Pandemic and more…

By Melissa A Chappell


Do you remember,
as the alarm bells were crying,
how we were silent in the sun,
our blood roiling red with the ruins of the sun.
Do you remember,
as the warnings were rising,
how we once lowered the moon
till it lay pale on our backs.
Do you remember,
as the virus spread across the world,
how once we curled, small, like a fiddlehead fern,
forgetting everything,
forgetting everything.
 I Walked Out

I walked out on a Sabbath day
into these woods that I have called my own.
In praise the poplars bare branches raise
In this their silvered wintry home.

I looked out over the crest of the hill,
to see, where, as a child, I wandered wild,
down to the now songless rill,
where the mysterious gray dusk once beguiled.

Laying my claim, here I call down my preening pride,
for I know that to me nothing has ever belonged.
Just the same, you were never mine.
For all that is dwells where the Lord’s graces throng.

I walked out--not even my body bore my name.
Empty hands, empty heart, room for all.
My human passions ever tamed,
the empty plenum, brimming with God, brings lauds.

The Cedars

Walk a while with me,

along this borrowed road

where courageous grows

the Queen Anne’s lace.

Let us speak of the

furious star

hurtling through the

door ajar,

our catechisms

and ponderings,


in the roaring

light of day.

Sit a while with me,

beneath yonder poplar tree.

I cast my seed into

the dark furrows

of your yearnings deep.

Perhaps they will

settle quiet

into their loamy rest

at the diffuse dusking

in the lavender west,

readying for the waking,

the cracking of the husk.

Lay a while with me,

on a bed of evergreen boughs.

As I brush the hair from

from your brow,

the gracious breeze will

caress every sense of ours.

Together in the fire struck night,

we die, one to the other,

rising, blessedly more human,

having loved beneath the cedars,

having loved beneath the cedars.

One-Tenth of a Percent

The long awaited DNA results

radiated sundry on my computer screen.

At the bottom of my long and

kaleidescopic lineage, there it was,

as if someone had almost forgotten to link it

to my motley double helix:

“Sudanese, one tenth of a percent.”

One infinitesimal gene, which, excitedly

laying claim to an exotic slice of Africa,

suddenly became a mountain of pride.

Lordly, I passed through my days,

knowing that in my blood ran the ebulliant,

ancient tribal songs and dances of Sudan.

Yet I thought not of a fractured nation,

perishing for an independence

cut out of its mountains and plains,

and the tortured alchemy of

bloodlust, power, and dulled machetes.

The blood of Sudan courses through humanity,

its lament rising from the ancient gene,

the lament of those everywhere who,

facing intolerable danger, flee away,

away to stranger shores, or to the wilderness,

where manna from heaven is only an old story,

where seeds and leaves are the sole food that

the only God they know can offer them.

My one-tenth of a percent was lost in the infinite ocean,

yet finally swam across a sea of plasma to reach

nucleic shores, finding refuge in the improbable

gene pool of a girl so white the sun is blinded by her.

She does not understand the faint, foreign chants

that she sometimes hears in the offing.

Yet one-tenth of a microscopic percent,

real as the blood that wails for justice,

dreams of flowering hills of daffodils,

where the blood soaks silent into the waiting earth.

Melissa A. Chappell is a native of South Carolina, USA. She contentedly resides on land that has been in her family for over 130 years. She has a BA in the Theory of Music and a Master of Divinity degree. Besides writing, she plays several instruments, including the lute. Music and the land are her primary inspirations for her poetry. She has had two chapbooks published: Rivers and Relics (Desert Willow Press)

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