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Get ready to hear from northern Illinois’ “prose pros." Poetically Yours airs Fridays during Here and Now at 12:31 and All Things Considered at 6:18 p.m. Hosted by WNIJ Arts Reporter Yvonne Boose, you will hear voices from northern Illinois poets as they share their words about the world around them. This weekly segment will give you a moment of pause and reflection as your wind down the week. If you would like to submit a poem for consideration, please send submissions to yboose@niu.edu

Poetically Yours Ep - 61 - Poet reflects on how the pandemic changed his world

Provided by d. louis.

Poet describes how he felt when Illinois went into a pandemic induced lockdown.

Today’s poet goes by the pen name of d. louis. He grew up on a small farm in southeastern Illinois and attended Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, studying horticulture. It was during his college days that he first began writing and journaling. After college came work, wife Lynn and then three wonderful children.

About 20 years ago, while traveling for work in Iowa City, he picked up a book by Brenda Ueland called, “If You Want to Write” and was inspired to start writing again. Along with little recognition from a poem he submitted to the Rockford Writers Guild, he began to renew his efforts.

He recently retired and hopes to lose himself in his garden while working on more poems to complete a chapbook of memories for his family. Today, he is reflecting on how he felt during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in his poem “Virus Life.”

Looking out the window

I see no cars passing by.

No one even walking their dog.

The bars are closed, the schools are shuttered,

my mind wanders.

How long can I stay hidden behind these curtains?

How long will the shelves be bare?

Sirens wail, the wind blows,

I hold my breath.

I work outside to keep busy.

As I rake away the dead leaves of the trees

that hold our dreams in their branches,

I can feel the ground beneath my feet

alive with the blossoms, begging for a chance.

I know they are only sleeping.

When they awaken, I pray all will be well with our world.

This spring of discontent cannot take hold of our hearts

or we will miss the very sunrise we love and need.

  • Yvonne Boose is a current corps member for Report for America, an initiative of the GroundTruth Project. It's a national service program that places talented journalists in local newsrooms like WNIJ. You can learn more about Report for America at wnij.org.