COVID Poetry Project

LOVE IN THE TIME OF COVID-19: Spoken Word from Quarantine by Andre Hirsch Todorovich

(Videographer: Vaysha Hirsch Todorovich)


We exist, we thrive, all space and all time

Illumination of all that we find

Within our cells, within our deepest wells

A Source sustained through pandemic infection

Win or lose paradigms no longer fit the picture

Safe-guarding people from breath failure

Old and young deathly ill from COVID-19

Quarantine and separate, remembering real living

Human wildfire dividing all green spirits

How to survive if not through each other

Exchanging love transcends all race and mother tongues

The answer, the synergy, awareness of all as one

People, faces, all around our earth are crying

Call on humanity, remember we are One

Within, without, stand apart, we were born to transcend

We live and die, but share the right to defend

Clockwork blossoms follow cycles of our seasons

Rise and bloom with purpose and wisdom

Interconscious tribes, save our quarantined families

All choices add up to our unified survival

And everyone impacts the world-wide viral

Contracting COVID could absolutely weaponize us

Harming ones we adore, too close, too soon, harming more…

In isolation we grow the flower of compassion

Human ninety-eight percent, same DNA metabolism

Ears to hear, eyes to see, same desire for what lies within

Sharing interdependence from a distance…

And there is no price for indispensable members

All space, all time, so mote it be, our hearts won’t die

Transcend all limiting definitions

Yes, it’s the highest good, the good of all, according to free will

Thus harming none, thus growing, thus harvesting

Thus breathing without viral-filters

An end to isolation, nears imagination, open with kindness

We’re all together in this realization

The world unfurls for us, unlimited united nations…

Safely, all heroic first-responders, nurses, farmers, grocery workers and food-train drivers

Safely, all scientists, doctors, governors, friends and family who fight the virus

Safely, all news media, musicians, writers, artists, comedians and morale-boosters

Safely, all quarantined, banging pots, zooming and playing instruments through this crisis

We exist, we thrive, all space and all time

Illumination of all that we find

Within our cells, within our deepest wells

It Matters by Peter K. Kuhrt (age 79)

Does it really matter, how far we’ve gone astray?
Should we really care, how we will fare someday?
Our world the way we know it, has changed down to the core
With evil and betrayal, will there be love no more?
And does it really matter, if brother kills his kin?
Has God become so silent, that we must live in sin?
My brothers and my sisters, in hope let us unite!
Trust our great creator, for he will set things right!
It matters that we realize, we need to love each other
And don’t be fooled by those who say
It doesn’t really matter!

Sitting at the beach by Shirlene Donnelly

Gentle waves, contradicting each other – playing for direction
Remnants of trees on the sand – outstretched – crumbling back to earth
Pebbles, rocks – an endless variety of textures, shapes and colors
Ocean – expansive and in constant motion
Cotton ball clouds hugging the mountain tops
Soaring gulls – riding the air currents, crying out their freedom – there’s always a
Jonathan Livingston Seagull, perfecting the art of flight
Distant children’s voices, readily and easily in the moment – the ‘now’ we often
seem to strive for
Alone – and yet not –
The distant mountains envelop us with their strength –
The water calms the breathing as the breeze gives welcome relief from the
harshness of the sun
I’m so small, but I am also part of all those things – the water, the mountain, the
cloud, the tree, the voices of the children, the soaring gull, the gentle breeze –
the ever-changing scene of life
the ultimate now, this sweet moment in time.
All is well.

Untitled by Shelby Bell (Kwalikum Secondary Student)

The simple pleasures
Ordinarily ordinary
Cups of coffees at cafes
With conversions flowing over
Laughter and smiles with those you love
So precious and tender
Between classes having rowdy hallway interactions
The comedic technical slip of the lip or class clown distractions
Grabbing milk at the grocery store
Leaving with crackers, bananas, and detergent
Handshakes with cubical pals
Lunch dates with the gals
All in a normal day
The simple pleasures
Stripped away
Each left rubbed raw
The cherished events
Sweat stained jerseys and joyous smiles after the game
Making a wish to just blow away
Uniting two people to come together as one
Throwing up hats with diplomas fiercely gripped
The simple pleasures
The cherished moments
The celebratory days
All stripped away
Each left rubbed raw
Day by day
Over and over
Stripping and rubbing
There is nothing more left to take
Stripping and rubbing
Oh how it aches
The caving of my back
Slouching of my shoulders
And bowing of my head
All stem from the overwhelming dread
Unable to do anything
Avoiding confrontation and rehabilitation
Lying in bed

Blankets of silence setting the tone
Motionless upon appearance
Restless upon realization
First annoyance pokes and provokes
As dread consistently convokes
Melting my mind away
Desperately calling for the pleasant parts to stay
Alas I cannot have it my way
I lie awake as the concept of time continues to shuffle along
Uneasy that everything is wrong
Just waiting until sleep takes me away
A soothing pause before another exhausting day

Qualicum Beach by Luka Janeski (age 8)


The Miracle at Qualicum Beach by Lina Janeski (age 12)

The waves rippled over the sea as gently as can be.
The eagles beady eye looked down from his tree.
It was a miracle as you can see
and the starfish liked to play hide and seek.
In the tide pools tiny sculpins darted back and forth.
The crabs scuttled all along the sandy shore.
It was a miracle as you can see

the ribbons of kelp drifted aimlessly.
The seagulls never ceased to croak and caw.
Whatever you saw you would stare at in awe.
It was a miracle as you can see
Qualicum Beach was like a land of fantasy!

Tea Time by Patrick J.A. Brownrigg

A clear blue sky above our heads
And buds and blossoms in the flower beds
The birds are singing and building a nest
The feeling of spring is here in the West.

The afternoon we’ve waited for
With a proper tea for two (or more)
The table is ready, freshly laid
With Limoge china on a cloth displayed

Silverware is polished bright
Cream and sugar, what a sight!
What to wear, a fancy hat?
What could be any better than that?

The kettle has boiled, steaming still,
The teapot warmed, ready to fill.
Earl Grey or Lapsang Soochong
Neither one is right or wrong

Some would choose a black Ceylon
While others for Chamomile would long,
Doesn’t really matter which
So long as the cream is nice and rich!

Sit up straight and smooth your skirt
Adjust your hat, a touch of flirt
Now it’s time to plate the cakes
So proud that you had freshly baked.

Colourful linen napkins to fold
And a cake stand that is very old
Would that Grandma this scene to see
A smile on her face and me on her knee

Humming birds and butterflies
Floating about up in the skies
Time my lady now says grace
Clasping hands all glove’d in lace

We’ve done our best and set the scene
And as a result it’s fit for a queen
But it’s just us two, thee and me
We’re ready now for our afternoon tea

listen..... by MEL McLachlan

Birds aren’t competing with traffic noise and, sadly, the joyous sounds of children
joggers bikers and walkers are missing the sounds of silence — still plugged into their selfish
isolating micro-world
unlike any other burst of spring we cannot /must not ignore the now, as a beautiful view on a
morning hike –we may never pass this way again
and we can’t dismiss the rigid distance  yearning for an embrace


Bounding, bounding ocean waves,
Slap the shore, roar and rave,
Sounds from your deep sea depths,
Proclaim the mighty power of the Lord.
Tides do ebb and tides do flow,
Washing flotsam on the shore,
Yet the hand from which you came,
Came for all in human form,
And he washes the flotsam from our lives,
And offers eternal paradise.
So bounding, bounding ocean waves,
Keep proclaiming the mighty power of the Lord,
And we will both leave flotsam on the shore
we’ll both leave flotsam on the shore.

A NEED TO CARE by June E. Heale

There was a day not long ago,
When grass grew in school yards,
It is sad to think of days when once,
A child could run and jump without fear of falling,
On the hard surfaces of the concrete jungles.
Whom should they blame if blame can be laid?
At whose doorstep should they knock?
They will get no answer, for we do not know ourselves.
We can only hope and pray that all has not been in vain,

That someone, somewhere,
Will wake up and realize what has been lost,
By man’s greed, and desire for material things of life,
That in the end, these really do not matter,
A better life awaits us all.
If we can see beyond the tinsel and gold,
A story that has been told by men,
Of the promised land, and a life of bliss,
For all who believe and want better than this.
We need to love and we need to share,
Above all we need to care.

BALD EAGLES by June E. Heale

Sounds of the sea slapping the shore,
While overhead the bald eagles soar,
Gracefully winging their way,
Through the heaven’s so blue,
Waving farewell to all on the shore,
Wishing them peace evermore.


Furled among the ghost-grey trees
the morning mist stands motionless.
Two barred owls, an hour or so
before the dawn, had called their last.
Unanswered yet, the sound still prowls
along the narrow avenues.

Sprawled within the undergrowth
a prehistoric Sitka Spruce’s
massive stump and moss-greened roots
seem all that’s left; yet a ghostly
silhouette of its ancient grandeur
faintly imprints on the mist.

A silent pathway, undefined

as a deer-trail, tunnels the dark,
its destiny uncertain.
Then, through the thrall of slow ground mist
which lifts and lingers, there appears,
transfixed, a child at the gate.

The warming sunrise fires the trees,
the deep green roofs of Douglas fir
and leafy clumps on silver branched
Hemlock are suffused with sun.
The haze, engulfed, now saunters off,
elusive wisps amidst the trees.

The trail, embellished now by
dusty sunlight’s crazy patterns,
is guarded by the Sitka’s hulk –
a stronghold from whose crumbling walls
hints of mysterious travelers
are surveyed as they journey by.

An eagle intercepts the sun –
black lightning flickers through the trees.
Betrayed by its shadow, its shrill
cry breaks the silence after owls.
The cycle is closed. The child runs,
unbound, to play in the forest.

The Trees of Second Avenue by Judy Hipkin

The night is velvet: dark, intense, yet soft
Beneath a fingernail of moon aloft.
And echoing that moon, along the street
The lamps unspool a pathway for my feet.
Along that path, both generous and wide
The trees of Second Avenue reside.
This summer night, those trees are whispering
Of what the seasons wheeling by will bring.
Those crisp autumnal days that lie ahead:
The golden light, the smell of baking bread,
The trick-or-treaters gathering their sweets,
With dogs in tutus earning doggie treats.
The trees shrug off October colour now.
A season over, time to take a bow.
Then winter sends a gift of filigree
Adorning branches stripped to tracery.
With care the many strings of lights are placed.
With pride the avenue of trees is graced.
The night falls, and the street’s a festive sight
Transformed into a promenade of light.
And suddenly, it’s spring! Each tree will sport
The wherewithal to pay each other court:
They choose to don a modest cloak of pearl,
A sea of froth to make the heart uncurl,
Or, filled with joie de vivre, see them prink,
As glorious flamingos, flaming pink.
In summer, more excitement is the goal:
The avenue takes on a public role.
The trees play host to pipers, grads and art,
A jazz ensemble or a crafters’ mart.
Look! Cadillacs and Mustangs, Edsels too,
Six hundred classic beauties all on view.
And oh! the flowers! Fairest of the fair

In great profusion, colour everywhere!
Tonight is velvet: dark, intense, yet soft
Beneath a fingernail of moon aloft.
A sound, besides my homeward footsteps, steals
Into the night, a sigh of skateboard wheels.
In rhythm with the trees’ nocturnal song
A graceful boy glides effortlessly along.
I smile; he passes lightly as the breeze
That plays upon the avenue of trees.

It’s a Bit of a Reach by Ramona Jones

While waiting to die, find something to do,
So life will distract, the impossible you
From feeling alone with billions together
Braving feared fire, storm lashing weather
There’s a shore for each beach, a place to alight
High tide, low banked, cresting over hindsight
Pick up the refuse, we cannot all disappear
Smile high to the sky, a shell for the ear
Look up, listen close, there’s the true treasure
Not caring for money in any great measure
Turned to plastic and smoke, something so blue
Made to distract the impossible you
From the beach and waves and all who live there
Beachcombers, fishers, sea creatures, fair
I cast my words out, needing something to do
Not waiting to die, while reaching for you.

Birthday in Covid-19 by Barbara Botham

The plan to have a nice dinner
cooked by sister Ev with maybe
a few friends turned into a picnic
one day early responding to the
whims of Mother Nature, the log
long enough to accommodate us
four with the required gap, no food
sharing, that didn’t prevent an age
cake-topping appearing on a rock
between us, the candle obligingly
holding the flames for the photograph
while the two male voices grunted
the odd word of the birthday song
that Ev sang in a warning voice to
encourage them to join in, while
I giggled delightedly at the memorable
scene while the sealions sang louder
than the three, roaring from the
jagged boulders, draping languidly
in the sun or rising mightily to
outdo each other in din, or sliding
into the water to frolic and dive
their fur gleaming like wet balloons
shining silver to replicate the
colour my hair will soon become
without access to my hairdresser
so I will join the myriad of old
heads that will shock us all as we
age overnight displaying truly that
we are the oldest demographic in
Canada, me being told to act my
age by my active three-year-younger
sister as I negotiate the enormous
boulders to get a better look or
find a seat for a while before walking
to the fish processing store to pick
up a salmon and shiny white birthday
stone from the beach which required
more high jinks to maneuver across
boulders to access, proving aging –
all things being equal – can obey
directions even while I become truly
ensconced in my eighth decade of
experiencing the joys of mother
earth and all her inhabitants.


May your home always be big enough to hold all opinions expressed there.
May their validity always be acknowledged and may there be space enough for
each opinion to inhabit its own zone and may there be a space where opinions
meet and converse.
May your ceiling always be high enough to allow all ideas to rise unfettered.
May those ideas always be viewed with calmness and receptiveness
allowing for reasonable debate, built upon, or offered gentle redirection.
May all of the emotions, occurrences, glances, expressions, both internal and
external, sit upon a solid foundation of respect, with enough pockets to hold all
the ideas, opinions, humour, love, joy and everything else that resides in the
May the only infection in your home be laughter, always close enough to the
surface to be able to blossom at every appropriate moment, helping to relieve all
hearts, and sweeten our isolation.
May love rise into every height, slip into every crack, drip into every foundation,
whirl into every thought, so that, when the time is right, it serves to lighten our
soul by finding softness in the present moment, and as we look back.
May all the above be achieved by each of us, not with a mask, nor kid gloves, nor
full body armour, but with an open heart, a smiling heart, a soft heart. May we all
recognise that love is at the core of everything. May we live it.

oh qualicum by Stan Leecups

our ancient home
for eons here
my peoples roam
among the deer
and spray sea-foam
our lives and cheer
on beaches known

My Qualicum Beach Paradise by George Olsen

There is a perfect locale in Canada, in which we can live in peace
This Eden is in Qualicum Beach, where new wonders never cease

Perfection abounds in this domain, where it is my choice to live
The reasons why I call this area paradise, I will now to you give

Residents here are friendly, with a smile you will always be greeted
To a sincere display of their friendship, you will always be treated

An aura of serene tranquility, permeates this friendly community
I rate Qualicum Beach as my utopia, it’s heaven on earth for me

The splendor of nature is seen everywhere, the scenery is supreme
Mountain vistas and ocean views, are only a part of nature’s scheme

Eagles soaring high in the sky, a myriad of song birds with their song
The geese, the ducks, the gulls and deer, to this idyllic paradise belong

I moved to the Qualicum Beach community, just several months ago
Having gone through a traumatic experience, my spirit was very low

Due to the tranquility and the friendliness, that all around me abound
An inspiring mode of retirement living, I have now definitely found

What I have located is utter perfection, a contented life before me now lies
I will live a lifestyle of tranquility here in my Qualicum Beach paradise

The Boardwalk by Jeanne Brownell

Birds calling out,
Eagles landing.
Seals playing in the waves.
Herons patiently fishing in the sand.
There are children-laughing, building castles-parents nearby.
So easy to walk on the boardwalk. Stop to let people go by, have their space and greet them.
Take deep breaths-smell the clean ocean air.
Walk in with my walker-stretch my legs-have conversations with John.
When it’s time to go home I feel invigorated by the clean cool air
and at the same time rested and calm.

Qualicum Beach Poetry by Betty De Bruin

Qualicum Beach is many things.
Not just a pretty little town
Where early spring flowers pop up
And cherry trees bloom as if by magic.
It is a place of gathering
Meeting friends and colleagues
Enjoy concerts and plays
As well as a world class museum to visit.
It depicts a way of life
In which I am privileged to live.
Nature here moves one, as these poems depict
This sentiments (?) living in Qualicum Beach.

Dogwood Trees Along Highway 19 – Victoria to Qualicum Beach
Jewels among jade
Form petals, open wide
To let the light filter through.
Masses of green boughs
Faces turned towards the sky
Praising in silent adoration
Speechless and yet speaking so many words
Each time I see a dogwood among the pines.

Perched high on a bare branch
Silhouetted against grey sky

Dives with speed
Soars above me
Beckoning me to fly
Above life’s clouds
To maintain
Where else but in Qualicum Beach

Walking Along the Beach
(Dedicated to my late husband Len who died in 2011)
Wind rippled through the grass
Back and forth
Like waves crashing upon the shore
Brown otter slithering
Upon the logs.
Blues lines with whitecaps swelling
From the distance
Ships looming
Grotesque like monsters riding the crest.
Cold air, wind blowing in our faces
Hairs flying like swirling wires
Arms clasped around me
Sheltering and protection
Outward unity
Tumultuous pounding
Of my heart as if it will break
Those moments of closeness and unity.

IN MY BLOOMING GARDEN: Spoken Word Poem from Quarantine by Andre Hirsch Todorovich

Videographer: Vaysha Hirsch Todorovich

My words as music raises me in velvet notes

Climbing the stairs of vast space and time

Into the zenith of my meditating mind

I smile when the warm notion of my awakening

Seeps under my eye-lids and slides them open

Flowing in my blooming garden

Sets the air buzzing with youthful presence

When spring-time converses with my gladdened ear

I love myself for the nobility with which I bore

The necessary weight of truthful decisions

Before weight took to flight born aloft on a breeze

The world to me is not a spinning globe upon my mantle

But as forever is long, as the mind is vast

So then is the spinning universe within my revelations

Days are as nights inside years which grow my wise ways

Love renews on my windowsill where I planted it

And nurtured it, shooting green into my living rooms

When my pen touches paper, or inspiration taps the keys

I remember why it was that I ever wrote the words

Listen…what do you hear? What do you revere?

Give eyes the speech to paint, let taste suggest we see

May touch celebrate all traces of love

And let scent arrange the bouquet of our chosen flowers

Speak freely, sing, dance, laugh out loud

In all orders of importance, this is what being pure means:

Leaving the white noise behind, feeling the meaning of the words

Pulsing between the lines of your own essential living

FIND THE GIVEN: Spoken Word Poem from Quarantine by Andre Hirsch Todorovich

(Videographer: Vaysha Hirsch Todorovich)

Picture flipping
Picture tilting, blurring
(Freeze. Freeze it shut)
Mind lurch droning in a muddled banter
Covering over blanks which sigh ever after
Smiling without poetry, life sentences without time
Divine intervention never saved the sky. True…
But improv a thought which hears the next question
And answers that talk with comprehension
Would it scare you to let concepts walk astray
And if they flew?

Would it frighten you to map that terrifying landscape
And would you go?
The lifelong fences never mended inevitable questions
You lie inside that mourning which dawns
And dawns forever standing
Only showing your cankerous fears to the backwards mirror
Drifting, slumbering with intolerable interiors…
But by reflecting those muted expressions
That’s how they did it
Interior giants who whisper in run-on sentences
Always fought for this telling, never told before its holding
Stemmed by the stronghold blocking the tide
Trapped in the crevice of besieged pride
The daunted, defeated words, lie…
Inside this sleeping dream house, great spirits find the given…
Believe, believe with ultimate conviction
In that long awaited, but rarely expected, something that we all live for
It’s yours as you childhood was yours
As is your favourite song, your most treasured friend
Or the smile on your face, which you can make reappear at will
Believe there are many who don’t
For they line the walls of limited vision
But lift the veil of heavy clouds, upon the field of open laughter

You will speak in tongues once past your tip
And fly the spears which line the pits
The paranoia of uncertain days
All the games adversaries will play
To cross a threshold of altered thought
Illuminated by higher talks
And kindled beyond envy or spite
Burnished in truth, dignity, and light
And once upon that foremost height
You will look back with awe
Upon the bygone valleys which you ascended
This is the filling of the blanks…
Believe with ultimate conviction, and act upon it

The Things We Miss by Catharine McLean

We miss the things we used to love,
the lively walks, the food so fondly shared, the concerts, plays, the games, and hugs, the family celebrations.
We miss those things we used to love.

But now a solitary candle on a stump,
a baby’s wave by window framed,
the soft tide slipping up the beach,
and flowers glowing extra bright,
the wildlife welcomed as if new,

Now it seems, in this odd time,
when we have time,
we also love the things we used to miss.

Qualicum Sunset by John Beaton

This evening’s sunset, though ethereal rose,
is not unique—I’ve seen its like before

emblazoning this shore;

others eclipse it, robed and grandiose,
descending suns which, as they disappear,

draw a train

across the polar ice for half a year—
long, silken night that lets in astral rain.

I see no Ellesmere, but islands smolder,
anthracite to bank the sunset’s fire.

As twilight’s rays retire

the ebb-tide bares a sandbar like a shoulder
and ingle-benches empty—seabird flocks

seek nooks of calm;

they search for marsh and carr with goodnight squawks
and sea and sky close like a carmine clam.

In another life I’d clamber Brooks Range talus
or run the Sagavanirktok by canoe,

my paddle breaking through

a dusky, red aurora borealis.
But this is my life and this fair coast, my home,

and this setting sun

deserves to be viewed, not with an eye to roam,
but as if it were the first and only one.