Wed | Jul 8, 2020

Meeting Ground: Poems in the time of COVID-19

Published:Sunday | May 31, 2020 | 12:06 AM
‘Blue Mangrove’ by Adrian Augier
‘Blue Mangrove’ by Adrian Augier

In the two poems below, the personas are in isolation, but that doesn’t stop the creativity bred from their pandemic observations. – Ann-Margaret Lim (Meeting Ground coordinator)

April 2020

My iPhone keeps me company.

Plays music for me, shows pictures

of friends, what they’re thinking.

Lights up the dark when I’m missing you,

brings other poets’ words with a touch.

iTouch, order groceries, watch

the latest updates, debate the far right

on Twitter: Should we go back out there?

Greet the second wave? Or stay safe

inside our phones, iPads, Netflix?

Zoom conference: The kids text me

from other rooms, stationary too long.

I listen to Dire Straits while writing this poem,

think of you, thirty miles away. Think:

The virus decided for us.

As doctors and old people die in waves,

our sons skateboard in empty parks at night.

Julie Mahfood (Jamaican in Canada)


It is April. Rains must wait.

I do not leave my house.

I am planted here releasing blue zemis

from a mangroved canvas.

Their mood is phthalo.

Easter light adheres to hills like silk.

A merciless bronze

brushes eyelids, browbones.

Chores must wait.

I am planted here

and will not leave.

Not for insensible streets

oblivious to changing light,

emptied of their last currency.

No brows,

no cheekbones there.

No highlighted lips

with hints of smiling.

Here, the hiss and chuckle

of the tawny *ti-born tree,

the molting gomier

thriving through this season,

the brazen bougainvillea,

all taunt rainclouds with fire.

Surely tomorrow, when zemis walk,

the eye of sky will widen, weep.

Adrian Augier (St Lucia)

*ti-born tree: scientific name: croton guildingi: deciduous seasonal forest mix: Indigenous to Martinique, St Lucia, St Vincent, the Grenadines, Grenada, Trinidad and South America.