By Valerie J Laidlaw
May 27, 2020

I’m sad.
Children see too much injustice, today.
Power is a priviledge.
Power is not to be taken to an inhumane level.
It is scary to see how this happens.
It does not need to happen.
Please, protect and serve,
With love and compassion.
I am glad to know there are some, or most, people who do.
We are all in this world together with empathy and compassion for a person who cried out to our common humanity, beyond the inhumanity shown to him.
A film speaking, pleading, and crying out for someone rendered silent will live on in our memories.
In our hearts,
In our souls,
All lives matter!

Mother’s Day Musings

Mother’s Day Musings
By Valerie J Laidlaw
May 10, 2020

A pair of geese with their goslings,
Near the nursing home pond, grazed.
Sparrows baby’s nested in a metal-capped chimney,
As they did in prior years, and days.
The Cardinal Red with his mate appeared,
Too brief for the shutter’s encapture.
In a pine tree, the Blue Jay sang a simple, unique song,
Alerting listeners of his presence, yet too soon, was gone.
Adding to our collection of natural things,
A Blue Heron arrived fanning the sky with his outstretched wings,
Against the paleness of solid, white clouds,
He looked so brilliant, and majestically proud.
Our resident, red squirrel appeared a little less agile,
As she nearly missed her branches,
She still climbed, reached out, and jumped,
Successfully, taking her chances.
Munching on the tree buds, she appeared more chubby,
As her pregnancy showed advances.
The prize of the day, went to a tiny, bright yellow bird,
As he waited, and watched the photographer stand near him.
He jumped from the tree to the cement, with less than a foot between them.
He flew next to a bush, with branches and sticks.
The photographer noticed, the bush was too thick,
Yet, the little bird next flew to a tree, and danced on a branch,
As he posed, he gave the photographer a final last glance.
So, the camera focused, and its shutter went “click.”

nature’s respite

nature’s respite
by valerie j. laidlaw
may 7, 2020

drinking a morning coffee,
the warm sun shining down,
kooper keeps on howling,
he misses his little buddy,
across the other side of town.

beyond the rain-soaked deck,
the lawn’s a softened green,
with the treebuds rinsed off in the rain
the leaves unfold, again.

between the branches,
a squirrel is haunched,
nibbling on some bird’s feed,
as he coyly munches on.

the squirrel scolds a black bird,
a banter, back and forth, is heard
the squirrel crawls, down from the shed,
then, back up on a tree branch, instead.

the ducks and geese fly northward,
the birds whistle their morning songs,
a neighbor tries mimicing the melody,
cheerfully, whistling along.

the sound of a far off jet plane,
and, the grinding of a train,
briefly, remind me of mankind,
until nature calls me back, again.

“20/20 Hindsight in 2020”

“20/20 Hindsight in 2020”
Valerie J Laidlaw
May 6, 2020

Covid-19, sadly,
Is spreading out, badly.
Many people are concerned, safe from harm, and want to be healthy,
Others, are upset with businesses shuttered, and monetary losses among the wealthy.
I’ve always been told when a finger is pointed,
The remaining ones point back.
With overall pleas, unfulfilled supplies, needs, and safeguards in lack,
As the pandemic spreads, and numbers of people affected stack,
Who’s the victim, or the fool, when policies slack?

Hindsight is 20/20,
In the year 2020,
Yet, we aren’t beyond all this enough to get a good perspective,
Until, years from now, when we are fully retrospective.

Thank You Minnesota!

By Valerie J Laidlaw
April 28, 2020

Monday morning, “Get out of bed!”
“Go on a daily walk, instead!”
My cardinal showed up, again, my friend, scarlet red!
A pair of Mallards, flew overhead,
Such a quiet walk, as I listened, and cleared up my mind,
Appreciating nature, as I tried leaving worries behind.
Calling my mom’s care center which has been closed off from visitors,
I made a plan of dropping off a tote, and purple violas, for her.
Leaving those with the nurse at the door,
I decided to drive eastward, a little bit more.
As I headed towards a tourist’s lakeshore.
I drove through the quiet streets of downtown,
Where, a handful of businesses were open, yet, the majority were shut down.
Only a few souls walked through the park,
Briefly, a couple had submerged in the cool water, on a lark.
Typically, the shoreline and the water is packed,
Boats bringing skiers, fishermen, and tourists outward and back,
On this quarantined forenoon, the lake, and shoreline, were completely bare,
Except for a man and his dog, walking the length of the sidewalk, while I was there.
A few birds appeared, bathing and pecking through debris on the shore,
The scene was so quiet and still, and haunting, and no more.
As I drove homeward, I saw a series of majestic, white swans,
Between towns and farmsteads, on lakes and on ponds.
Although it was nice to get out from being house-bound,
It was sad, in a way, seeing what I had found.
The stillness and quietness, when no one is around.
Children playing, laughter, and the absence of sound.

Caring & Carrying On

By Valerie J Laidlaw
April 26, 2020

As the morning dawn keeps rising,
So do the numbers, locally and globally.
As we listen, we wonder, what’s beyond the next horizon?
More cancellations of our rituals and routines,
While protestors confront the restrictions, and cause havoc, and scenes.
States and city government each make their own rules,
While children stay safe at home apart from their activities and schools.
Exposed workers grow in fear, waiting and hoping,
Plants close down, sanitize, restructure, and many may too quickly reopen.
Creative people carry on, playing, exercising, and teaching,
From their homes, the media finds safe ways of outreaching,
On line, from empty churches, and in drive-in parking lots, religious leaders keep preaching.

It seems like not so long ago, as a newlywed couple,
My husband and I had reached out, hugging both of his sons,
An unfamiliar gesture to them, which we had recently begun.
Hugs had also extended towards our moms, my children, grandchildren, and the rest of us all.
Now, with isolation, distance contacts, texting, and calls,
We are saddened, disheartened as we witness everyone’s overall human contact befall.

The suffering and losses are unimaginably great,
With stories of survival which are touching our hearts,
Recovery is longterm, and will ultimately take,
Enormous hope, patience, cooperation, and caring,
With each of us helping, to the best of our abilities, on our share, and our parts.

Current State of Being

By Valerie J Laidlaw
April 17, 2020

During the week of 911, during a phonecall, inquiring about flights,
The lady on the line made a statement so decisive and right,
“There ain’t nothing for certain anymore!”
It showed how our country had been rocked to its core.

Currently, previously uncharted in our lifetime,
Political leaders, uncertain of the impact,
In a less populous state,
There was a recent, sad fate.
A huge, viral “clustered” outbreak in a pork processing plant of workers, with their contacts evolved,
Affecting a whole chain of farmers, grocers, consumers, and the whole spectrum of people involved.
Closures change daily, affecting all of us, record numbers of unemployed, shortages growing in essential supplies,
With this weird, new reality, we wonder, what kind of world is it in which our future lies?
We are never an island in this world of humanity,
Trying to make sense of this recent insanity.
Cautiously, we carry on, technologically connecting to our loved ones at hand,
Cherished images of grandbabies, puppies, visualizing virtually as we explore faraway lands.
I’m reminded of words in a previous poem which I wrote,
“Reality can seem … more like a dream
Now … the enchanting calamity
My dreams confuse reality.”
Presently, befitting my feelings with this quote.

Shopping Behind a Hand-sewn Mask

By Valerie J. Laidlaw
April 11, 2020

At home,
I had been sewing,
Playing “YouTube,”
And, in my mind, singing along,
To one of my mom’s favorite songs,
With Doris Day singing “Qué será, será!”

I had realized that I did need to venture out,
After weeks of isolation, safely hidden,
A short distance, which I had ridden,
For several months, that seemed eons, ago.
I parked in the familiar lot, in the unfamiliar.
The cartpusher had a triangular bandanna,
Across his face, his fight against pandemia.
None of the usual greetings were exchanged,
As I was funneled in.
Pulling a wipe from the dispenser,
Three slipped out dripping antibacterial chemicals,
Which I sloshed over the handles of my hosed-down cart.
Signs referred to measured out 6-foot distancing,
Pleas for safe, essential shopping were displayed,
As the “worker bees” kept open their doors.

Some of this community respect the virus we are trying to “flatten,”
Others refuse to think that anything dire will happen.
The same ones who ventured out at all hours throughout the night with their babies and toddlers in trolleys,
Now, crowded and wandered in a store with their vulnerable children, unprotected in this “folly.”
My heart reached out to those innocent, little ones which I wished I could shield and protect,
Against all the possible suffering in this war pandemic.

Grateful, that my grandchildren were safely quarantined, nestled in their homes,
I quickly gathered the few items which I needed to buy,
Leaving, my strong, fearless, former coworker briefly exchanged a quick nod of greeting towards me with her eyes.
Directed to the left, I shuffled out with my cart,
My mind then sang, “Love is a Battlefield!”
With Pat Benatar, as I departed.