Marguerite and Covidic Pandemonium

by | Feb 9, 2021 | February 2021 Writing | 10 comments


A child’s first foray

into life’s uncertainties:

aleatory allegory of bliss

or love stripped bare


bloom fades prematurely

at the whim of innocence

that seeks seeds of hope,

finds signs of sorrow in

an irreversible dismantling

of white, buttery beauty


I’m six years old

fingers tearing tender

petals of possibility

I’m sixty years old

six thousand years old

answers fall fickle


if I love me not





Covidic Pandemonium


Let’s Zoom sometime!

You’re muted!

You know I can see you!

Isolate. Intubate. Ventilate. Pronate. Resuscitate.


pandemic words, pandemic hair, pandemic pounds

pandemic dreams, pandemic mourning


I will never lose my fear

of undetected viral terrorists

I mask my feelings

in an attempt to

force a stable certainty


my previous disguise of

make-up and lipstick

dissolves in the plague

you cannot see my words

feel my breath


vaccinate my angst


  1. jennifer vanderheyden

    I decided to post two short poems…the first is titled Marguerite, and the second title shows up in the post. They are meant to be separate poems related to doubt. Thanks!

  2. Constance Malloy


    First, these are absolutely a pleasure to read aloud. Like this in the first poem, “an irreversible dismantling/of white, buttery beauty.” The last stanza and final line are wonderful. The questioning of “if I love me not” resulting from how answers “fall fickle” reads effortlessly and rings so true. I’m always amazed by the way you manipulate words.

    The title of the second poem rocks, and you display that pandemonium well.
    “Isolate. Intubate. Ventilate. Pronate. Resuscitate./Meditate./pandemic words, pandemic hair, pandemic pounds/pandemic dreams, pandemic mourning” I put the rhythm of R.E.M.’s It’s The End of the World As We Know It” into reading this and it was quite fun, and appropriate, because how does all this craziness not feel like the end of the world sometimes. Right? Right. Thanks for sharing these. I hope you submit and they find a home.

    • jennifer vanderheyden

      Thanks so much, Connie! How clever to think of putting the poem to R.E.M’s song. I play around with writing songs and I think it’s coming out more in my writing.

  3. Meg Tuite

    Jennifer! Marguerite: read aloud they are both gorgeous! I love how they both come full circle. The child who first learns that all may not turn out the way they thought. love the words ‘foray’ ‘aleatory allegory’ nice,
    ‘bloom fades’ is somewhat cliche: can you reach for something unique? “finds signs of sorrow in
    an irreversible dismantling
    of white, buttery beauty” gorgeous and treacherous
    LOVE the last stanza. ‘I’m 6, or 60, or 6000.’ Exceptional!

    Covidic Pandemonium: So great to read aloud! And the musicality of each word that registers so well the hell of this pandemic. love that you included meditate after resuscitate. and you cannot vaccinate my angst. I would send this out! LOVE IT! Great work!

  4. David O'Connor

    I love that third stanza of Marguerite. Golden!
    Also, the humor beneath the Covid poem is a much-needed vaccine! Thank you!

  5. John Steines

    Hello Jennnifer – these are both beautiful. Both are exquisite. The firsts sits longer and deeper. The second has hints of humor yet reaches well beyond that. Lovely balance in both. Thank you. john

  6. Martha Jackson Kaplan

    Hi Jennifer,

    Marguerite is perfect–– and that haunting last line “if I love me not” — the test of fine poetry- hair rising on my neck. Thank you.

    And Covid Pandemonium — also near perfect. Says everything I would want to say about this time––one of needs we have for poetry. Love the rhythm of it, and lists of it. And its last line that hits it home. The only suggestion I have is for the third line. ‘You know I can see you” doesn’t sound as true to my experience with Zoom– but “Yes, I can see you” would feel more true. However, even as I write this, I am thinking– well, Martha, you haven’t been teaching over Zoom. Your version does feel more like the classroom– zoom or in person. So, whatever, this is a fine poem. Thank you, Jennifer.

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