Saturday, August 8th, 2020

Pandemic Musings From 3 Generations Of Women

Published on April 28, 2020 by   ·   5 Comments Pin It
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Your family may be zooming and texting, this family of mellifluously gifted Matriarchs are sharing poetry with each other – and us.

Meet the McQueen-Blumberg Family: Wendy Wolff Blumberg, 87, Dina McQueen, 57, and Aster Wendy Nuguise McQueen, 12

Grandmother:

Words by Wendy Wolff Blumberg, 87

Pandemic—one poet’s words

In this quagmire of a virus

That spreads like quicksilver

Over the country     everywhere

Yes     even before here

The world

I would write of the sadness

Concern that borders fear

Inside me

I feel with my every breath

But words are no longer

Liquid

They wrap themselves around

Tears

That speak for them

In inarticulate language

I struggle to express

 

In these weeks of reported

Illness

Reported deaths

Numbers fall into thousands

Thousands

Beyond my ability to conceive

This is real

I pray for them

Pray for the Light of the Universe

To surround every hospital

Every blessed one that cares

For the ill

Closes the eyes of the dead

Alone     alone     alone

Their families

With the rest of us

Sequestered now

At home     at home

 

2

 

Every morning

I open the shutters

Of my bedroom windows

To look up

Into the sky

Is it clear     or covered

With clouds

Is the distant hill

Distinct     or shrouded in mist

Each day is of itself

Hour follows hour

It is as it has always

Been

 

One morning

I look     I see

A new leaf     then another

And another

On the bare branches

Of the Crepe Myrtle

It is late March

Time for new leaves

To arrive on this tree

 

And they do

 

For everything there is a season

And a time for every matter

Under heaven.

Ecclesiastes 3.1

Mother

Words by Dina McQueen, 57

Pandemic Memory #2, April 2, 2020

“When I was a child I had a fever …”

They’ve put me in an older brother’s room, the only bedroom of five that’s situated close to my parents’ room. I sleep in a dense fog that fills the room with dread. I sleep, and I sleep, and when I wake up some time long before morning, my night clothes are soaked. I hear voices, loud voices. These adult murmurings won’t leave my brain; there is nothing I can do to make them shut up and just let me go back to sleep.

I step out of the bed, tip-toeing on my ballerina feet. I am nine years old and I am sick. But I don’t really know this. What I know is that I must find a way to quiet the voices and I am too young; I have no power.

I slither out the borrowed bedroom door, my back sliding down the hall so quietly towards my parents’ bedroom. I don’t want the voices to know I’m on a mission to banish them. Slowly, quietly, inch-by-inch I finally reach the closed bedroom door where I hear my father snoring. Carefully I turn the doorknob, and silently I reach my mother’s side of the bed. The voices in my head are still raging.

I tap the pile of blankets—tap, tap, tap. My father stirs, jolts.

“What!? What’s the matter?!” He’s angry, I think. My heart is a frightened butterfly.

Mother quickly rises, scoops me up and out, where she closes her door and takes me into the kitchen just outside their room. She shuts the pocket door to give us more privacy, allow her husband to go back to sleep. In the safety of the bright kitchen in the middle of the night with my mother, and only my mother, I tell her I hear loud voices and I cannot get back to sleep.

She invites me to the square kitchen table as she moves like a spirit, from cupboard to refrigerator, to drawer. She dishes out a bowl of butterscotch pudding she’d earlier prepared just for me, the sweet comfort of my youth. I spoon cold pudding into my mouth; its taste is sweet like love.

Sitting beside me at the heavy wood table my mother tells me the voices are not real. “It’s the fever,” she says, and tells me I’m going to be okay. “Have some more pudding,” she says, spooning more into the dish.

When I’m finished she helps me change out of my damp night clothes and into a fresh, dry pair of pajamas. She takes my hand and guides me back to the borrowed bed, then tucks me in for the second time that night. I quickly fall asleep.

When I wake up in the daylight, the voices are gone.

Daughter

Words by Aster Wendy Nuguise McQueen, 12

Quarantine Life.

Life before Covid-19

“I am bored” said a kid.

“Why don’t you go watch something” said the mom.

“Yay!” said a kid.

Life during Covid-19

“I am bored” said a kid.

“Why don’t you go watch something” said a mom.

“No” said a kid.

“Why not?” said a mom.

“Because I have already watched everything” said a kid.

Life after Covid-19

“I am so bored with everything” said a kid.

“Why don’t you go watch or read something” said the mom.

“I’ve already watched and read everything!” said a kid.

“Okay” said the mom.

“And” said a kid.

“And you can go clean or do something productive” said the mom.

“You know what” said a kid, “I think I will go watch Toy Story 4 for the tenth time even though I hate it.”

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