Coronavirus XXXVI (portrait of a lady)

Wind blown and mindful
she looks down where the bay pro-
vides a playground for

her small children. It’s
sunny and bright, the town closed
for the pandemic.

It’s safe out here. Peace
touches her inside and out.
Their cries or gull cries.

The excess of life
calms her vertigo over
life’s mutability.

Author: Tom D'Evelyn

Tom D'Evelyn is a private editor and writing tutor in Cranston RI and, thanks to the web, across the US and in the UK. He can be reached at D'Evelyn has a PhD in Comparative Literature from UC Berkeley. Before retiring he held positions at The Christian Science Monitor, Harvard University Press, Boston University and Brown University. He ran a literary agency for ten years, publishing books by Leonard Nathan and Arthur Quinn, among others. Before moving to Portland OR he was managing editor at Single Island Press, Portsmouth NH. He blogs at and other sites.

One thought on “Coronavirus XXXVI (portrait of a lady)”

  1. This reflection on finitude and peace is animated by the tension between immutability and feeling good. The opening imagery of the mysetrious mother with her small children at teh peaceful bay connects poem, poet, and reder in a triangle of life. The background and stark line of the Coronavirus epidemic sets up the truth of finitude which also gives real meaning to life. And so the poem crescendos in the final line with the paradox of the natural hope and desire for the hope that this state of things be unchanging, and the knoweldge that life keeps changing and the realisation that hoping for this state of things not too change is too much to see realised. This poignant balance however gives resonance to the images of the motehr with her children at the peaceful seaside, their significance as themselves becoming fullest in the ways in which their finitude gives them openness to what lies beyodn themselves, both human and the source of reality more generally.


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