Warrior Writers NJ’s scheduled
workshop for Sunday, March 22, 2020 took place via the web application Zoom
from 12 noon-2pm. The group adapted this virtual format in response
to the social distancing measures directed by government and health officials
to help curb the spread of the coronavirus known as Covid-19.
Some of the work that was created is posted here. It not only
demonstrates the continued creativity of military veterans and their families,
but it also serves to document how this community is using creative writing,
poetry and the arts to deal with the situational concerns and lifestyle changes
that have come along with the outbreak of Covid-19.
We encourage others to write, share and post literary pieces of
their own, created during this period.
Yesterday the croci shot forth from the leaf mulch,
purple truth ascendant.
The neighbor’s forsythia yellowed their welcome
along the fence.
One fussing wren showed up, marking his territory,
while a titmouse began his song for companionship.
The night before the spring peepers broke into chorus,
while Bodhi my service dog barked her first bark, hackles up,
to run off the piebald doe prepping the corner of the
garden for her annual birthing rite.
All phenology of the signs of spring renewal.
It is time.
To plant peas and spinach,
to sow clover for the bees and
to shore up the slopes.
To direct sow the hardy annuals of
poppies, larkspur, calendula, cleome and cosmos.
The roses are already pruned,
now to be fertilized.
Maybe it’s too late for winter sowing the native perennials of
echinacea and rudbeckia, but worth a try.
It is time
to start the lasagna tins of seeds.
Never doubt spring.
Even in pandemics, quarantine & panic.
in a Time of Pandemic
By Jan Barry
Will this be the last spring
For many of us—for our way of life?
So we’d better savor every flower,
Every bird song, every dawn—
I cried yesterday to see a Facebook post
By high school students singing
A choral song, each from their homes,
Spliced together in an incredible concert
Of “Over the Rainbow”—
Young voices singing joyously
Into an uncertain future,
Using the latest technology
To share the soaring beauty
Of the human voice
With amazing creativity—
A wondrous display of spring
Popping amid a winter of deadliness
Prompt: Who do you appreciate
Who do you appreciate now?
By James Yee
Two, four, six, eight!
Who do we appreciate?
I think I’m comfortable in my
I have to be, especially in
this life, if I’m going to win.
Satisfied with my inner and
I’m no slouch, sittin’ dusty on
somebody else’s shelf.
Happy with who I’ve become,
And proud of where I come from.
That being said, still got some
ideas up in my head.
Continuing to improve myself in
ways for the better,
Makes me even stronger to
handle any kind of weather
Being myself is something I
And it’s my choosing where,
when and how to shine.
Or shine not at all, ‘cause
that wouldn’t make me small.
I might listen to you, but
ultimately I’m going to do what I want to do.
And if I don’t, then
appreciating myself I won’t.
Be who you want to be.
And I’ll go on just being James
Do I Appreciate Now?
By Paula Rogovin
We know the doctors, nurses, and EMT’s
But let’s look behind them
to the layers and layers and layers
of – what should we call them?
The unnoticed frontliners
Let’s start with the farmworkers –
many forced to work to grow our food
so they can feed their families
Factory workers who make the things
we all need or think we need
Truck drivers, train engineers
Teachers remotely teaching the children
or those struggling to teach the children
whose reality is real, not virtual
mental health workers
to the unnoticed frontline workers
Thank you for your service.
Wish your bosses would
thank you, too
with higher pay
paid sick leave
and medical care
Do I Appreciate Now?
By Tara Krause
suit up on a daily basis
“Thank you for your service,”
as said to veterans.
Yet now the seemingly invisible,
though ever present and giving,
step forward into the breach of pandemic:
the home health aides,
All who bring the reality and risks of caring
into our imposed social distancing and virtual reality.
And the new “essential” frontliners:
The mail lady, who lugs up the porch stairs my emergency
of expresso, dark chocolate and cigarettes in quarantine;
the supermarket aisle restockers, who risk all for minimum wages
and no medical benefits;
the butcher, who scraped the last pound and a half of ground sirloin
off the grinder machine so that my service dog could continue her raw diet
at least for another day;
the new workers at the Paterson plant, who now make the toilet paper to
replenish the nations’s empty shelves.
The veteran in me almost heartbreakingly envies you:
“You do not have to kill to serve.”
Who Do I Appreciate?
I thought I would write about
my garbage men, so under rated in our lives.
But as day 8 of social
distancing comes to an end, the thing I am appreciating is being able to
be a part of my grandchildren's lives.
We used to be with our grandson
Zeke, 4 years old, every day, 5 days a week and at times
I would long for the
carefree easy retirement days I'd heard about.
Now I have that time to walk
and smell the roses, which I do and I love.
But I face timed my son Sam and
into the picture walked Zeke and he took my breath away!
So I most appreciate the human
touch, especially of my 6 grandchildren.
We need to touch each other.
Peace and Love.
Prompt: Your own thoughts
By James Yee
Thank you for cutting carbon
emissions and reducing greenhouse gases. You’ve shown us that it can be
done. Our environment, right now, is better because of it. If we
could just figure out how to maintain and build upon this beneficial change.
Thank you for bringing families
together, and for putting parents back into their children’s education and
school work. I’m glad you’ve help take those heavy backpacks off the
shoulders of these kids.
While you don’t discriminate,
thank you for pointing out that we as people still do. You’ve shown that
some of us are OK with calling you the “Chinese Virus”.
I'm a poet, author and editor of several books, including A Citizen's Guide to Grassroots Campaigns, Earth Songs: New and Selected Poems, and Winning Hearts & Minds: War Poems by Vietnam Veterans. For more information: www.janbarry.net.