Beto asked me for a recommendation. A poem didn't readily come to mind, so one morning I woke before dawn and choose a stack of books from my poetry shelves. One was Cathy Smith Bowers's A Book of Minutes. The poems contained in it were written following the death of her younger brother Paul after his long companionship with AIDS, that other terrible epidemic I lived through. (I say "companionship" because I am trying not to use the war metaphor of "battle" here.)
These poems were written in a form called the "minute." A minute has 60 syllables written in rhyming couplets with a syllabic line count of 8,4,4,4; 8,4,4,4; and 8,4,4,4. This means the first line is the longest in each verse.
One section of Bowers's book contains minutes written to saints. I chose one of these, "To St. Brendan the Navigator, Protector of Sailors."
Other poets who have been contributed to the anthology include Pablo Neruda, Wendell Berry, Mary Oliver, James Wright, Galway Kinnell, Rita Dove, Jane Kenyon, and Stanley Kunitz. To determine which writer recommended a poem, you have to count -- the list of 27 contributors in the Introduction is in the same (alphabetical) order as the 27 poems they suggested. This means that Lana K.W. Austin suggested Wendell Berry's, "The Peace of Wild Things," which most definitely has been a long-time source of comfort for me.
My favorite in this little collection, and not to miss, is Daniel Corrie's recommendation, one of the most beautiful poems ever written: "Rain Light," by W.S. Merwin. The poem read in light of the current crises in our world will bring you to tears. I also put before you "A Fading of the Sun" by Wallace Stevens, suggested by Sue Weaver Dunlap.
Poems During the Pandemic, edited by Beto Cumming, is attached. Peace and love to all.