The Pandemic’s Poetic Upshot

The Story: When the drama and chaos of the Covid-19 crisis swirled around her, Nina B. was struck by its intensity and was driven to write some reflections about the situation. What follows is her description of them and her process, as well as her thoughts about aging and her experience with CJE SeniorLife.

The Pandemic’s Poetic Upshot

The Poetry: Nina took her initial thoughts and embellished them with some rhyme and rhythm, setting them to iambic pentameter verse. She describes the poems as “Not terribly long—about what's happening right now with the current pandemic.” They are featured here.

Nina B. has always written little “vignettes” about life and her childhood—things about her early years growing up in the Washington, DC that inspired her. “I do not consider myself to have a really creative imagination about fictional events. That's not me,” she maintains. “From the vignettes, once in a while, a poem happens.” She writes them sporadically and considers the different verses a collection.

Her poetry is the result of a transition. After living in a house with her husband for 39 years, they moved to the 14th floor of a high-rise. “We began to call it our ‘aerie in the sky,’” she reminisces. “So, some of my poetry is derived from my little rhyme ‘My—aerie in—the sky.’” Explaining her process, she claims that “The first couplet will come to me and I’ll jot it down. Then I go back to it and add more lines.” She confides that “They are all about what's ‘missing’ and are informed by my existence in my ‘aerie in the sky.’”

The Poet: Nina B. says that she is in her third life: “I was a teacher … I got married and had kids … and now I indulge in everything I love.” She says she is somewhat hyperactive. Besides her creative outlet with poetry, she is an avid potter. She also gardens at her second home in Michigan, as well as managing the landscaping for her building in the city (the place in which her aerie is). One other thing she is proud of is her participation in the Women’s Health Initiative for the past 25 years. She does acknowledge the difficulty of being an older adult in a population where so many people are in decline. “I often feel in the minority because of my high energy and good health,” she admits, adding “It's uncomfortable, sometimes a little lonely, and very humbling,”  

The CJE Connection: Nina B. knows that CJE is available to help her with so much. She says that the support she has received from CJE has been a lifesaver. Also, with her poetry, she represents that engaged CJE client, with an active intellect and keen creativity. This is not unusual to see among the many older adults who tap into CJE programs and services for enrichment and support. Bell emphasizes “I am incredibly grateful for CJE because it offers so much. I love all the opportunities that it provides for all kinds of peoples’ needs.” She also recounts that, back in the 90s, her father benefited a great deal from the adult day care that he received from CJE’s Adult Day Services after he was diagnosed with Lewy Body Dementia. In the end, she is the true embodiment of a grateful CJE client, and, as such, signs off with a gracious “Thank you for being interested and giving me an opportunity to share my writing.” We hope you enjoy her poems.

Poetry of Nina B.

My Lazy Boy Chair
My Lazy Boy chair is beyond compare
For, from it, I can just sit and stare
Out my window  far as I can see
Views of the city, blue sky, and green trees,
Clouds floating by as light as the breeze,
and at night the cool moon, winking at me.
My Lazy Boy chair is a refuge, you see.
Its upholstery protected from spills and debris
All covered up to keep it dirt-free,
As it comforts and protects me
From Covid 19.
May 12  


I Think Today is Thursday
I went for a walk in the park today
Not too many people got in my way
A Dad or big brother--I did not know
Was helping a child whom he had in tow
There were two foreign ladies sitting apart on a bench
Laughing and joking--couldn't tell about what or when
And then a nice young couple passed me by
And paused their conversation to wave and say, "Hi!"
Around the park I only walked once
And blew dandelion seeds into the air just for fun
May 14

Waiting for Covid to End  
I try distraction
By finding things to do
But my interest takes flight
And I must endure another scary night.
But when night is gone
A deep breath is done
I say the "Shma" and look for the sun
Maybe today I will have some fun   
May 22

Morning is Turning into Bedtime
Morning is turning into bedtime
and that's the way time goes
I'm still in my pajamas
as dishes from breakfast and lunch
into a pile grow
I have no idea how all this time's been spent
I've picked up my pen
But at poetic writing
I haven't made a dent
So, now I must use some willpower
and climb carefully into the shower
Before the whole day flies by
It's getting lost hour by hour
May 29