first be lost
          then found
behind the locked doors of an untold
million other echoes, the same
          welling behind

and we will all practice
until that sound becomes low enough
          soft enough
that even then that most gentle language
of silence will recognize
its quiet hum
          almost music         almost word

that same hum translated
          proclaimed once
in an oldest of language —

     This first day after all the trees of the world
     were meant to, but did not, fall.
                    We shall forever call 'Today'.

About this Poem

From Bruce Kauffman, on "this morning"

"I was asked to include a short statement about this poem. Asked to write about what or why or how it was written. I can only say that as I sat down to begin to write the poem in my journal, I'd turned off my computer – and there was this starting image – during this period of isolation, all of us of late on our computers all the time. And many of us alone in it."

"For the past twenty-five years, at least, of my writing life, after discovering the process for writing I still use today, and what I call 'intuitive writing', I have let go of feeling that I am the 'creator' of my poetry – but instead the transcriber, the conduit, the pen itself. It's as if the poems 'arrive' when I am quiet enough to receive them. In this particular poem, I felt the strong as if presence of my favourite, now deceased poet, W. S. Merwin. My edits in this, I believe, were cutting those lines of cleverness, my own – and allowing simply the voice of the muse to remain."

About the Poetry in the Time of a Pandemic Project

Kingston Poet Laureate Jason Heroux has invited four other local poets – Bruce Kauffman, Eric Folsom, Sadiqa de Meijer and Alyssa Cooper – to contribute pandemic-related poetry between now and September as part of a project entitled Poetry in the Time of a Pandemic. The first poem was Jason's "All People" with "this morning" being the second. Watch for the next three poems on the Poetry Blackboard on July 2, August 1 and September 1.

About the Poetry Blackboard

The Poetry Blackboard showcases poems curated by Kingston's Poet Laureate and written by Kingston poets. There's a new poem every month, written by poets living and dead, historical and contemporary, published and unpublished, adults and children, giving full range to the cultural voice of Kingston. Started in 2015 by Helen Humphreys, the Poetry Blackboard will be continued as of 2019 by Jason Heroux.

News About the Poetry Blackboard

We wish to thank Helen Humphreys, Kingston's second Poet Laureate, for her generous support of emerging and established poets in Kingston through library programming and our Poetry Blackboard project. Throughout her four years as Poet Laureate, Helen curated a digital collection of poetry to showcase the talents of local creators of all ages, both historic and contemporary. Helen also offered several opportunities for emerging poets to develop their craft, offering group workshops and one-on-one mentorship. Her active engagement with the library and community has been greatly appreciated.

We welcome our incoming Poet Laureate, Jason Heroux, and look forward to working together to continue the Poetry Blackboard and develop new community programming.

Previously Published Poems