Franklin Countys First News

Poet’s Corner: Pandemic in Springtime by John Rosenwald

Pandemic in Springtime

Each day we walk the streets of our town:
few cars, no kids, clouds threatening.
On the sidewalk across the way
a man we don’t know greets us: “A fine day!”
and it is—for the snow is melting.

Back home. Our neighbors, heading out
for their own walk, stop as we reach our door,
chat for a moment, then go back inside,
bring muffins fresh from the oven.
We answer with home-made shortbread.

Next door our new neighbor
sees me starting to sweep away winter leaves,
and pops out the back door. We talk
of the tree limb that fell in January,
now lying between us, and agree
next year it will make fine wood for our fires.

Inside, the cellphone is buzzing.
Our colleague in China,
who goes by the name “happy-go-lucky,”
sends tales of how they’ve survived,
how shops begin to reopen.

Make no mistake:
the nights are still long.

A friend from the countryside
calls on our landline. For more than four weeks
she has seen no one, yet her stove
brings her warmth. She has a roof over her head.

Some are not so lucky.
We do what we can.
Without hope,
without neighbors and friends,
the nights would be longer still.
With luck we will survive.

John Rosenwald
5 April 2020

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