poetry

Love in the Time of Quarantine. {poetry}

 

Pandemic. From the Greek pandēmos (from pan ‘all’ + dēmos ‘people’).

Like a new mother keeping watch over her baby, I count my lover’s breaths as we lie next to each other in bed. We are healthy. Gratitude. My mind wanders across the miles to friends, family, and beloved ones, and I find myself reaching across the dark night to count their breaths too, even if only in sync with the rhythm of my own heart. They are healthy. More gratitude.

My thoughts drift among the stars. Feeling love. Feeling lost. Surrendering. How do you nurture connection with all those whom you cherish, in this time of quarantine and physical distancing?

Inspire. From the Latin inspirare ‘breathe or blow into’ (from in- ‘into’ + spirare ‘breathe’).

The pulmonary system is miraculous. Each expansion and contraction of the diaphragm altering the shape of the chest cavity, the lungs adjusting air intake to equalize pressure. Breathing. Heart beating. Heartfelt longing, wondering, breathing — poetry inspired in the quiet middle of the long night.

Sometimes it feels like we travel alone through this pandemic, quarantined in our homes. This poem asks us to remember the bright, constant light of our souls. To kindle and tend the flame. For ourselves, but perhaps even more importantly, for each other. Oxygen fueling our heart-fire, we will reach the far shores. Together. Hope is the way, love is our light.

This is a poem from the quiet middle of the long night. A love song about being together alone.

***

As I lie here tonight
I count my breaths in the darkness
Each push and pull of my lungs supporting
This wondrous body, fragile coracle made of flesh
Carrying the precious cargo of my soul

As I count, I think of you
One whom I love and cherish so dearly
One whose own body, too, carries
Its unique and precious cargo
I pray that you will be well
In all the days to come

For this is love amidst peril —
Love in the time of quarantine
My fingers longing to touch your face, my lips
Longing to kiss your cheeks, but only in my thoughts
Can my arms safely hold you

Know that I am here, my beloved, I am
Lifting the lantern of my love high
So that you may see it, and know
You are not alone
As you navigate these strange, uncharted seas

Don’t lose hope, my beloved, lift up your lantern too
Together we will sail with our souls
Shining like a string of constellations, lighting our way
To a more humane destination
For this — this! — is love amidst peril
Love in the time of quarantine.

***

Jamie Michelle Waggoner is an artist and mystic. Her interests center around folk magic, mythology, oracular traditions, trance and ritual arts, and building sacred communities. She believes that magic is real, present all around us, and a profound tool for justice and transformation. You could connect with her via her website.

***

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