Writing the Distance: Susan Soule

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. Today’s poem and photograph are from Susan Soule.


I used to be plain old,
Though I didn’t feel it.
Now I am not just old, but high risk.
I feel that alright.
And It’s not just me that’s at high risk,
But life as I’ve known it,
A good life, a lucky life,
Loving parents,
Plenty of opportunity,
A good education
Nice homes, lots of travel,
Time spent in nature,
husbands and lovers,
Children, grandchildren, family, friends.
Dinner parties, dances, restaurants, concerts, theater, museums. So much.
I don’t know If I will see much of that again.
Remember, I’m old.
There might not be enough time left, even if I survive this virus.
So I ask my middle-aged children, my grandchildren
Remember so you can tell the great grandchildren I will likely never know. Tell them of all we had
And lost.
And tell them why.
How we took our earth for granted and abused her,
How we traveled and explored and mined and harvested
And left too little room for other living things.
Tell them how we failed to notice, failed to plan.
Tell them how greed and racism divided us, turned us against each other. Tell them the truth, what’s been lost and why
And hope they, those unknown great grandchildren,
Will not just recreate and rebuild,
But will create and build anew, better, more balanced.
So please, tell them.
I will too,
If I’m around,
But, remember,
I‘m old.
There might not be time.


Susan Soule is retired, living in Anchorage, hunkered down and missing the days when her work connected her to many people all across Alaska.

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