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Viral Imaginations: COVID–19 at PSU

"Time" based on the poem "Stay at Home - Time" by Peter Frengel

Recently, I took part in a zoom event called: Viral Imaginations Ekphrastic Art Workshop. It was a really interesting experience as I haven’t done a zoom workshop for art. Also, I wasn’t very familiar with the term Ekphrastic. As noted from the Poetry Foundation, Ekphrastic is a “Description” in Greek. An ekphrastic poem is a vivid description of a scene or, more commonly, a work of art. Through the imaginative act of narrating and reflecting on the “action” of a painting or sculpture, the poet may amplify and expand its meaning.”

This workshop is part of a gallery that builds relationships between poetry and art. The beauty if this is you can read the poems and do an art piece about it or you can submit a poem based on the poetry and vice versa. They used the example of Don McLean and his song, Starry, Starry Night based on Vincent Van Gogh’s painting.

I choose the poem “Stay at Home – Time” by

Peter Frengel.

“Stay at Home – Time”

During quarantine,

Under the spring sky that gusts and grabs the branches,

There is a superfluous twenty seconds hidden within each minute.

It’s there, like a rain drop swells to overflowing.

Ease yourself down to find it, and suddenly,

Almost imperceptibly, there it is.

The minute hand droops by a third, the pace lags, the attention sharpens.

Stacking the dishwasher, a ritual emerges;

Folding laundry, a contemplative art.

Taking the hot mug of coffee in hand, the aroma rising,

The heavy drops polka-dotting puddles out the window,

You can drift a bit. Not out to daydream, but in, to awakening.

The recompense to quarantine? The longer minute?

An embrace has time to sink in, not rushing off to work.

The smile of a child has time to leave the ground, and wing around the room.

Open the window to smell the rain.

Watch the soap bubble slide down the plate,

Or the cat yawn in slow motion, a tiny sigh at the end.

And your thoughts are strolling languidly now,

Not jumping from rock to rock like a manic crossing a creek in a rising flood.

Who knew we needed time to slow?

The chocolate chip cookie lingers indulgently.

Sunrise, you notice now.

The traffic outside is gone and the house is quiet.

Even in the gloom of a chilly, wet, spring evening

The dogwood was never quite that shocking Barbie pink,

The greenness of the new leaves luminescent.

When we return to the way-things-used-to-be,

Will they still be? Will we want them to?

My ekphrastic art piece based on the poem.

Anyone who would like to try this can and submit to the gallery. It’s a really lovely way to build connection especially during the pandemic and feel we’re all connected.

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