Poets Salon: Pandemic Panaceas

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Hosted by Kath Abela Wilson

We are in the midst of a great sharing. A strong impulse to be together in spite of distancing. We surprise ourselves and others with our new projects and innovative ideas. We thrive virtually in ways that we could not have imagined and we are sure will continue long after this crisis ends. We have opened new doors to one another. These are the makings of our Pandemic Panacea. Here are a few that are active now.

Be sure to tell me of your own. The first is a spontaneous poetic collaboration of mine with Zee.

~ Kath Abela

Collage of a pineapple, a turtle and a flower

Collage Postcard by Zee Zahava

Zee Zahava


I don’t want to write or talk about what I’m doing, I just want to do it. Making daily collages, sometimes 5 before it’s noon, is my way of staying focused, balanced, sane. But I prefer not to analyze or interpret or explain anything, I just want to keep going with scissors and glue, and no thoughts.

sickle day moon
a turtle peeks out
and goes back in

Zee & Kath Abela

Zee’s daily posts on Facebook–her newly created postcard collages. When they are ready, she posts the image and they are quickly claimed by someone and mailed by her wherever that someone lives. A beautiful example of how to improvise and connect with others from isolation, in a creative, unusual, and meaningful way.


A painting next to a vase full of flowers

The kids and Frida (Photo – Jean Stewart)

Jean Stewart

I wander in our garden till a spectacular flower or a color combo catches my eye. On the picnic table I trim and arrange the flowers and greens in my hand. Then I select a vase which will compliment them. I’ve been collecting vases from Flea Markets and Antique shops for many years. The natural light shows me where to photograph. In our house there are windows with drapery and old furniture. Around the patio there are little paths, pots and greenery where I photograph the bouquet.

Jean presents a different bouquet by email each day to her friends during these difficult times. Her intricate placement and choices from her garden and collections inspire all of us. She and her husband Charles have a wonderful garden in Marin County, California. She often invites their family friend Tim Callahan, In Altadena , to pair a poem with her work:


large sunflower

Pandemic painting by Carriec Thakery Van Horn

Tim Callahan

A solo garden now I tend alone
and pull up weeds all lush and green and toss
them in the compost heap that gains with loss
of weedy verdure, reaching heights unknown
before, where heat and dark and what I’ve sown
and bugs and fungus make fine soil of dross
the summer through,. It is an earthy sauce
to accent well the garden’s fragrant tone.

This year blue mist and passion vines will lure
great butterflies of orange wing, while blooms
of sage both red and blue the hummingbirds
will draw, and dance of bees will outshine words.
The garden’s full of life despite what looms
for us and says, “This crisis we’ll endure.”

When Tim married his wife, Bon, 40 years ago, she introduced him to the trails of the San Gabriel Mountains. He became interested in California’s native wildflowers and plants in general. He has spent much of his time sheltering at home clearing areas of weeds, which go into his composter, and planting both native plants and exotics.


Oainting of tree growing on a cliff with moon behind

Painting by Carrie Thackeray Van Horn

Carrie Thackeray Van Horn

Since I was a child, I had always wanted to paint pictures, but like so many things in life, I just never followed it through. When the pandemic first hit hard, and we were all staying home, I decided it was time to finally get started. I have found it to be relaxing and cathartic. So these are what I like to call my “Pandemic Paintings.”

“The greatest tragedy in life is not death, but a life without purpose.”
~ Myles Munroe

I could not have known
there was a certain mercy in empty hands
Like a vase ready for meadow flowers
Hollowed like a silver maple
Awaiting something more
All the wreckage
That stole so much from my heart
After the winter’s freeze
Gave way to new growth
Flowers that now sit upon my dinner table.


An old photograph and writings: I just think possibly my brain is wearing out

Collage Postcard by Zee Zahava

Pandemic Panaceas: Quotes and Credits

Zee Zahava lives in Ithaca, New York. On her Facebook page each day you can read:
Here is another collage GIVE-AWAY. Would you like to have it? (It’s okay if you already have received one or more; I’m not limiting things!)
Very soon after it is titled: CLAIMED! Someone has chosen it and she is busy addressing it to the new owner.

Jean Stewart lives in Fairfax with her husband Charles, their wonderful garden and collections. She says: “Most of these sheltering days, I photograph in the late afternoon, since I love the light then.”

Tim Callahan is an artist and worked for many years in the animation industry. He’s also a published author and regularly contributes articles to Skeptic Magazine. His published books include Bible Prophecy: Failure or Fulfillment? and Secret Origins of the Bible, both by Millennium Press, and co-authored with Donald Prothero of UFOs, Chemtrails and Aliens: What Science Says, published by the Indiana University Press. His poetry has appeared in a number of editions of the Altadena Poetry Review (2014 through 2020), as well as in Bright Stars 2 (2014) The Poetry Writer’s Guide to the Galaxy (Journal of Modern Poetry 20, 2017), Dear Mr. President (Journal of Modern Poetry 21, 2018), Highland Park Poetry Challenge 2018, Spectrum 16 (2018) and Stone Lantern (2019) and the cherita journal, UK and Singapore.

Carrie Thackeray Van Horn is a writer/blogger from Humble, Texas. She says: “I am blessed to work at a local library by beautiful botanical gardens. I have been blogging for over 10 years at ‘A Net full of Butterflies’ on blogger where I have met a wonderful community of writers. About 3 years ago, I published my first book of poetry, Butterflies and Land Mines, on Amazon. My mother was an artist, and it had always been a dream of mine to paint pictures. I have found that it has been quite cathartic and been a wonderful creative outlet.”


Tell us your story of the unusual interesting positive gifts and realizations that you have come upon by surprise, during these challenging times. Tell us about the new paths you have taken, those that might endure in your life, that may not have happened had we not been in this situation. We all know good things can come from difficulty. Unexpected doors open and we sometimes find treasure. What are your Silver Linings?

Send short poems, haiku, senryu, tanka, cherita haibun, tanka prose, short prose poems, etc., or your own unique approach, to Kath Abela by Facebook message or click here to email her directly. We can feature your work again after five months. Multiple Submissions can be saved to appear later:

  1. Send a short bio, comments on the theme.
  2. Send photos or artwork by you, if possible.
  3. No attachments except photos.
End of article
Kath Abela Wilson
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6 comments to “Poets Salon: Pandemic Panaceas”
  1. beautiful Siggi –please do send to me–and I will remind you. You are so sincere and your support for all is a panacea in itself. Love you –Kathabela

  2. Carrie Thackeray Van Horn,,, thank you for sharing about your adventure into pandemic painting after many years.
    Your night sky with the moon is particularly exciting to me.
    Your poem speaks eloquently about :…
    “….a certain mercy in empty hands….” and how you are inspired by possibilities in this time of darkness .. growth from a winter’s freeze.

  3. Tim Callahan .. thank you for your word painting of your garden. It seems as if your words created a mental image for me to view. I especially enjoyed your capture of weeding and your compost pile which seems to me is seldom described in such a positive way:
    “It is an earthy sauce
    to accent well the garden’s fragrant tone”
    Your garden as you describe it a place of hard work that reaps a bountiful harvest of bees and blooms.

  4. Jean Stewart … I would love to see more of your flowers in unique light and settings. I am not an early in the day person and the late day sun creates lovely lights and shadows. Thank you for sharing your creative energy here. Appreciate knowing how you have taken what you have at hand… a wonderful flower garden, a collection of vases and places to create a special memory of each day.

  5. Zee Zahava .. amazing collages posted on your facebook page. I can see where one can lead to another and another. Each collage is exciting and speaks to the viewer in so many different ways. Over the years, I’ve done one collage at a time .. on postcards, a lobster buoy or two, … the thought of continuing on for several at a time is appealing to me. Thank you for the inspiration.

  6. t was obviously not ready to absorb and accept in my own way what is written and revealed here until tonight.
    Such clear insights and movement that I can clearly see now. When the topic was offered by Kathabela, I drew a blank.. unlike those who shared here.
    The title, “Pandemic Panacea” threw me for a loop
    “panacea: a solution or remedy for all difficulties” .. I don’t believe I have ever incorporated “panacea” into a sentence before.
    Now, I can see panacea as it applies to me .. it will mull and wander thru my sub-conscious til I have a enlightening discovery of what it means for me.
    Thank you Kathbela for the wonderful phrase that aptly describes our growth in this difficult time. <3 <3

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