Unschooled: Guelph, Ontario, March 23 2020

By .

The school, emptied
goes silently blind, each window dark
under clouds, an unseeing eye
chilled grey

in the yard, hard brown bricks
hold fast
to the bolts
of a basketball hoop

no bells ring, no children cascade
out the doors, noisy, half-fledged
running to fly, flapping
boots coats hats mitts

one boy, unschooled, his basketball’s
tenor bounce sings hollow
echoes off tarmac, rim,
silent brick wall

Venice, Piazzale Roma: no tourists, no boats
By the unshadowed waters of a pandemic canal
one duck builds her nest, warms her clutch
awaits undisturbed

Spring’s quiet return.


1. As of March 23, 2020, although school playgrounds in Guelph Ontario were not yet officially closed, very few children were leaving their homes.
2. `Nature is taking back Venice’: wildlife returns to tourist-free city’, The Guardian, International Edition, March 20, 2020

About Susan Wismer

Susan Wismer (she/her) is grateful to live on Treaty 18 territory at the southern shore of Georgian Bay in Ontario with two human partners and one very large dog. Recent work has been published in Orbis International Literary Journal, Juniper Poetry, the Syracuse Cultural Worker’s Women Artists Agenda 2021, Understorey Magazine and Room Magazine. www.susanwismer.com

4 thoughts on “Unschooled: Guelph, Ontario, March 23 2020

  1. Susan

    Wonderful, Susan, thanks.

  2. Mary Corkery

    Dear Susan, I love this gentle haunting poem.
    Mary Corkery

  3. Suzanne Doerge

    i love the title – Unschooled – its double meaning, and the stark sounds:
    silently blind, basketball tenor bounce echoes off tarmac, silent brick wall.
    Susan, thanks for this gift to my ears.


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