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Poet Laureate Offers Poems for Grief and Healing

Washington DC | Inspirational

April is National Poetry Month, and the former US Poet Laureate, Tracy Smith, was asked to find poems that captured the feelings of living through the Coronavirus pandemic. She browsed through her collection and found many that spoke to this moment. Here are a two of her suggestions as reported on NPRs Morning Edition, and one suggestion from the staff at MyFrontLineHero.

This simple poem by Marah Toews seen on Twitter (@Marah_Eliza) caught Smith's eye and reminded her "of what I feel during these weeks of sheltering in place."

Wake up.
Back to bed.
The days blend.
Was that yesterday?
Or the day before?

Emil Dickensen wrote about springtime. Spring doesn't care about pandemics and the arrival of green reminds us that life goes on.

A little Madness in the Spring
by Emily Dickinson

A little Madness in the Spring
Is wholesome even for the King,
But God be with the Clown—

Who ponders this tremendous scene—
This whole Experiment of Green—
As if it were his own!

Smith share one of her own poems from her own book Wade in the Water that she felt spoke to our current moment:

An Old Story"
by Tracy K. Smith

We were made to understand it would be
Terrible. Every small want, every niggling urge,
Every hate swollen to a kind of epic wind.
Livid, the land, and ravaged, like a rageful
Dream. The worst in us having taken over
And broken the rest utterly down.
A long age
Passed. When at last we knew how little
Would survive us—how little we had mended
Or built that was not now lost—something
Large and old awoke. And then our singing
Brought on a different manner of weather.
Then animals long believed gone crept down
From trees. We took new stock of one another.
We wept to be reminded of such color.

As we mention in our mission statement, FrontLine Heroes come in all forms. Some save lives while risking their own, some offer support, and some inspire us. Thank you to the poets and artists who help us understand and appreciate the world around us. 

We'd like to occasionally share more short poems like this. If you have a favorite published poem in the public domanin to share, submit it using the link above!

April 26, 2020

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