By Diane Sahms
4/27/2020, Embracing “Timelessness,” while reading
The Power of Now during stay at home orders
for Eckhart Tolle
My body nothing more than a space suit,
immortal spirit has been dropped into.
I used to dream my body, a car,
where my glove compartment wallet
was always being stolen,
that was before I had an identity.
My pocket soul, a spiraling conch shell,
where a mystical genie dwells.
Mind hidden behind masks
wearing an ever changing, aging face.
Ego, once an inflated red balloon,
followed me everywhere
like in the short film, Le ballon rouge,
that I saw one rainy day afternoon
during indoor-recess, while attending
elementary school. These days, tasked
to be present with each new breath,
ego’s deflation & therefore, I am more
alien now than ever before, steering
an egoless head around, with spirit
housed in body’s space-suit. Living
inside isolation of a spaceship-house, too.
Each new day’s unraveling acceptance
as Theseus threading my way through
The Power of Now…
Not looking behind (into the Past)
or projecting forward (into the Future),
as if all there ever is – is the isness of now:
floating forward, inward, upward; & striving
to be, one with the Unmanifested.
So, at close of book—Chapter 10’s
“The Meaning of Surrender,” my spirit exits
space-suit-body & rises up,
as the young boy Pascal rose up
in the final scene of Le ballon rouge,
surrounded by a massive cloud
of colored balloons…La Fin flashing
across night’s sky as I open the light.
for my daughter, Mary
I held the world in my hands, today
like a toy globe & it dissolved
into empty air.
We who always embrace every time
we meet & whenever we leave each other,
came no nearer than 6 feet.
An unmeasurably cruel calculation
for me & daughter, whose hazel irises,
as life protectors, gently glided into
mine: touching, without touching,
as I arrived like a masked villain hiding
a sad smile. Her uneasy look sailed
swiftly toward me like the arrow
King Harold II took in the eye & died
at The Battle of Hastings; and I would die
for her too, but not in the battle claws
of COVID-19’s dragon. Social distancing
is a winning cause. Right?
Scorching on her outside deck, yet
not hot enough to melt the snowwoman
I had built myself into, because of fear.
After our hour visit, two of us dazed
& completely out of sorts, I left, an
awkward penguin trying to maneuver
down steep wooden steps. Swam through
humid air with nightmarish scare, until
safely inside my car, I wept. Texted:
I am sorry I didn’t hug you as I miss you
terribly. Her reply: It’s probably okay
to hug, but I respect your boundaries.
And at that moment, I prayed
to have the faith of Jesus. Fearless,
he’d touch the blind, even the lepers.
Next time we met, faced
with possibilities of death, I see
boundless love that forges
our spirits & bravely in “masked”
face lives, we touch love.
19 years since 9/11
& the windchime’s
musical spirits lift
as blue lights tower
into New York’s
brightly & today
a masked woman’s
fingers traced letters
of an engraved name
& then her hand,
a swan, gently gliding
back and forth
back and forth—
not erasing pain
memory of a loved
one, who wore
an unforgotten name.
Diane Sahms is author of four collections of poetry. She has been widely published in the small and electronic press. Poetry Editor at North of Oxford.
I did not want to write poems about COVID; however, every now and then, while journaling, a poem would rise up out of the ashes. I didn’t force any of them, and only wrote poems as they evolved out of my daily fears, concerns, and/or social issues happening in my city, state, and country, even one about Ireland’s esteemed poet Eavan Boland (who died in April. Not from COVID) and five-year olds who died in the US & UK from complications relating to COVID. I started recording as an eye witness, the limitations and restrictions imposed on me and on all of us trying to cope with a “new normal.” I guess my poems became my catharsis while journaling. From March 18th to December 31st, 2020, I compiled 34 pages (a chapbook length collection) and am thinking that I might start sending it out for possible publication. I titled it “COVID-19, 2020 / A Poetic Journal,” and formatted it according to dates and months of this most memorable year.