Per Diem: Daily Haiku for August 2021 features Albert Schepers’ collection on the theme of ‘A Year in Lockdown’. This is what Albert has to say by way of an introduction to this theme:
In the year 1595 Shakespeare is purported to have written A Midsummer Night’s Dream, a year following the devastating pestilence that had spread throughout the land, taking the lives of over 11,000 people in London. To limit the spread, authorities took the following steps: banning large public gatherings, blocking the importation of goods, cancelling large civic events, and closing public theaters. During the Great Plague of 1592 to 1594, theaters experienced their longest closures in history and Shakespeare’s play was a joyous celebration of the release from oppression.
February 2020, or sooner if you count the very first cases of Covid 19 in late 2019, marked the beginning of the current turmoil which afflicts all of us in one way or another. Even for those who have not been directly affected, very few of us—whether simply by listening to the news or in our daily relationships with family, friends, and co-workers—have been untouched. As with other global pandemics over the centuries, there have been a range of government interventions and personal responses, ranging from denial to despondency.
Currently in the depths of summer in August 2021, hopefully we can look back on this past year and a half and be glad to be rid of it and look to the future with hope. For the month of August, I have asked poets to provide their haiku, written over this past year during the pandemic, for publication. These thirty-one haiku capture a range of emotions representing this past year, snapshots of a moment, a day, or week in lockdown, in pursuit of something else. Some directly reference Covid, some the effects of the lockdown or social distancing, and some are just an expression of how the writer felt at that moment. In all cases these haiku were influenced directly or indirectly, by the pandemic and related social restrictions.
Some of the poets you may know and others may be new to you. Selections are based on the diversity of ideas and styles. I hope you enjoy these as much as I had in selecting them for you.
– Albert Schepers