Judges Eileen Dolan, Lucy Curci-Gonzalez, Karen Oesterle, and Ellyssa Valenti Kroski were moved by poems that honored doctors, nurses, the unemployed and essential workers who bravely soldier on during the Coronavirus. All the poems touched their hearts, and proved a moving way for The New York Law Institute to acknowledge both National Poetry month and National Library week.

We hope blog readers find comfort in the entrants’ creativity, as these poems voice our own appreciation and concerns…..

Strength, Valor, Victory & Faith;

Heroes Honored who keep us safe.

—- Barbara Bollettieri

So many lives have been destroyed,
The heroes are the unemployed.

——Joe Tessitore

Doctors, nurses, hospital staff
All united against a common wrath

----Carol Moog

Kudos to Doctors, Nurses, Orderlies and Our Hospital Technicians;

Who Fight Every Day on the Front Lines to Better Our Medical Conditions!

—Shawn Watts-Bey

Sad Eyes Above the Mask,
Brave Actions and Ready to the Task!
---Emily Moog

I’ll fight to keep you alive, fight, don’t go into the light.

Breathe, BREATHE, fight, don’t turn toward the light!

—-Gertie Reigondeaux

Participants also included longer verse that we feel honored to include:

On April 6th she enjoyed her last home cooked meal,
When that call came she knew in her heart how to feel.
She had special training for over 10 years,
And although she would leave family and friends behind she smiled through those tears.
She is always prepared to battle,
My warrior my cousin from Seattle.
Although this fight is different from all others,
She will miss her mother, father, sister and brothers.
Her assignment is to lead a team of soldiers
To feed the many civilians that are younger and older.
This fight is invisible and it’s killing so many people,
We pray to God everyday as we look at the top of the church’s steeple.
I know in my heart things will get better,
I just hope it’s more sooner, than now or later.

-----Shawn Watts-Bey


The alarm coughs at eleven fifteen
New night is flush with histamine

A siren flares and a neighbor weeps
Amongst barren streets in gravid sleep

I march beneath a mourning moon
And pray– that I will be immune

——-Ansel Oommen

For the Essential
The year was 2020, and Spring had come to town,
but no one could enjoy it as the city was shut down.
The virus had descended, upending all we knew.
We looked around and realized just what we had to do.
Impossible to comprehend, but with no choice to choose,
the never-sleeping-city agreed to hit the snooze.
Restaurants closed doors; Broadway cleared its stages;
everyone agreed to stay inside their furnished cages.
The Yankees bats were silent; the Mets weren’t far behind;
(the Knicks stopped playing basketball, but no one seemed to mind).
And once the roaring city had grown quiet as a purr,
we started to appreciate just who the heroes were:

The grocery clerks kept clocking in, so we could buy our food;
the shelves were stocked despite our panicked fears and attitudes.
While we were disappointed about postponed vacations,
the pharmacists ensured that we still had our medications.
The sanitation workers still collected our debris,
as vital a job as any – on this, none would disagree.
The subway trains kept running, with only slight delays,
so those who were essential could continue on their ways.
The EMS worked ‘round the clock – their sirens did attest,
attending to the sick and needy, handling our distress.
And how could I be leaving out the bravest of us all,
the ones who had agreed to answer society’s highest call,
the doctors and the nurses – our soldiers in this war;
facing impossible dangers, as never faced before,
putting on their PPE, strapping on their masks,
doing everything they could; doing more when asked,
risking their lives in service, enduring daily sorrows,
all so that the collective We could make it to tomorrow.

Decades from now, these noble workers, rocking in their chairs,
may be asked by grandchildren with wide-eyed wondrous stares,
“What was it like in 2020? What do you recall?”
Here, a silence may descend and creep along the hall –
Remembering those fear-filled days, when everything was fraught –
Remembering those who made it out; and also, who did not –
They may be inclined to say, with a pride that’s most deserved,
“What did I do during Covid-19? Well, I’ll tell you: I served.”

------- Josh Lefkowitz

A shout out to contest creator Eileen Dolan who recognized that creativity is one way to cope during difficult times….

& sincere thanks to ALL who shared their talents; your poetry voiced both our gratitude and sorrow during this crisis !