weeks into the 2020 pandemic
even early this morning
in these days of
only computer screens
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
behind the locked doors of an untold
million other echoes, the same
and we will all practice
until that sound becomes low enough
that even then that most gentle language
of silence will recognize
its quiet hum
almost music almost word
that same hum translated
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.