Showing up

Today my love and I
Took a long walk
In the wooded hills
Near our home.
The trails were muddy
From yesterday’s rain
And alongside them
Wildflowers of all kinds
Were blooming –
Shooting stars, checker lilies, lupine,
Hound’s tongue, paintbrush, blue-eyed grass.
The creek was murmuring contentedly
With fresh runoff
And we sat for a few moments
In a sunlit meadow
Listening to the water
As we worried about our loved ones,
Agonized for all those
Who have been laid off from their jobs
Or have had no choice
But to close their businesses,
And grieved for the thousands
Who have lost someone dear.
Yes, we thought, plague and contagion
Are devastating lives
And wreaking havoc
All around the planet,
And yes, we thought,
Like the medicos and grocers and deliverers
And all the essential workers
Selflessly toiling
To help us continue,
Beauty keeps showing up for work
In this bruised and battered world.

Buff Whitman-Bradley's poems have appeared in many print and online journals. His most recent books are To Get Our Bearings in this Wheeling World, and Cancer Cantata. With his wife Cynthia, he produced the award-winning documentary film "Outside In," and with the MIRC film collective, made the film "Por Que Venimos." His interviews with soldiers refusing to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan were made into the book "About Face: Military Resisters Turn Against War." He lives in northern California. Read other articles by Buff.