Sheltered in Place

September 11, 2020

Deep breaths . . . sing out loud.

Sheltered in Place

-for Ron Pies, MD

Richard M. Berlin, MD

Frigid March morning.
I read fresh COVID headlines.
Black ink stains my hands.

The black bear woke up
for his annual trashing
of our bird feeder

while April light warms
snow drops and tilled garden soil
as if nothing’s wrong.

Little granddaughters
shelter safely in our house—
no time for haiku!

Baby Beluga
our COVID-19 soundtrack.
Deep breaths, sing out loud.

Legos own the floor.
Baby screams for mother’s milk.
Earth Day turns fifty.

COVID-19 death—
blue body, tearful intern.
Senior doctor coughs.

Corona commute—
twenty steps to my office
Why am I so tired?

Mother’s Day snow storm—
White flakes on white plum flowers,
the pleasure doubled.

Patient’s face on Zoom—
treatment as usual but
hard to see his heart.

Four therapists on Zoom—
Quiet expert listeners.
I talk much too much.

Three perfect blue eggs.
Three ugly chicks. What did I
think would grow from worms?

No local COVID
deaths for two days! July sky—
Maxfield Parrish blue.

Dr Berlin is Instructor in Psychiatry, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester.

The haiku “COVID-19 death” was first presented as a recording for “Social Distancing, Haiku, and You!” a digital sound collage created by Alan Nakagawa for the Orange County Museum of Art (OCMA). Nakagawa asked participants from around the world to write and digitally record haikus inspired by their own personal experiences during the pandemic. Nakagawa subsequently created a sound collage that interweaves the multitude of voices (around 500) into a single composition.

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