Today, I am sharing a timely and thought-provoking poem by fellow blogger poet Kate Hutchinson (bio below) as she looks back at the year of pandemic. It’s an abecedarian poem, a new term for me but a logical one: she takes a look at COVID, from A to Z. I found it inspiring my thinking back with gratitude, sorrow, and perspective.
It All Matters
Antiseptics. Air for our lungs and air hugs for our hearts.
Boxes of beans plus blue skies and bikes and bare feet.
Clorox on the shelf along with cat food, chocolates and coffee.
Doctors, yes, and drive-thru windows and drive-by birthdays.
Exercise, elastic waistbands, evergreen trees in the yard.
Facts over falsehoods . . . and Facebook. Food kitchens.
Gloves and newly-gray hair and grandparents on screens.
Hospitals full of heroes plus houseplants and hummingbirds.
IV drips, igloos outside restaurants. Vivid imaginations.
Jeans, jammies, jigsaws, Jeopardy! and Jupiter kissing Saturn.
Keeping our distance but keeping the faith. Kindness.
Libraries, leaves greening then falling on lawns. Love.
Masks and music and movies and mothers and miracles.
Nurses, oh yes. Newspapers and neighbors on the front porch.
Oximeters, ovens full of bread. Open minds, open hearts.
Personal protective equipment. Pets on laps and leashes. Poetry.
Q-tip swabs and questions on quarantining.
Remdesivir plus reading, reading, reading.
Steroids, sourdough starter, and solos on balconies.
Too much toilet paper and time on treadmills. Tireless teachers.
Ultraviolet light and unsung heroes all around us.
Ventilators. Vaccines! Vegetables from our own gardens.
Windows kept open and long walks and wine.
X-rays of lungs, experts who temper our expectations.
Yeast and yarn and yoga and yearning for normal.
Zoom gluing us together under zillions of stars.
From “Both Sides of the Window,” Kate Hutchinson’s blog:
Kate Hutchinson recently retired from teaching high school English, and she has on occasion taught poetry writing at a local university. Her first chapbook of poetry, The Gray Limbo of Perhaps, was published by Finishing Line Press in 2012 and is available at their website (linked to the right). A full-length collection of her poems and prose-poems, Map Making: Poems of Land and Identity, was released by THEAQ Press (Rosemount, MN) in 2015. It is available through Amazon or directly from the author upon request.
Kate has had poems and short essays published in many literary magazines and anthologies since she began writing professionally in the early 2000’s, and several of her pieces have earned recognition in local or national contests. Her poem “Fowler Ridge Wind Farm,” winner of the 2010 Mobius literary magazine poetry contest, was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. A second Pushcart nomination came in 2018 for a golden shovel poem written on the day of Elie Wiesel’s death, which uses the Emily Dickinson line, “Hope inspires the good to reveal itself.”
Blogging is Kate’s way of forcing herself to write and think about the deeper elements of life amidst the daily demands of job, family, and home.
5 thoughts on “Weekend Wildcard: Poet Kate Hutchinson’s Abecedarian Pandemic Poem”
I’m honored that you’ve shared my poem, Kelly! I’ve let my Facebook family and friends know to check out your work as well. It’s nice to see our common interests in enhancing relationships — through shared experiences, compassion, and genealogical ties.
Yes, we are kindred spirits! Your poem has me thinking back alphabetically, too. Lucky Zoom to end all our lists! Be well. Kelly
This was lovely. Thanks for sharing.
Yes, Kate is an amazing writer. Glad to hear from you, as always!
Thanks for sharing such an amazing poem. It felt so nice that both the joyous elements and the sad moments of the quarantine were shown, usually either one of them is ignored. I think this will serve as a nice summary of the pandemic in the future. I also tried my hand at abecedarian poetry, if you would like to give it a read -https://thebluediary6.wordpress.com/2021/07/03/alohomora-she-said-abecedarian-poem/