Corona Virus Journal Entry from Susan Nalder

april 15, 2020 in my corona virus journal

will there be ignition in any of these lines
the kind of thing that merges starfish with a vivid cure for isolation
in these hours of stay at home wash your hands wear a mask
nothing sparks mischievous cells like the memory of a caress
not the kind that’s sent by artificial intelligence
but something cellular, an accidental touch of a hand
a look in the eyes so blue as the great upside
from deep in a canyon in Utah

ignition is the thing that makes for magic
one extraordinary brush of touch outside
that moment you understand nothing
but the desire to rush to the easel and smear it with colors
orange   magenta   red   yellow  red-orange   lavender  Utah-red-dirt
you find yourself reading from random poetry books on the shelf
howling at lines that stir the thing deep inside

is this a baking soda volcano from a child’s chemistry set
or is it outside of such play, pencil in hand, brush at the ready
laser cuts or scissor snips, something arises from colored paper
these are not really choices but collisions with searching
as with the world outside, there isn’t a night of sleep
without all kinds of magic inside, within the realm
yet never wholly understood when it appears

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About Miriam Sagan

I'm blogging about poetry, land art, haiku, women artists, road trips, and Baba Yaga at Miriam's Well ( The well is ALWAYS looking to publish poetry on our themes, sudden fiction, and guest bloggers and musers.

16 thoughts on “Corona Virus Journal Entry from Susan Nalder

  1. Very good poem with some wonderful wonderful lines. I’m finding it quite difficult to relax into language right now, although I am reading poetry again after a long spell, so that may be a beginning.

  2. IMHO, Miriam, this is among the most beautiful poems you’ve written. I was so very moved. And am saving it for savoring again and again. 🙂 Karla

      • Thanks for the duration! I missed a most important detail! Praise still stsnds!🙃

    • Thank you Karla, and Miriam too. I’m moved to share something WS Merwin wrote: writing poetry is never a wholly deliberate act over which you have complete control ….. it’s at the disposition of all sorts of forces, some of which you don’t know anything at all about”. again, thank you

  3. Hi Susan, I really enjoyed reading this poem. I’m intrigued by the idea it puts forth that something very much like “ignition” lies at the heart of things other than chemical reactions: artistic inspiration, powerful human touch, and the magic of subconscious thought. I also was taken by the musicality and rhythm in the poem, in lines like “the great upside rom deep in a canyon in Utah.” As someone who has done a fair amount of backpacking in the southwest, I enjoyed the imagery drawn from the natural beauty in our region of the world, and letting that take me away, if only for a short time, from the human-created world of the pandemic. Thanks for sharing this with me and our haiku group. — j rap

    • oh Josh! your comments give me goose bumps; the thrill of writing something that is read by another, becomes meaning to another. oh gosh Josh. thank you.

      • and PS. the first time i heard ignition in a writerly way, it was Charlie Trumbull himself; at a HAIKU workshop; he spoke about how a good HAIKU has ignition – sends the reader . yeah

  4. Hi Susan – this is such a buoyant poem. I like it a lot. Especially the line “magic inside, within the realm yet never wholly understood when it appears.” Thanks for letting us know about it. Basia

  5. Oh, Susan, thank you for inviting me to these pages. And to your poetry. These lines>>>
    “you find yourself reading from random poetry books on the shelf
    howling at lines that stir the thing deep inside”
    resonate so strongly with my current moments…Thinking about tea with you in the absolutely, must-be, foreseeable future. XXX, Linda Durham

    • thank you Linda! yes. when it’s safe! i’m day dreaming of the sound of ice clinking in a glass of ice tea with mint leaves and raspberries galore

  6. Susan, I love the fact that you are finding the positive in isolation. You might be missing the world outside but it seems that all the ignition you are finding for creativity is coming from yourself – you’re able to create this beautiful poem out of memory and the stimulation of a limited environment. The magic is truly coming from inside. Thanks for the inspiration!

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