Front Porch During COVID-19

Editor’s Note: Carolyn Newman is a retired music specialist and frequent writer of poetry. Her scientist husband, George, and her creative writer son, Jason, contributed to this poem.


Morning cup of coffee out on the front porch swing,
George on the baritone uke and sometimes I would sing,
Joined by Duke, our faithful border collie
Beginning late March ’20, what all did we see?

When I walked outside just before sunrise,
A sounder of hogs gave quite a surprise!
Yet crazier still, I made a note
Of a mama deer chasing a big coyote.

The sun broke free and slowly it did rise,
The outdoor world awoke before our very eyes.
First signs of spring were everywhere,
Chattering birds flittered here and there.

And then a lesson of the oak trees in our view,
Grown by George and his class at HSU,
These very oaks began when his class did see
After weeks of rain—acorns sprouting on a live oak tree.

They nursed the young sprouts into newly growing trees,
Two of which he planted here in 1983.
Back then I thought my grandkids would not enjoy their shade,
But they grew and grew and oh, the memories we’ve made!

We put up bird feeders and added ample seed,
And a tufted titmouse was the first to feed,
Then a rarer bird, and I just have to say
I have never seen such a colorful array!

Indigo blue, red and chartreuse green,
A male painted bunting that is seldom seen!
Unlike the flighty titmouse, at the feeder he did stay
And when the female bunting came he scolded her away.

Painted bunting, titmouse, roadrunner and its nest,
A family of eastern bluebirds, winged beauty at its best
Bossy mockingbird and cardinals trading sounds,
Woodpeckers, hummingbirds, the birds that did abound.

Noble great horned owl, western kingbird, collared dove,
Barn swallows, hawks and chimney swifts swirling up above.
And though we could not see them for they stayed well out of sight,
We heard the chirp and undeniable call of the bobwhite.

Scissortails, larksparrows, the busy bewick’s wren,
White-crowned sparrow, yellow-billed cuckoo, and then
Blue jays, raucous grackle, and a shrike perched in a tree,
God’s majestic flying creatures on display for George and me.

From the field came calves after a morning meal of grass
On their way to water, we watched them slowly pass.
Angus heifers, two red, one black and a longhorn we named Fling,The latter mysteriously died not long after the close of spring.

My ornithologist husband taught me each bird’s special call,
With the use of binoculars, I saw fine details on them all.
We exchanged our special knowledge as I helped him to see
How to choose ukelele chords when in the key of G.

Working at the ranch, simple projects here at home,
By the time I wrote this po’try, six months had already flown.
We will remember this, there seems to be more time
For scrabble or at home movies with this 56 year husband of mine.

There’s much more time to love on Duke, our dog for now twelve years,
Such a faithful companion, at time it brings me tears.
He gets excited to see George and me early in the day
When we go outside for porch time, throw the frisbee and just play.

Good things will return to this world that’s changing oh so fast,
Time spent with God, prayer, family—precious things that last
We need to thank you, Lord, for the goodness in our life,
And ask your gracious blessings on those so filled with strife.

Staying home, keeping distance, wearing masks and washing hands,
Trying to make a difference, comply with COVID’S demands.
Missing church and friends and missing family,
Some old folks sit on the porch, but that can’t be George and me.

Carolyn Newman

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