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“Corona Corona” by Susan McCaslin


What kind of crown bears death?

What kind of queen hefts quarantine?

Parasitic in a liminal zone,

you are a spikey shell

unaware of the damage wreaked.

Our economies forged dark streams,

pathways for your kind of havoc.

We check our devices,

listen to the newscasts,

watch our Netflicks flicker,

hunker in the void

co-avoiding physical contact,

incarnate and encapsulated

dreaming new modes of being

Dreaming new modes of being

I wonder why I’m addressing you.

You’re just one of many sub-streams –

SARS, Spanish flu, Bubonic Plague.

We sit with storytellers, re-configure

Boccaccio’s Decameron, clutch Julian of Norwich’s

Revelations of Divine Love, ponder Dicken’s

“It was the best of times; it was the worst of times,”

self-isolate with Camus’ The Plague

knowing nothing’s new under the sun.

Stranded in para-doxology, we give thanks for

this contemplative pause

from compulsory progress, Gaia’s chance

to take a breath as the wild creatures return.


Taking a breath as the wild creatures return,

we peer through the global membrane,

ears cupped to a hermit thrush’s spiraling song

held in the arc of a great blue heron’s flight.

When poems interweave

with light and dark they sing, stranded

between lament and praise

thanksgiving and trembling,

our vast unknowing graced by love,

small acts of compassion,

heartwork of the justice imagination,

prayers for collective transfiguration.

Can we uncrown ourselves as lords of creation,

since heavy crowns bear death – not regeneration?


“Corona Corona” first appeared on the online blog of Lesley-Anne Evans: https://buddybreathing.wordpress.com/2020/04/26/napomo-poetry-party-

It appeared subsequently in Dialogue Magazine (Nanaimo, British Columbia) and Sage-ing magazine (Kelowna, BC)

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