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Sheltering In Place: Poem #8


I fell asleep in defiance of my muse. But my muse was determined for me to finish the verses it planted in my head way before midnight. By 2:00 o’clock in the early morning, my protest fell on deaf ears. I stayed awake until 5 a.m. as my muse was restless. Read to see how the verses traveled through a winding path. Even I don’t know how this poem would wind up.

I chose a photo taken when our family hiked the Camino de Santiago across Spain in 2010. The trails were varied. Flat plains, valleys, steep hills; muddy and rocky, straight and winding paths became additionally challenging when natural elements such as rain, hail, snow and scorching sun took turns to fight for dominion over land. 

The adventure symbolizes the current dichotomy between me and  my visiting muse; and in more severe terms, the unsettling dissonance between earthly beings and threats from the pandemic. Sadly, our adopted beloved country of Spain is in a dire state of the pandemic, as we are in the rest of the world, still my faith remains. For in spite all the unexpected encounters in the Camino, we reached our blessed destination and completed the pilgrimage. I pray, the world in due time will heal from this health crisis.  

The Winding Trail in the Camino de Santiago. ©James Sobredo 2010


The danger it seems, around such
Joyriding muse
Is that it doesn’t really know  
From where its ideas emanate,
Or when its stream of consciousness halts,
And what precarious steep
Winding trail it takes.

As if that’s not punishment enough
To an out-of-control imagination
With a totally unknown
Or worse yet, forbidding destination.

Because this muse is unforgiving, 
It seethes through
While "sheltering in place,"
A statewide order fast becoming
In emergencies, that means
Stay indoors until danger
Is abated…Sadly, the pandemic
Appears not to be
For the short term. The threat is far more
Widespread than the public
Was led to believe.

The threat
And losses are growing
Exponentially beyond our grasp,
Beyond capacities of many infrastructures
Aimed to sustain us, sustain
People’s livelihood, health and
Peace of mind.
Brokenness, incompetence
Or complete absence of systems and such,
Are shamefully exposed.

This is torture, my heart warns. 
When the body is cooped up, the mind
Under the spell of poetry gods, and
The beating heart nursing old memories,
Old wounds, new fears
Are in survival mode,  
Uncertain how all would end--
The poem, the muse, and humanity’s fate.

All involved lock hands to fend
When bewitched, or  
Used as an instrument
For the desire and amusement
Of one that has clearly overstayed its welcome
And chose to take shelter in place. My muse,
How will I and the rest of the world fare?
What should one do with you amid this crisis, pray tell?

Whatever the answer, don’t wait too long.
As Mother Earth overwrought with unspeakable sins
Suffers. Innocent children caged. Truths and lies
Made indistinguishable. A system overloaded
Should not be norm.

My muse sincerely wants
To petition God, all the gods
To please don’t let
This pandemic last too long.

The danger it seems around such
Joyriding virus
Is that it doesn’t care  
From where it emanates,
Or when catastrophe halts,
And what precarious steep
Winding trail it takes.

But people must care
Enough to shelter in place, help curb
The spread and heal the Earth.

Poem ©Lu Sobredo
Photo ©James Sobredo

About the Author 
Lu Sobredo is writer/publisher at Lu Travels Abroad, a blog dedicated to folks whose limitations do not hamper them from traveling. A year into early retirement her world collapsed from the diagnosis of Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA). Her total life changed, but she did not let RA define her. With love from family, friends and an awesome doctor, she regained some functionality--her new normal. She will have RA all her life. And she now writes about life and travel with RA. During the pandemic of 2020, she stays put and writes poetry and a first novel, a travel of sorts but in the heart and mind.


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