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  • Writer's pictureRiver Riders

When We Come Together...

Updated: Jan 10

Corona Collection: A Collective Poem in Days of Isolation Due to COVID-19

These days may be one of the rare times that we experience sudden changes in life due to a virus, COVID-19. The changes we go through are between leaving our daily habits and creating new habits and thinking patterns in extreme isolation. We are all experiencing a slower lifestyle that may make us remember old ways of living.

During these days of isolation, poetry is a way of connecting us with ourselves and others. Poets listen profoundly and find their space to express their experiences. As a response, some make the words flow onto paper or maybe to someone else's heart.

Social Movement Poets Collective has organized a virtual poetry gathering to respond to COVID-19 through a series of poetic documentaries. The event took place on Saturday, April 18, co-hosted by Serap Brown and Budd Hall, and opened a space for sharing, including attendees joining in from Victoria, Vancouver, Saskatoon and Cumberland House at Saskatchewan Delta-- thanks to technology! Jeremy Loveday, a well-known poet and Victoria City Councillor, kindly joined in the event and facilitated writing a collective poem that will serve as a documentary for these almost surreal days. The participants contributed lines that helped weave in our experiences, uplifted our spirit and gave us lots of hope. Here is our first collective poem, as below, and there will be more. Enjoy your reading!


When we come together hearts meld, hold

I feel free, inspired, happy

Is it the laughter, the tone, the candor?

Nobody knows, it only is the reality

When we come together pain is clear, love is crisp, connection inevitable

When we come together shared lives, even if we've never met. Onion skins, rippled moments, pondering what's next.

When we come together

The crab dinner tastes sweeter

The BBQ salmon seduces me

Ideas bloom and grow like flowers in springtime

we connect to Mino-pimatisiwin (Living A Good Life).

When we come together

There is a strength whispers

A strength that sings

a riverbank chorus

we hear about the earth, the land, the words spoken to create thought big and small

we see beauty, hope, and light

we listen, we laugh, we judge and learn

When we come together

Eating strawberries on the bank of a river /

Sharing the sunshine together / Watching the dragonflies dancing in the air.

When we come together

I want to say something about Trump but am tired of his presence and over presence

Instead, when we come together

Everyone smiles and miracles happen,

Grief is shared and the load is lightened,

when we come together, life is celebrated along with death,

the world changes into a place unrecognizable,

full of potential not yet recognized, any burden is survivable,

a solution to every problem can be found.

When we come together

It is the color red

It is the yellow sun

It is the blue of the flowing river

When we come together

It is a burst of laughter

It is the sound of children playing

It is a whisper of all our yesterdays

When we come together

It is a fuzzy blanket

It is a hot cup of tea

It is putting on my favorite sweater

Onion skins, rippled moments

We connect, we deeply connect, we cheer, sing, feel alive.

When we come together, the world spins, and swirls, and opens doors to joy.

When we come together, we forget all our problems, threats, dangers.

We find a shelter, a shelter of love.

When we come together

We become

Grief and gratitude

Quicker than the virus

We are onion skins and rippled moments

BBQ salmon seduction

We are dragonflies dancing in the air.

Eating strawberries

On a revolutionary tongue

Cutting, always cutting

Closer to the light.

Poetry and the Pandemic, organized and co-hosted by:

Serap Brown & Budd Hall, April 18, 2020.

Social Movement Poets Collective, Victoria, Canada. Photo by Budd Hall.

Poem facilitated by: Jeremy Loveday, Guest Poet

Poem co-created by: Linda Allison, Serap Brown, Maeva Gauthier, Maeve Lydon, Lily McKay-Carriere, Mika Carriere, Jeremy Loveday, Kieran Magzul, Nkatha Mercy, Azza Mohammadiazar, Ann Ronald, Tamara Plush, Burak Pakkal, Funda Pakkal, Daniela Vance.

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