Pandemic Journal 1/4/2020 – of unicorns and contagion

A meditation on a pandemic life of privilege. As a fairly recent retiree, I was an early adopter of staying at home having followed the sorrowful and ruthless pandemic's progress through China and Asia and then Italy and Spain and Europe and now the hapless USA and Canada and Mexico and on through India - and well all around the globe. Such a long and torturous road. In the hope that poetry is contagious (we know it is therapeutic) -- here is a poem by one of my very favourite poets Phyllis Webb, long-time resident of Salt Spring Island on the wavy west coast edge of Canada's Pacific Ocean. The poem in the video is voiced by yours truly. Behind the voice, you will sense the pandemic hum of the oven baking salmon for dinner, the whirr of the computer cooling down, the whirr of the furnace heating up as the temperature drops to -22C shortly after a snow storm. Such is a lucky life at latitude 53.

Pandemic Journal 27/2/2020 – only connect

This pandemic, like a dark bird of history pierced the thin membrane of our personal world. Ripped open we feel the call of friends lost and and found. Their voices sound in our dreams. We bear witness to our loss. Our bounty. And reach across to others. ...In this new era, COVID-19 time, this impulse to connect, an essential element in our well-being, is enabled by our digital technology. Isolated in our homes or wherever we find ourselves, connections stretch out the minutes of our day into a zone of contemporaneous aliveness. We humans peer at each other through machines. Our bodies relax or contort into awkward postures scrunched down on a chair - or standing, our weight on one foot, at the sink.

Split

Two things are happening simultaneously. A propellor whirls. My being is moving in two directions. My body is twinned in two places at once. The present tense and my long ago past collide every morning. I am in 2020 Oaxaca City, Mexico City. And in my great grandmother’s nineteenth-century English home.

A Ghazal for the Dead – a University of Alberta memorial for flight PS752

A very sad occasion. The UofAlberta memorial to those who lost their lives in the deadly Tehran crash on January 8, 2020. I have felt grief-stricken by the hate and cruelty, the loss of life. So I was glad to attend with my neighbour, friend, and colleague - a wonderful young woman Zohreh and her beautiful family. The space overflowed with fellow mourners.