April is not just the cruelest month, it’s Poetry Month. I was unaware of this when, at the end of March, I began exploring how the arts could help get me through weeks at home. Live Zoom events turned out to be a great gift, as did museum websites and Netflix. Being in touch with friends and family feels more important now, and calls and Zoom visits have added perspective and joy to days of confinement.
What I didn’t expect was that poetry would similarly stabilize and uplift me. I ended up posting a poem a day on Facebook and falling in love with poetry for the first time since college. Now that Poetry Month is over, I have turned my experience into a poem of my own.
by Laura Foti Cohen
Six feet apart or six feet under?
How long can this go on, I wonder.
Spiraling toward the cusp of lawless,
I turn to poetry for solace:
John Greenleaf Whittier says, “Don’t Quit.”
There’s time, assures T.S. Eliot.
Frost and Hughes offer poems two-lined;
One was assertive, one lonely, confined.
“Song” by that wonderful Longfellow
Felt made for these times—it lands just so:
“Stay, stay at home, my heart, and rest;
Home-keeping hearts are happiest.”
“The thing with feathers” can free a “caged bird”;
The wisdom of “Mothers” must be heard.
I spy Ferlinghetti’s “Underwear,”
“Be Drunk” with Charles Baudelaire.
“Kindness” is a forever friend;
Clifton will help me sail through to the end.
Oliver notes that the world’s still spinning;
After “Wild Geese” I’m crying and grinning.
Henley and Borges feed my powers:
I’ll captain my soul and buy my own flowers.
Mistral tells me “I Am Not Alone”
As long as there’s Zoom and a telephone.