Before Twilight



Even the day lilies

seem too depressed to bloom, afraid

of exposure. I sit in my room


re-reading Poe

and stray  from Prospero’s ball

remembering how I rushed, a mad dance


of  logistics from  London

to Los Angeles

outwitting the virus  Now


I take a deep breath,  wondering

when the guest will come

draped in her strand of droplets


slipping through any  crack

keyhole or other


point of entry.  Shadows ripple

over the shade

showing a branch and bird.


The later flies up

scavenging threads from an old

window screen,


going about her business

of a building a nest. She calls

to a partner


who lingers  in the distance. The sun swollen

shedding its red light

until further notice.


“Prospero’s Ball “alludes to the character and the grand ball  in  Edgar Allan Poe’s short story , “The Masque Of The Red Death.”



  1. Hi Sarah

    Thanks so much for commenting on this poem! I so deeply appreciate your input/insight. I saw this article on Yahoo news about this person who had “out run the virus” internationally and when finally coming home to the US and settling in, was scared of getting it, of confronting the inevitable. I am glad to hear my poem works!

    Many thanks.

    P.S. Jim and I are locked down to a degree here in Southern California but go out periodically for groceries and gas. But so far, we are fine and taking all the precautions the CDC recommends. My prayers, love and wishes for continued good health and safety to you and your family.



    • Hi Craig

      Thanks so much for taking the time to read my poem. I deeply appreciate it! And it is hard to write about this event or any other catastrophic one that surrounds or affects one’s life. The inspiration came from the headlines and sort of naturally developed into a poem. But I do know what you mean about finding it hard to write.

      Please stay safe
      My best


  2. Very well done! I had also thought of Poe’s story, particularly in connection with some of the news stories about gatherings held in defiance of restrictions. Another work which keeps dogging my thoughts is “Little Orphant Annie” by James Whitcomb Riley, only it’s the virus that will get you if you don’t watch out.

    I enjoyed the way you worded this, especially the sense of escaping the virus. It’s getting to where every need to go out for even the most mundane reasons takes on aspects of peril.


    • Hi Michael

      Thanks so much for this wonderful perspective/commentary on this poem! And yes, that story by Poe really struck a chord during this unsettling time with the virus. Even the movie with Vincent Price of the same name,, gives one the shudders. Also see you point about the Jame’s Wright Story. Thanks for pointing that out. Each time my husband and I go out just to shop , we feel kind of uncertain. Though where I live in Southern California, there are only a few confirmed cases but that can so easily change!

      Again thank so much for reading and responding to this poem!
      Take care


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