Poem with an explanation: on the island

Twenty days
on the island
since the boat
ran aground.


in puddles
carried around
by buckets.

On a stone
the days are marked
and some semblance of time
is kept.

No boats.
No planes.
A message in the sand.

A routine.
The little things.

Running on the beach.
Swimming in the cove.
Never too far,
from hut or shore.

Evenings seem long.
What time to wake up?
Days blend.
Marking the stone.

One day
a boat will come by.


This poem is about a person staying home during the coronavirus situation.  The person isn’t ill, but is staying home so they won’t get ill nor infect others.  The idea is expressed by describing a person’s situation on a deserted island.

In the first stanza, it is noted that the person has been at home for twenty days.  They started staying home before they were officially told to and have continued to stay home.  They haven’t gone to the store or anywhere since before the first day.

In the second stanza, the person’s food is noted.  It is limited to what they have on the island, which is symbolic of the limitation of what they have in the house.

In the third stanza, the difficulty of basic necessities is noted.  In the poem, the person struggles to find and use water.  In the person’s house they struggle to find and use supplies as they don’t leave.

In the fourth stanza, the person records the days they have been in isolation.  Although there isn’t a real point to noting the number, the person wants to keep a sense of time.

In the fifth stanza, the person is waiting for the situation to end.  In the poem they want to be rescued.  In the reality of the poem, the person wants the virus to end.

In the sixth stanza, the person tries to form a routine.  They note the little things they do.  They count things they have and they plan for how they will use things.

In the seventh stanza, the person tries to get exercise.  They do this though without leaving their area.  In the reality of the poem, the person does not leave their property.

In the eighth stanza, the person notes that evenings are long.  This is because they are alone and can’t go anywhere.  They also note a sense that time has lost some value as they are home all the time.  They question what time they should wake up.  They note the days are blending, but they still mark them to keep track.

In the ninth stanza, hope is expressed that the situation will end.  In the poem, a boat will come by.  In the reality of the poem, the virus will end.

Poetry essay: writing poetry in isolation

Today’s poetry essay is about writing poetry in isolation.  This differs from writing poetry about isolation, which was the poetry topic idea from March 27.

Writing poetry in isolation can be difficult.  Things that would have inspired poetry ideas like going out, meeting people, dating, traveling, working, talking, and so forth aren’t there.  It can be difficult to write about what is happening when little is happening in a personal sense.

Despite this though, writing poetry in isolation can be helpful.  It can help a poet express what they are feeling and what they are going through.  It can help people who read a poet’s words by giving them something that expresses how they feel.  It can give the poet something to look back on when things get better.

When writing poetry in isolation, it can be difficult to find ideas.  Although a poet might want to write about their situation, they might not want all of their poetry to focus on it.  Even in situations where they wanted their poetry to focus on their isolation, they might want to express different views and ideas about it.

Writing poetry in isolation might be a bit like trying to explain something without speaking.  How do you get across what something feels like when the experience is drawn out and there isn’t interaction?  How does one day differ from another?  How do you express things like worrying about food or being afraid when you get the mail in a way that gets the idea across without saying too much or sounding as if you were trying to be dramatic?

One helpful thing might be for a poet to read what others write about periods of isolation.  There are many examples of isolation a person might experience.  These could include prison, being lost, being shipped wrecked, being unable to leave a home because of something such as a physical handicap, and being ill and not being able to leave a hospital.  A poet could seek out work on things like this and see how the isolation was related and see how they could relate their own isolation.

Writing poetry in isolation isn’t easy.  The days can blend and there aren’t the normal inspirations a poet might have.  Still, writing poetry in isolation is important.  Somehow, expressing isolation, can make it feel less so.

If you write poetry and you are having a difficult time writing poetry during this time, there are some resources on this blog you can use.  There are the poetry topic ideas, artwork to inspire poetry, photography to inspire poetry, and experimental poetry forms.  These things can give you ideas and ways to express them.  You can use them to relate what you feel about isolation or to take your mind off it.

Poem: in a lifeboat

It’s strange.

It’s a bit like being
in a lifeboat.

There you are.

You are with,
who are with.

What you have,
you have.

You wish
you had packed more.

All of a sudden,
things become important.

How many of these are there?
How many of those?

All of sudden
you ration.

All of sudden
you adapt.

All of sudden
things that wouldn’t make you excited

A crate a food floats by.
You cheer.

A box of toilet paper,
and there are tears of joy.

It’s strange,
being in a lifeboat,
waiting for rescue.

But in a way,
that’s sort of what it’s like.

Your house,
floating in the sea of the world,
feels so contained,
so isolated.

you have a radio
and you hear of storms.

It’s a connection,
but not really.

There you are,
kind of alone,
waiting for rescue,
for the megaphone,
from the ship,
saying everything,
is now okay.

It’s strange,
in the lifeboat,
for the feeling,
of solid ground.

Poetry topic idea: isolation

Today’s poetry topic idea is isolation.  In the current situation, isolation is something many people are experiencing.  Because of this, it might be helpful to write poetry about it.  A poet could write about:

  • What it’s like to be isolated. What it’s like not to see other people.

  • Not being able to go out. This could be related to human interactions or not being able to go places or get things.

  • Boredom.

  • What it like to avoid people, for example when someone delivers something.

  • Worrying about running out of things because they can’t be purchased or ordered.

  • What will happen when isolation is over. A poet could write about the first things they want to do.

  • The purpose of isolation.


Here is an example poem using the idea of isolation:

it’s almost like
a movie with magic
where the heroes find
that they can defeat the monster
only by being apart