Poetry: Virginia Bach Folger


We live the strange days. Tenuous new days
when sun’s rising seems uncertain. Days of distance.
Days of sorrow. We endure fearful days that swallow
us whole. Waiting days. Uncharted, undefined.
We live unsettled days. We live the early morning when
day is almost new and the sky still dark.

Survival demands distance, space. Alone, apart, dark.
Confinement burdens us. Friendships fray. Days
gather in long lonely lines. Weeks wait for when
months reappear. We breathe the deepening distance.
At mid-morning, what remains? Blank undefined
minutes, hours, ingested swallow by swallow.

The sun marks its zenith without our notice. A swallow
wings upward, chasing the solar path, its shadow dark
against the land. We live in odd times. Strangeness undefined
blunts our vision, makes us nearly blind. Lost days.
We are each alone. Quiet, withdrawn, constrained. Distance
protects our existence. The first dimming of the light, when

we wait for stars to begin their blaze, that’s when
memory drifts to one night when we heard a swallow
sing before the moon began its rise, when all distance
between us dissolved. Tonight, this night, only the dark.
A dark in which we quiver alone, where and when
we fade quietly and endure the undefined.

We breathe in moments of blankness, glimpse undefined
portals opening onto unknown futures. When
we at last can gather again together, days
we can at last drink more than a mere swallow
from the wells of community, when light defeats dark
and when closeness vanquishes enforced distance.

We live the strange days. Nature is at a distance.
Everything is change. All is newly undefined.
We are newborns in a new world. All is dark.
Our prior experience explains nothing when
all the old rules no longer apply. If we swallow
what we once knew, will nights consume days?

When dark tree skeletons appear, and winter deepens, when
undefined years become bitter pills, and distance is so hard to swallow,
when all fades, and all renews. We live the strange days.




Virginia Bach Folger lives in 1888 Victorian house in Schenectady, New York, where she writes from an upper turret room. She has held various jobs from gas station attendant to corporate learning and development manager.