Pandemic Poetry–2021 Edition, #17

Grow little plants!

Hard to be upset about lockdown when the weather is beautiful. In fact, I was a bit disappointed I was asked to go into work today. I would have jumped at the opportunity on a rainy lockdown day, but today … well I would rather have been in the garden.

Spring has sprung
It’s time to plant
Your vegetables and flowers.

The birds are busy
In the trees with
Twiggy nests and bowers.

Hoe in hand
I soon forget
The viral threat we’re under.

With bright warm sun
And growing things
The season’s full of wonder.

Pandemic Poetry–2021 Edition, #16

poetry fence
Ah, the days of plentiful building wrap…

After 65 poems, I’ve run out of the building wrap I’ve been writing them on. I’m amazed it’s lasted as long as it did—who would have thought the builders would throw away that much useful material?

In preparation for the exhaustion of my construction waste supply, I’ve been repurposing some magnet boards I made years ago for Bugmobile programmes. I now have a pair of chalkboards that I’ll attach to my makeshift fence out front. Now as long as my chalk holds out …

I’ve finished off the very last scrap
Of discarded building wrap.

You might hope that I am done—
More lousy verse won’t see the sun.

But you know what they always say—
Where there’s will there’s a way.

Tomorrow’s verse won’t look the same
But it’ll be just as lame.

Pandemic Poetry–2021 Edition, #15

quilt
The stalled quilt project.

All of New Zealand south of Auckland is now at alert level 3. To most of the rest of the world, level 3 is simply “lockdown”, but to us it represents an important easing of restrictions. Just like level 4, we have to stay in our bubbles, work from home, and not travel, but in level 3 we’re allowed to sell and purchase items that aren’t food or medicine, provided we can do it online and have contactless delivery or pickup.

I was terribly smug at the start of this lockdown, knowing I had a quilting project underway, for which I had all the supplies I needed. On day 1 of lockdown, I spread out the top, batting and backing, only to discover I was 14 cm short on batting. Horrors!

I’ve spent lockdown making do with other craft projects—things I never particularly intended to make, but had the supplies for. I’m looking forward to the opportunity to finally be able to order that narrow strip of batting I need for my quilt.

We go! We go
To level three—
A lot like level four.
But it’s nice to
Click and collect
From your favourite store.

Pandemic Poetry–2021 Edition, #13

I’m not fond of acrostics in general, but in my exploration of different poetry forms this lockdown I’ve written one for today—the 13th day in lockdown.

Like aircraft we manoeuvre
Out of the way of oblivious
Children and dogs
Keeping our
Distance, even
Outdoors.
Waving to
Neighbours.

Doing our part to
Avert
Yet another
1. We don’t need a
3rd lockdown.

Field of Dreams

If you mulch it, they will come.

When we first bought our property, we started right in on soil improvements where we knew the vegetable garden was going to be, long before we even had house plans finalised. That work was terribly depressing. The topsoil had been stripped off by the developer, and what was left was compacted clay studded with rocks. It barely grew weeds, and the combined effort of a rotary hoe and hand tilling only managed to penetrate about 5 cm into the soil. There were no worms, no beetles—and we later learned, no nutrients either.

I wondered if we’d made a huge mistake buying the land.

Since then, we’ve poured compost and manure into the soil, mulched heavily, and done our best to avoid compacting the soil so painstakingly loosened.

As I began turning beds this spring, I was stunned by the number of worms in the soil—thousands upon thousands of them. The clay is honeycombed by their tunnels, and you can’t dig a hoe in without bisecting a few (sorry!). It is truly astonishing.

Where did all those worms come from? Were they there all along, but hiding deep below the surface? Did the few worms there when we first moved in simply reproduce like mad when we started adding organic material to the soil? I’ll never know, but I begin to have hope for this garden. 

I feel a little like Ray Kinsella (Kevin Costner) in Field of Dreams—create the right conditions, and the players will appear.

Pandemic Poetry–2021 Edition, #12

Another day, another … day. The good news is I’ve gotten work done in the garden around the rain we’ve had the past few days. I cracked open the compost pile, and the final product is excellent—always like Christmas when you discover you’ve got six cubic metres of compost to play with!

Unfortunately, it looks like the rain is going to hang around for a few more days, so any more work out there may have to wait.

Rain, rain, go away
So we can go out and play.
Covid’s got us stuck at home.
Lockdown means we cannot roam.
Because we’re tired of being lazy
Rainy weather makes us crazy.

Pandemic Poetry–2021 Edition, #11

Had my second Covid vaccination on Thursday. After 20 hours of fever, I’m finally feeling better, and am pleased to be fully vaccinated. Today’s very short poem reflects my complete inability to focus or do anything of substance yesterday.

We wait upon the daily briefing
Listen for the count
Hope the numbers decrease further
So we can go out.

Pandemic Poetry–2021 Edition, #10

Happy National Poetry Day to all my Kiwi friends!

If we weren’t in lockdown, I would have done some poetry with my students this week. But they’ve been about as interested in schoolwork as I have during the past week. For today’s poem, I imagined the educational tasks their parents were setting them.

School today
Will be held outdoors
Beginning as soon as
You finish your chores.

For maths you’ll measure
How far you can throw
A three kilo rock.
It’s not easy, you know.

The bees will be
Your new science teachers.
They’ll teach about flowers
And six-legged creatures.

PE will consist of
Cartwheels and rolls,
Wrestling the dog,
And digging deep holes.

And writing?
Let’s just forget about that.
Instead you’ll go hunt
For mice with the cat.

Pandemic Poetry–2021 Edition, #9

Today’s poem is a bop. The rules for a bop are intriguing:

Stanza 1: 6 lines long, introduces a problem.
Stanza 2: 8 lines long, elaborates on the problem.
Stanza 3: 6 lines long, solves (or describes a failed solution to) the problem.
After each stanza is a 1-line refrain.
There are no requirements of line length, rhyme or rhythm. Just enough structure to inspire.

I zone out as
the meeting drags on.
Someone’s turned their
video off, someone’s left
their audio on.
The awkward online dance.

The sun shines brighter outside.

Would anyone notice
if I stepped out
to water the plants,
feed the cat
weed the garden?
Would anyone care?
Would they envy
my boldness?

The sun shines brighter outside.

Video off, audio on mute
I tiptoe out,
giggling as I go.
The air is warm.
Flowers nod their greeting
as I reach for the garden gloves.

The sun shines brighter outside.