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Arts & Culture
A new project looks to tap into the hope that comes with finally getting a COVID-19 vaccine through poetry.

The Global Vaccine Poem: Garden of Roses in Frost

Jon Graham and grandson on farm
Jon Graham
Jon Graham and one of his grandsons, who visited his his farm in Tuscarawas County in November 2020, look out upon his wife Martha's roses.

My name is Jon Graham. In November 2020 my daughter brought her three young sons to visit our farm in Tuscarawas County. We sat with our masks on amidst my wife Martha’s roses that had been frosted the night before. This is my poem:

Garden of Roses in Frost

Dear Vaccine, in our rose garden, we prayed your radiance would suffuse the darkness, prayed we might return to the way we were. Days longer, nights shorter. Masks removed, not discarded. In my mind, I took pictures of it all: my two-year-old grandson Joey in his mask, eyes bemused, the way they met mine. Our connecting glances brought him to sit beside me, legs next to each other. When we came close to touching, I could feel him getting larger and me smaller. Coming and going in time as we were, a sadness arose, like a garden of roses in frost that persisted until the space between our bodies pulled us in. As the day lengthened and light slanted, our shadows merged with the shadows of roses, and for an instant we touched – though by now uncertain whose touch was whose, which was which.