Love in the Time of COVID

A Chronicle of a Pandemic

Poetry, Video

A Recital of Poems – Sam Clements, Lisa Lucas, Keith Nunes, Liz MacIntyre, DeWitt Clinton & Kyra Gillies

glacé by Sam Clements

wafer thin,



of glass,

how you



all before you,


love and











Sounds by Lisa Lucas

The sounds of a kitchen,
mostly predictable:
the shatter of ice when boiling water hits,
a song for tart iced tea.
The crunchy snap of an apple before the door slams,
savoured before the rush.

Sounds safely secured

until a pot drops
on a tile floor,
vibration jolts a memory,




Nighthawking by Keith Nunes

Keith Nunes, By the light


Construction in a Time of COVID by Liz MacIntyre

The builder stands on our roof,
The ringleader in the circus.
He comes and goes, sometimes he stays,
I just want a pantry, but the job grows.
All 600 nails in the roof need replacing
and while he’s up there he sees a problem
with the flue so he calls in the fireplace man
who tuts and scrabbles around in the soot.
He can repair it, not replace it, so we breathe out
And nod and smile and say thank you.

The builder – as mysterious as a surgeon,
A lawyer, an accountant, a dentist – produces
With a flourish, plasterboard, as scarce as hens’ teeth,
Ta-dah! And we are grateful.

Every step’s a symphony as tools clash
Around his waist and hips,
Each one a mystery; the heft of them!
We bow to his expertise,
His experience, his knowledge, his power
Wondering why we spent years bent over books
Instead of running up and down ladders.

The builder magics up the plasterers who come and
Do half a job, a good job but only half and then
The weather
And Covid (them)
And Covid (us) and family stuff keeps them away
And we stare at the blotchy walls and wonder when
The pantry will be finished.

We scurry around and make cups of coffee,
Pass around beers at the end of the day,
Leaning on the verandah rail,
Watching the sunset,
Chewing the fat,
Shooting the breeze,
We’re all mates.

Then, with a flick of his baton and a wide smile
He gathers up his boys, his drills, his rubbish (bless!)
Toolboxes, snakey cords, nail gun,
Hammers and magazines of screws, drills and drill bits
And leaves us in the darkened house, the pantry
A light and empty void, ready to be filled.

We wait for his bill.

Cupboard, completed


Dusted by DeWitt Clinton

I’m quite lost, though I don’t know what just
Happened where something I once knew about
Suddenly is missing, as in I placed something
Somewhere, though someone whispered just
The other day that it has now turned first to
Wood from an old redwood, and now it’s almost
Petrified.  Of course, this is a mystery to everyone,
Including you of course, as you will probably
Pretend you know nothing about what is now
So lost, no one can even remember what it was
Once before, when it was not lost, but that’s
Not quite the point, is it, so we’re here, trying
To figure out if someone has pulled a hood
Over everything that was once beautiful, and
Now whenever we can even glance at it, all
We see is a faded mirror of what it once was,
But really, what was it the first place that
Was so precious, so tender, so passionate
That none of us could even get any sleep
As we were so consumed by what that was,
But the mystery, for both of us, is not so
Much where it is now, but tell me, just
How do you think all of this misery surprised
Us as if we just awoke on the bed we slept
In forever, and now, even when we shake
The blankets just a little to make up what
We thought was ours, all we have is a tiny
Dust storm of flying motes and possibly in-
Flight creatures so disturbed by what once
Was but that’s what it must be, don’t you
Think, weren’t you here that evening when
All just began to float away without any
Sense of what made any of it lift into the
Night air like that, that by the next morning
No one no one knows how to talk about
What happened, and before, everyone was
So pleasant, so conversational, so loving, and
Now we can’t even figure out where everyone
Has gone, as if something tiny entered into
All our loved ones, and without even a hacking
cough, or a chest so tight, or a fever that
Makes us chip our teeth, suddenly, we have
Just disappeared like that, and no one wants
To even get close to what is now a corpse.
Which just minutes before was someone
We loved so much, but then, perhaps it really
Is as someone just asked, is this the end?
And why didn’t anyone know that, now that
We’re gone, not here, dusted, quite lost.


Emanate / embrace by Kyra Gillies

I come home to myself
I have never forgotten
I come home to who I am

Receive the embrace of
A half moon in the sky

Hips emanating with ripples

In the water I remember who I am
The river reminds me
Always here
Always moving
The current cultivates
Such stillness
Contradictions cohere

As peace

Barefeet clambering rocks and moss
Playful splashes of fish
Life is a joy

Celebrate the divine in us
Gentle breeze against cheek
Felt as a kiss
Emanate love
Dusky skies reciprocate


Sam Clements’ poetry has appeared in Landfall and Jamaica’s Sunday Gleaner; his flash fiction in the international journal Flash Frontier. He has performed at festivals featuring prominent New Zealand and international artists, including Milan Milisavljević, principal violist in the Met Opera Orchestra; the APO’s principal violist, Robert Ashworth; the singers, song writers, and guitarists Sonia Wilson and Nigel Gavin; jazz musician and pianist, Ben Fernandez; and pianist Sherry Grant. He co-edited the anthology This Twilight Menagerie, and emcees at Poetry Live! 

DeWitt Clinton has two poetry collections (Conquistador narratives) from New Rivers Press, a recent collection of poems, At the End of the War (Kelsay Books, 2018), and a new collection from Is A Rose Press, By a Lake Near a Moon: Fishing with the Chinese Masters, plus a collection of poetic adaptations of Kenneth Rexroth’s 100 Poems from the Chinese.  He is Professor Emeritus at the University of Wisconsin, Whitewater, and lives in Shorewood, Wisconsin.  


Kyra Gillies is poet of Pākehā Irish, Scottish, Spanish and Romani descent living on the lands of Kāi Tahu in Ōtepoti Dunedin. They have produced and performed three award-nominated spoken word poetry shows: Pissed Off! Passionate and Hopeful 2017, Flowers Through the Cracks 2020 and Fierce Love and Fresh Air 2021. Their work has been published in the Otago Daily Times, Oscen, Awa Wahine and Noncompliant. They enjoy walking amongst flax and ocean coastline.


Lisa Lucas has written for Reader’s Digest and several newspapers. She has written extensively on issues related to literacy and health that were featured in publications by the Canadian Public Health Association, several literacy organizations, and hospitals across Canada. Currently, she writes for children, covering subjects from climate change to refugees, and recently, she has ventured into the world of poetry.


Liz MacIntyre is a former journalist and public relations manager, now retired at Hahei on the Coromandel Peninsula. She is enjoying the time to write what she likes – short stories (flash fiction), poetry and all sorts.



Keith Nunes (Aotearoa/New Zealand) has had poetry, fiction, haiku and visuals published around the globe. He creates ethereal manifestations because he’s inept at anything practical or useful. 




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