For the time being

We are fine, they say, for the time being.
Enough food in the pantry, the prescriptions filled,
No need to go out of the house,
Except to let the dog run in the yard.

Our road has fallen silent, we can hear the trees
Near the river, it feels like a long Sunday
But without the church. There is plenty of time
To watch the trees bloom. When was the last time?

The elderly are used to sitting the days.
But we are also fine, the younger ones, for the time
Being. We have time to play with our children,
Bake, wash the curtains, and make love again, finally!

Now that the shelves at the shops are empty
And the parking lots are drive-through
Testing labs, we have time to pray
For those who are dying in the hospitals.

We pray the nurses will stay healthy through
Extended working shifts. We pray the doctors
Get a good night sleep before they fight to grip life
Slipping through their hands, for the time being.

In other countries many sing from their balconies
To cheer each other up through so much dying,
We call, check in, reassure, and smile
From a distance, hoping: for the time being.

March 15, 2020

Carmen Bugan

Carmen Bugan

Carmen Bugan, a George Orwell Prize Fellow, is the author of four poetry collections, a memoir, and a critical study. Her new and selected poems, Lilies from America, is a Poetry Book Society Special Commendation. Burying the Typewriter: Childhood Under the Eye of the Secret Police was a BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week, won the Bread Loaf Conference Bakeless Prize for Nonfiction, and was a finalist in the Dayton Literary Peace Prize. Her critical study is Seamus Heaney and East European Poetry in Translation: Poetics of Exile, and her book of essays, Poetry and the Language of Oppression, is forthcoming from Oxford University Press.She has a doctorate in English literature from Balliol College, Oxford University, UK. Bugan, who was the 2018 Helen DeRoy Professor in Honors at the University of Michigan, lectures at universities, international book fairs and conferences, and has been a guest on current affairs and history programs on the BBC, ABC, NPR, The Foreign Desk (Monocle, London).
Carmen Bugan

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Author: Carmen Bugan

Carmen Bugan, a George Orwell Prize Fellow, is the author of four poetry collections, a memoir, and a critical study. Her new and selected poems, Lilies from America, is a Poetry Book Society Special Commendation. Burying the Typewriter: Childhood Under the Eye of the Secret Police was a BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week, won the Bread Loaf Conference Bakeless Prize for Nonfiction, and was a finalist in the Dayton Literary Peace Prize. Her critical study is Seamus Heaney and East European Poetry in Translation: Poetics of Exile, and her book of essays, Poetry and the Language of Oppression, is forthcoming from Oxford University Press. She has a doctorate in English literature from Balliol College, Oxford University, UK. Bugan, who was the 2018 Helen DeRoy Professor in Honors at the University of Michigan, lectures at universities, international book fairs and conferences, and has been a guest on current affairs and history programs on the BBC, ABC, NPR, The Foreign Desk (Monocle, London).