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Stay home cloud, the sky / is closed

Renga of a Distanced Spring: a COVID-19 Story

September 26, 2020

Seven local poets and a film-maker share their work "Renga of a Distanced Spring"

Renga of a Distanced Spring

"Renga" is a genre of Japanese collaborative poetry in which alternating stanzas by two or more poets are linked in succession. Six months ago, on March 17, the province of Ontario announced a state of emergency in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Here in Kingston, seven poets co-wrote “Renga of a Distanced Spring". Filmmaker Ali Dixon shot an animated video to accompany this renga, presented in retrospect by the Skeleton Park Arts Festival. You can also find the video on KFPL’s YouTube channel. The text has been posted on the KFPL Poetry Blackboard.

Renga of a Distanced Spring

by Ashley-Elizabeth Best, Nancy Jo Cullen, Jason Heroux, Helen Humpreys, Kirsteen MacLeod, Sadiqa de Meijer and Sarah Tsiang

Stay home cloud, the sky
is closed and there is no wind,
but you’re not alone.

Through the window a sparrow,
her song as large as summer.

Purple crocus, April snow.
The confusion of what
will stay or pass.

Frogs resurge in icy ponds,
peep their song: it all comes back.

Returned to sender, 
now its postage
is a raindrop tracing a twig.

Midges quiver sunspots at
dusk spilling a cool spring air.

Clouds of midges:
joyous crowd, small bodies 
swim through our shared sea of air.

New morning at the corner
of Division and Union.