Poem in the San Francisco Chronicle!

Dear Friends,

I want to share that one of my poems, The Virus, was published in the SF Chronicle yesterday! A writing friend read it and she suggested I send it in to the paper. To my surprise, it was published! So, this news from yesterday was a great start to my Friday and also a positive kick-off to the new month of May.

During the health crisis, I have often written in my journal, expressing how my family is affected and how we are faring in these uncertain times. Then some of those thoughts turned into poetry and the Palindrome form evolved.Β 

If you are interested in checking out the poem in the SF Chronicle, the links are below:



Otherwise, here is the poem:

The Virus

Its effect appears as shattering
As it slips unnoticed into homes,
When death numbers continue to rise
Like the Spanish flu filling tombs.
But each night there is howling
And each night there is singing,
So even under gray clouds hanging,
The music becomes encouraging
As we crawl through this haze.

Our spirits lift, feeling optimistic
When the darkness plays that song.
As voices make a touching statement
Needless boundaries are withdrawn.

Needless boundaries are withdrawn
As voices make a touching statement.
When darkness plays that song
Our spirits lift, feeling optimistic.
As we crawl through this haze
The music becomes encouraging,
So even under gray clouds hanging,
Each night there is singing
And each night there is howling.
Like the Spanish flu filling tombs
When death numbers continue to rise,
It slips unnoticed into homes,
The virus appears as shattering.

Lauren Scott Swalberg (c) 2020

I hope you enjoyed my poem and may you find a sense of calm and a glimmer of joy in your weekend as we continue on this unprecedented journey.Β 

~Lauren πŸ’—

65 thoughts on “Poem in the San Francisco Chronicle!

  1. Wow, Lauren, Congratulations! β€˜Slips unnoticed’ immediate goosebumps. β€˜Crawl through this haze’ resonates. And then when I continued reading, I am transported into a world of hope and a world still preparing for the uncertainty as it continues to slip β€˜unnoticed into homes.’ I am brimming with tears. Exceptionally creative and powerful!❀️

    1. Wow, Erica, what a touching summary of my poem. Goosebumps are good and I’m grateful some lines resonated. These are wishes for any writer, so thank you for your wonderful comment and compliment! πŸ’•

  2. Congratulations Lauren, your poem deserves to be read. Yes, creativity keeps kicking even when we are hurting. I like how you have blended the anguish and optimism in your words. There is no doubt that we would wriggle out of this crisis. Patience and hope steers us through the dark times.

    1. Thanks so much, Balroop, for your lovely words. I had to insert the optimism that we hear each night. Where darkness lives, there is always a gap that allows light to peek through. Loved your last line too. πŸ’—

    1. Thanks, Diana. This was my first attempt at a palindrome, so I got lucky. I wanted to include Hope because without it, we’re doomed. πŸ™‚ I appreciate your kind words. Stay safe too!

      1. I’ve been trying to write a pantoum for a year. And I’m finding it difficult. You inspired me to pull it out last night and do a little more groaning. Lol

      2. I’ll have to look that form up because I’m not familiar with it. But I’m glad I inspired you and can’t wait to read your masterpiece. Believe me, I do more groaning than I care to admit. πŸ™‚

  3. Congrats, Lauren!

    Creativity is healing. Many will benefit from reading your words. It captures the mood and sentiment of these times. It is a good feeling to see your words in print, no matter how many times it happens.

    Many Blessings to you and your family, Lisa

    1. Thanks, Lisa, for your most thoughtful words. And to see our words in print is not an effortless feat, so it’s very nice. πŸ™‚ Blessings and love to you and yours, too, and have a wonderful week.

  4. Jane Sturgeon

    Beautiful, Lauren and I am so glad they published it. ‘Needless boundaries are withdrawn…’ Much ❀ flowing to you… ❀

    1. Thanks so much, Jane, for your lovely comment and the line you pointed out resonates, doesn’t it? If
      only…Sending you much love and many hugs…πŸ’•

  5. Lauren, congratulations!! This is so exciting to be published in your local newspaper. And the poem is excellent. The “mirror” form is very effective for the subject matter.
    So glad you emailed to let me know, as I’m always behind reading blogs. Will write you soon.
    Again, my congratulations to you. Keep submitting your poems to publishers.
    Hugs β€οΈπŸ€—

    1. Thanks, Betty! It’s a feeling I’m savoring because who knows if it’ll happen again. πŸ™‚ I’d like to try this format again, too, but it would have to develop organically. Just write when you can. I’ll look forward to hearing from you. And this “win” definitely motivates to keep submitting. Thanks again and hugs to you! πŸ’•πŸŒ»πŸŒ·

    1. Thanks so much, Lance! I truly appreciate your applause and good wishes. I’m hoping to experience another moment as this one in the future. It was just so much fun and all we can do is try. πŸ™‚ Take care and stay safe! Lauren

    1. Thanks, Francina! It was a fun moment that I’m trying to not let go of. πŸ™‚ Have a good day and love and hugs to you from across the blue. πŸŒΌπŸ’—

  6. I’m howling in happiness that you wrote this poem and it got published in the SF Chronicle for many to read and sink into. We may be “crawling through the haze,” but we are still singing…and WRITING. xo

    1. Aww, thanks for howling and dancing, Pam. I think I’ve come down from Cloud 9, but still feeling pretty good. By the way, in my email I forgot to thank you in advance for sharing my poem with your CA friends. I’m flattered. Yes, even through the haze, we sing and we howl and we dance and we write! πŸ™‚ 😍

  7. Congratulations, Lauren! A poem perfect for these uncharted times. It feels like I’ve been ‘crawling through the haze.’ Take care. ❀️❀️

    1. Thanks so much, Michelle! All we can do is keep crawling through the haze until things calm down. My heart aches for those who have lost loved ones and income, but I’m grateful we have our jobs and health. And seeing my poem in the paper was the icing on the cake. Sending lots of love your way and Happy Mother’s Day! πŸ’—πŸ’—πŸ’—

      1. It was a beautiful, quiet day and our son lives at home so that’s nice. He plans to move out later this year, depending on the virus situation. And we can’t see our daughter yet which hurts but we Zoomed with her and she and I talk all the time. I hope yours was beautiful too, Michelle. Hugs πŸ€— πŸ’•

  8. Pingback: I Give Credit to the Tulips, the Woods, the Words – Behind the Scenery

    1. Hi Erica, I’m sounding like a broken record, but thank you, thank you, for including me in your gorgeous inspiring post. I absolutely loved it and your narrative on flowers, words, and woods. And again, I’m flattered that you thought of my poem and how it touched you during these crazy times. Take care. πŸ’•πŸŒ»

  9. Hi Lauren. I popped over here from Erica’s blog. I see several of my blogging friends in your comment section, so I’ve followed also. I look forward to reading your posts. Your poem is so beautiful! Congratulations on having it published. My brother also had his poem published in the SF Chronicle. I love how they reached out, inspired, and gathered in these outpouring of people’s hearts. I wonder if they’ve thought of making a compilation of all the published submissions?

    1. Hi Janis, Thanks for popping over and for following. I appreciate your kind comment about my poem and your good wishes. It was definitely exciting. And Congrats to your brother, as well. Your idea of compiling all the submissions is great, especially because these times are so unprecedented. Who knows? Is it something that you would want to propose to the paper? I also wonder how often we can submit because I just finished another poem. πŸ™‚ Anyway, thanks again, and I’ll be over your way soon. I hope you continue to enjoy when you do visit and that there is something profound for you to take away when you leave.
      Stay safe, Lauren πŸ’•

  10. Lauren, I am really so pleased for you that your poem was chosen. You deserve it!
    You have us look at the grim facts and yet there is this singing. A swing between light and dark. And so it is unless your own home gets a visit
    as you so beautifully express in the end.
    ‘ When death numbers continue to rise,
    It slips unnoticed into homes,
    The virus appears as shattering.’

    Poignant Poem Lauren.


    1. Thanks for your lovely comment, Miriam. It was an exciting moment that I savored for as long as I could. And I hope to experience again, but I won’t hold my breath. Times like these with so much uncertainty and as unprecedented as this situation is stir up the creativity in many of us. Grabbing onto the reins of any art form is cathartic and calming when nerves are a bit jumpy. One day at a time and more creating for all of us. Thanks again and wishing you a wonderful weekend..❀

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