These six Pandemic Poems are some I have written while sheltering in place. As an 85 year old poet, I have taken the health warnings to heart because the Covid 19 virus offers a very lonely painful death and few elderly people survive it, except for the newsworthy blessed notables.
The first poem, Pandemic Review, describes my childhood memories of World War II in the early 1940’s. As unprecedented as the world-wide Pandemic shut down is, it shares a lot with my experience as a child in World War II.
I wrote this poem in preparation for a podcast with my 2 radio production partners, (Julieta Kusnir and Brenda Illecas) both women in their thirties, as an attempt to describe the generational divide that puts me in their grandparent generation. Sharing my WWII childhood experiences revealed to us the similarity of the global single focus and the personal accommodations we all have had to make, then and now. Just as the 20th century world changed as it emerged from WWII, so too will our 21st century world change as we emerge from the Covid 19 pandemic.
It has taken some time for me to understand the changes that happened then and it will us some time to understand the changes emerging now. Certainly, after World War II, our country became a world leader as our land was unscathed and our capitalists were ready to profit from the devastated nations of Europe, Asia and Africa. I think many people see that our Pandemic life is changing in ways that will also stretch into the future and possibly undermine the status and world control of the US.
We are witnessing the shameful profiting from widespread suffering inside our current denuded national health system. Hopefully, we will see the creation of a better health system and the elimination of corporate control of health care so we can prepare for the crises that are certain to accompany climate change.
Sheltering in Place and Pandemic Day deal with my isolation, the health threat around me, and introduces the new element in my daily life of zoom classes and interviews which forecasts the silhouette of the post pandemic world emerging.
Green Man is a love poem that came to me as gift. The poem’s romantic and cosmic elements blend the garden, nature, and relationship.
The final poem, Cops Kill Black Men, was written before the George Floyd murder, the anti-racist uprising, and the pandemic, about a police killing of a young Black man here in Vallejo. Now the world is aware of our racist systems and the need for analysis and change which will hopefully influence our future, both in the US and globally. Black Lives Matter and Environmental Justice come together in this pandemic where viral infections impact poor communities at a higher rate. The issues of systemic racism and police violence world wide merge with the issues of war and peace, greed, and uncontrolled exploitation that endanger our existence as a species.
About Nina Serrano: Nina Serrano is a well-known, international prize-winning inspirational author and poet. With a focus on Latino history and culture, she is also a playwright, filmmaker, KPFA talk show host, a former Alameda County Arts Commissioner, and a co-founder of the San Francisco Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts. Oakland Magazine’s “best local poet” in 2010, she is a former director of the San Francisco Poetry in the Schools program and the Bay Area’s Storytellers in the Schools program. A Latina activist for social justice, women’s rights, and the arts, Nina Serrano at 85 remains vitally engaged in inspiring change and exploring her abundant creativity. For more information go to ninaserrano.com or contact her publisher at estuarypress.com. For more detailed information about Nina see About Nina on her website.
About Estuary Press: Estuary Press is the publisher of Nicaragua Way. It is also the home of the Harvey Richards Media Archive, a repository of photography and video documentaries of various social change and political movements during the 1960s and 1970s. Contact Paul Richards (510) 967 5577, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit estuarypress.com for more details.
MEDIA – For photos & interviews: Paul Richards (510) 967 5577; email@example.com