Our home turned into a prison,
Porting all my lectures online,
Working in quiet desolation,
Long past midnight.
Afraid to go out not for myself,
But for fear of bringing home,
What could prove a deadly contagion,
To the woman I love.
No long commute to work, it's true,
But also no sea of bright faces,
Greeting me, motivating me,
Giving meaning to my life.
No beautiful campus to walk through,
No national arboretum,
With foliage lazily unfurling,
From a long winter slumber.
No squirrels scurrying about,
Begging for treats or rummaging,
In waste paper baskets for discarded,
Gastronomic treasures in the quads.
No tender tendrils of tulips and,
Daffodils tentatively reaching,
Through their earthen blankets,
In search of the sun.
No sea of fresh faces hovering,
Throughout campus like,
Glorious butterflies freshly reborn,
From ten thousand chrysalises.
Each with the face of an angel,
Eyes bright and curious,
Looking ever onward to futures,
Where all doors yet remain open.
I am old when not in their presence,
But always young when among them,
As if newly emerged from my chrysalis,
Reborn, renewed, rewound.
Technology is wonderful,
I embrace it in most of its forms,
But human interaction is not meant,
To be reduced to bits and bytes.
I want my classrooms back.
I want my students in them.
I want them, my loved ones, friends, and colleagues,
All whole, safe and fear-free again.
This too shall pass. I know.
And yet I see the daily death numbers grow.
Death all around where my loved ones live.
Both here and in Spain. Both today and tomorrow.
I don't care at all for myself,
I've had a good life, most of it,
In the company of loved ones and,
Students become colleagues become friends.
But lives far more precious than my own to me,
Are at risk and I am helpless to do anything about it--
Save for staying indoors, in my self-imposed cell,
Surrounded by dead leaves and nary a butterfly.
It has been an incredibly stressful and busy time for all of us of late. I hope you are all doing what you can to remain centered, and finding joy, distractions, purpose where you can. Stay away from the news 24/7--it will drive you insane. Trust me. Find solace in friends be it by phone, Skype, email or any other available means to stay connected. Embrace movies, music, reading, writing, singing, playing an instrument if that is a talent--or one you'd like to develop. Dance like nobody is looking. Rediscover your library card--the local library may well be closed, but not the virtual lending library where you can borrow ebooks, videos, audiobooks and other electronic media. Visit your library's home page--you may be surprised at what they still offer. Read a good book--or even a bad one. To that end, I've made most of my own indie books (fiction, poetry, etc.) available for free through April 20 through Smashwords. (I can't do that as easily through the other retailers that sell my books. Nor can I do that with my traditional publishers.) Other independent authors have done likewise. Check them out. Lots of free books on Amazon for their Kindle reader too. You can find my free offerings (including my first book of poems) here: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/VictorDLopez (scroll down to see my books).
Whatever you do, please stay safe and help your loved ones to do likewise. I bid you peace.