Three Poems

By Grace Cavalieri


A covid-19 Poem

My sacred space, a bird flying to the feeder
the shade of a tree, berries in the forest
heat from the sun on the pane
flames of experience
lashing on glass
the clear path of vision
the straight edge of sky
a parting of water
picking us up placing us exactly there
history has been shattered into pieces that will not fit together
how large is loss
how much does it take to fill
how do we gather it in our arms
when the city was destroyed with illness there was a place I could not reach
right now a small animal is breaking free in the woods
the milk of the moon is shining on these words that come from me
and do not return empty.


In the 1800s
the Thames river stank
so wretchedly
people ran with handkerchiefs
over faces to residence
or carriage
while in the alleys of London
the coatless children died.

The human heart filled with knowledge
and fish jumped clear. The air went pure.

In the 2020s rivers rise on fire
with stench of oil and spill.
tangled with plastic fish lines
no longer fly. Ducks die.

In 2021 the pandemic gains strength
one last gasp before dying

Human hearts,
fill with knowledge, please,
grow a Lotus from our deepening mud.


To be at peace, I’m told there is no other world
Outside myself. I water the seed every day.
I think of Yeats,
“Things reveal themselves passing away,”
Of Eliot, “A sudden piercing joy,”
I’m told to hold suffering like
The wind, the weather, the sound of the rain,
Yet as I sit
Writing with a borrowed pen.
Fireflies vanish in the sky,
And under the slivered moon,
I want the hand of tenderness again,
Remembering the poet who wrote
“Do what you can with this.”

Grace Cavalieri is Maryland’s tenth Poet Laureate.  She founded and still produces “The Poet and the Poem” for public radio, now from The Library of Congress, celebrating its 44th year.   

Living alone for more than one year there was much silence in my home. I teach poetry via Zoom, publish and produce–all activities hydrating my life– however silence was pervasive. These poems are about that meditative state.

I also took up painting for the first time and 50 pieces now hang in houses throughout the USA.

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Leigh Anne Kranz
Leigh Anne Kranz
8 months ago

These poems are all just breathtaking, lovely.

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