April 8 – Maria Ibarra-Frayre – “A comfort for lean times — Lean times”

Wednesday, April 8, 2020  

During these demanding times the Work Day/Hard Times List has been receiving more poems than usual.   Their authors are women and men, adults and children.  They risk fresh language that often surprises us as we read and edit.  Perhaps a collective solitude and the pandemic’s ominous portents – news of death and grief – opens our imaginations to the sheer beauty we hear and see around us.  “We are brave and beautiful,” these moments seem to tell us:  “Beautiful,” “Brave,”  and “Beloved.”   Our lives remind us that we are worth strong poems.

Best to read Maria Ibarra-Frayre’s contemplation of a pot of orchids on her window sill out loud, with pauses.    Have a blest day.


john sj

p.s.      In Detroit our pre-midnight offered us rolling thunder, punctuated by astonishing lightning bolts, enclosed in a strong hail storm.  Had me leaning out my west window.  Three hours later, I woke to fresh clear skies and an astonishing full moon.  Such beauty!  I lost some sleep gazing at it.



Today’s Post:  “Orchids on a sill”    

The orchids on my windowsill
Don’t know the world
On the other side of the glass is shattering.
Their velvet, white and purple petals
Don’t know
That outside we can’t touch
The faces of our loved ones.
That I haven’t held the
Hand of the person I love in seven weeks,
But really it feels like seven lifetimes.

My orchids,
So gently unaware
That everyday this week I’ve spent
Twelve hours a day in front of a computer
Sifting through plans and names and stories
Of people who don’t know how they will
Pay rent, keep their lights on, or keep themselves safe.

All I know is that I want to keep them safe.
Safe and nourished like the orchids
On my window sill
So full of blooms that it looks like they
could topple over with joy.
Their roots entangled with each other,
Leaning on the cold and smooth glass,

A comfort for lean times.
Lean times,
Like when all their button blooms dried
And only two bare stick-stems remained.

They lost their color
I almost threw them out.
Instead, with doubt I dug the
Nail of my index finger into the glossy long leaf.

It bled.
Bled enough to keep me from throwing it out.
A sign of life.

Many months later, at their own pace, my orchids are blooming again.
Unaware that outside the world is bleeding.
Holding in their tiny pea-sized blooms
a quiet trust that life will grow again.

I walked by the orchids again this evening.
They laughed at me in their secret delight,
Saying, “We do know. We are leading you into bloom”.


Maria Ibarra-Frayre
Writer, feminist, unapologetically undocumented

This entry was posted in Poetry. Bookmark the permalink.