I See Now

It must be the masks.
Most people wear one now.
Not to avoid recognition
while performing some illegal act
like robbery or kidnapping.
Rather to avoid being robbed
or being kidnapped
by Covid-19.

I used to walk down streets
see people but not see them,
hear sounds but not listen to them.
Intent on getting to work
or the store
or the whatever.
I plowed on, looking straight ahead.
No mask. No gloves.

I could have stopped to listen,
hear the blue jay in a nearby tree.
Cracked a smile at passersby.
But I didn’t.
I just plowed ahead
to get to that place,
to that thing I was scheduled to do.
No mask. Just oblivious.

Today I walked to feel fresh air.
Gloved, masked, gasping a bit.
Breathing through a piece of cloth
rubber-banded behind my ears,
only my eyes exposed.
I have nowhere special to go
but I crave being outside.
I need to see people. . .

. . . but not coming too close to me.
In their masks. Worse yet, without them.
I gesture SINGLE FILE
as they come toward me.
I listen for footsteps from behind.
Could be someone coming too close.
Round-trip walk from home,
I decide to stop on the bridge.

Leaning over I take a long look.
See a scene I’ve seen so many times
but not really seen.
Trees along the Charles River.
Water rippling from geese swimming.
And then I see her.
Mama goose upon her nest
staring warily at me.

She moves a bit and hisses.
I see new meaning to an old phrase,
one overused today. Shelter in place.
Cracked eggs beside her,
feathers in her beak,
she shifts her body and just for a moment
I see tiny wriggling masses of yellow
trying to escape from beneath her .

Does my mask make me the interloper?
And still I stare and listen and watch.
It must be these masks affecting me.
Seeing what has always been there,
season after season.
People and nature along my way.
I notice the mundane more
and finally I understand.

It never really was mundane.

April 28 in National Poetry Writing Month where the challenge is to write at least one poem per day. This is my second for today.

This one is written for Toads where we are to choose a quotation or an impression from Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird as the motivation for our poem. I’ve chosen the quotation “People generally see what they look for, and hear what they listen for.”

Video is from our walk this morning. 

You may want to see my other poem, written for dVerse today. It will take you to the Norwegian fjords!

5 thoughts on “I See Now

  1. Nancy Jahnke April 28, 2020 / 8:11 pm

    God’s miracles first hand…

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

    Like

  2. sanaarizvi April 28, 2020 / 9:52 pm

    This is an epic poem with many layers of profound meaning and dimensions, Lillian! Especially like; “Does my mask make me the interloper? And still I stare and listen and watch. It must be these masks affecting me.” 💝👏

    Like

  3. Rosemary Nissen-Wade April 29, 2020 / 2:26 am

    Yes, it is fascinating to observe ourselves in this strange time. And also to observe others. I enjoyed your story of seeing your surroundings anew. And love the photo; what a handsome bird!

    Like

  4. kim881 April 29, 2020 / 5:16 am

    Having been in isolation for seven weeks, I haven’t seen many masks in my daily life, only the one time when I had to visit the surgery, so it seems alien to me. I do worry that some criminal elements might use the situation. But masks do make us very aware of the difference the virus has made. I love the speculation about the blue jay and smiling at passers-by, the contrast with the walk, gloved and masked, and the encounter with the goose. You are so right, Lill, it never really was mundane.

    Like

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