Writing the Distance: Nancy Deschu

The Covid 19 pandemic is isolating Alaskan writers. We can no longer attend workshops or public readings. The coffee bars where we met with other writers are closed. To bridge these physical gaps, 49 Writers is providing this on-line forum for Alaskans writing the distance. Nancy Deschu provides today’s poem and photograph.


Ice and snow still cover the pond,
yet three swans, first of the season,
rest here after an unfathomable flight –
veiled in morning fog, frost settled on feathers,
assuming the shape of pillows of snow.

Last night, beneath the full milky moon,
they slept, silently – Breath in, Breath out –
restoring their bodies for the next journey
to far-north tundra ponds to nest,
to bring forth life, to renew their species.

But among the human species, a deadly virus swarms insidiously.
Worldwide we move with caution, with separation,
nervous of our own broken breath;
We wonder when this particular suffering will end,
how life for us will be months, even years, from now.

Yet, look – a hopeful scene to witness –
These white swans from far south –
here in our city, breathing the crisp air,
recovering strength to soar north,
Lifting our spirits with their flight.

Nancy Deschu lives in Alaska and writes non-fiction and poetry based on science and the landscape.

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