Islander in the City:


Blue Tears Mazu,Taiwan/ Yale Yeh Astrophotography.

I see myself in deep thought

Clearing the kitchen sink

After sharing modest meal

With my grandson

Now getting used

To on-line classes.


In those dreary months

You learn the art

Of coping

Of planning meals

Of making do

With reduced income

While turning to Chopin nocturnes

Early in the morning.


In those dreary months

You learn the art

Of talking to plants

Re-arranging pots

Pruning branches

Pouring soil

To thinning layers

After constant watering.


The months of panic deadlines

Are gone

You settle and accept

What has become of you

As slave of the computer.


You turn away

From writing that pays

And focus on verses

That provides nutrients for the soul

And less food on the table.


A lot to be thankful for

A healthy body

Sturdy knees

Mind that still works

And pure contentment

As you see your grandkids

Grow and seemingly adjusted

To the hard times

Such as they are.


You face the reality

Of viruses

For what they are.


They come

When you least expect them

Wreaking havoc on the lives

Of friends and colleagues

And celebrities

All over the world.


More than the threat of hunger

Beyond the threat of sudden demise

You see extreme kindness

Taking shape

Where once they were all busy

Slaying assorted goals.


As the weeks turn into months

You learn to appreciate

The beauty of silence

Of being alone

Of being patient

Of looking like

A sturdy picture

Of perseverance.


That silence is all you need

To comprehend

Why real people care

And to be patient

With a government

That has seen better days.


A lockdown

Divides your being

Into useful parts.


I like the part

That appreciates quiet streets

I like the part

That transforms sensuality

Into guideposts for spiritual living

I like the part

That transforms suffering

Into bottomless

Sources of empathy.


It is another year

Of uncertain lockdown.


I like to retrace

How I coped with it.


I am still alive

I can still smell flowers

I can taste even bland food


The anatomy of lockdown

Is breaking the parts

Of gloom

And turning them

Into pieces of hope.

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