“You have a book beside every chair in the house,” he said.
I looked at him.
“Yes, that’s how I’m getting through the pandemic.”
He looked at me.
“Here’s how it works: I’m stuck at home, so I read a poem, a devotion, something uplifting every few hours. The poets and writers are my friends. (They don’t know I’m dependent on their writings, but I am. Reading what they’ve written helps me.) Also, it’s a quiet pastime, so I can still hear the birds.”
He was quiet.
“Let me read one short poem to you. Try to imagine it as I read.”
The vernal equinox.
How important it must be
that I am alive, and walking,
and that I have written
This morning the sun stood
right at the end of the road
and waited for me.
(Taken from Winter Morning Walks: 100 Postcards to Jim Harrison, 2000.)
“That was written on a postcard by Ted Kooser. In my opinion, he’s a master poet.”
“You mean that’s the whole poem?”
“Yes, that’s it, the entire poem. You or I could be the someone referred to. I have learned so much from this poet just by reading his poems. He shows me something I’ve seen before, but he helps me see that the sun waited for him. AND, if it waited for him, it also can wait for me. It’s another way of seeing life. I’ve seen so many things at the end of the road but never thought about them as waiting for me. His words show me another way of seeing. It adds to my joy. Does that make any sense?”
A nod. “Of course, it’s perfectly clear….”
She laughs and hits him on his sore knee.
He winces. They laugh together.
“No kidding,” she says. “During this social-distancing time—the green of that barberry, the smell of the stew, an image found in a poem or a new little thought—those are the things that comfort me. They add a little happy to my life. Probably like sunshine affects you.”
“I get it. I really do,” he says. “Actually, I’m glad you write and read. I can see it helps you as much as hearing a song helps me.”
“Exactly. And what would we do without the birds, trees, sunsets, songs, and my books scattered everywhere?”
May God continue to show us ways to cope with slower days,
P.S. – April is National Poetry Month, and it’s another Covid-19 month. My thanks to the poets and writers (living and dead) who make coping a little easier for some of us. Below you'll find links to the Amazon pages of my poetry books, in case you're in search of poetry to begin or add to your collection. All purchases appreciated!
Books. Everywhere I sit. Photograph by Pat Durmon, April 2020.