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Do You Remember

Thursday, July 2, 2020
neuroscience major Sarah Gorban

Trinity student writes poem to document COVID-19

by Madison Semro '21

How will you remember COVID-19? For Sarah Gorban ’20, the answer to that question lies in poetry. 

Gorban, a neuroscience major from Austin, Texas, wrote her first poem in elementary school, but she recently started composing them more frequently. In December 2019, Gorban challenged herself to write one poem a day for the next 365 days, which she later hopes to self-publish. She says her poems reflect her experiences and thoughts throughout the day. “If you had to look back on a day and someone [would] say, 'What do you want to tell me about your day?' If you had one thing, that's what I write about,” she adds.

Poetry has offered Gorban a way to cope with the many changes brought about by quarantine. “I've written some poems about COVID-19, especially my process of moving out of Trinity and moving in with my parents,” Gorban says. “That's part of my year, and my pace of life has been very different now, but I feel like writing...helps me capture my experiences.”

Gorban shared her poem, “Do you remember: before and during a COVID-19,” at the Center for International Engagement’s storytelling event in May. The event provided Trinity students, faculty, and staff an opportunity to share their personal experiences involving COVID-19. 

“And the reactions were very genuine, I think,” Gorban recalls. 

Gorban believes her poem resonates with so many people because of its conversational nature. “I am asking, 'Do you remember?,' and the 'you' sounds personal,” Gorban explains. “I'm asking, 'Do you remember that moment...before you knew?' And that's the first line of my poem. So it's like I'm talking to you as an individual, and I think that brings a flashback.”

Do you remember: before and during a COVID-19

Written by Sarah Gorban

Do you remember that moment? The moment before you knew 

The moment of the change to come, to a world we once walked through

Do you remember the thoughts that came and swiftly went

And the winded mind with memories not for a penny spent

Do you remember casting shadows over the uncertainty cloak

To open the curtain for rays, a golden bath to soak

Do you remember those sounds of the tape zipped and ripped

Of closing a chapter, a symbol that stripped 

Do you remember the byes and the soft smiles in the halls

Of anxious bodies, a composed self before the fall

Do you remember feeling out of touch of the self and the soul

An itch not scratched, a body slowly taking a toll

Do you remember having closure of a click into place

To satisfy the wants, covered gently in lace 

Do you remember the arrival at a place of impermanent stay

To perhaps a ‘home’ or maybe a mere bed to find a soft lay

Do you remember the greetings, and were there hugs and warm cheers

To wash yourself in gratitude of all that is held so dear

Do you remember this new, a life to become the norm

To repeat a COVID news, a cycle feeling worn

Do you remember a talk not of a virus at bay

Of morphing the body and mind, a pest fighting to stay

Do you remember the night, the night of a dream

To cast a freedom for all, a wonder to iron and steam

Do you remember those friends and peers from the campus ground

To expand the self, with humility to sound

Do you remember Trinity, a campus of red bricks and cats

Of Freshiis, CSI, a 2 am study and taco chats

Do you remember the Tower, to ring and to expand

To expand to the clouds and soil, a one-man type band

Do you remember all that you wished to see and do

Of a dance, a step, to pause and realize the needing to start anew

Do you remember forgiving yourself … and enter in the kind

The kindness to squeeze, a rarity to find

Do you remember the thanks of all those in scrubs and in gloves

To clap and take a bow, a thank you to not just cover and shove 

Do you remember the good, the good that has come

Of the simple, perhaps more knowledge for some

Do you remember Zoomiversity, and the “you’re on mute”

Of internet stalls and private chats to boot

Do you remember inviting some space to breathe and to move

To relax the jaw and to find a softness to soothe

Do you remember the birds and chirps that are feeling clean

A cleanness of the earth, a nature feeling quite green

Do you remember when Monday felt different than noon

To wishy wash the days until the sun becomes the moon

Do you remember the ears to keep open, open to receive

To close an ego and to find a place to believe

Do you remember a world before that COVID-19 found its way here

A forever new new new, with certainty not in the clear

Do you remember you… can’t forget about that part, okay?

For you deserve a peaceful spot along the shore bay

Do you remember warmth and chuckles and camp night sighs

A wanting to capture, before the unwanted slow bye

Now … will you remember that there is together while apart, trust it is there

To gather a bundle of hope, perhaps rainbow kindness to spare

Now, will you remember to learn, to skip, to sidewalk chalk a draw

To do little, and also a lot and allow the feelings that are raw

Now, will you remember these stories, of lessons learned and told

To store and to bottle among a pencil feeling bold

Now will you remember to remind yourself of what was and what has been

To find space to allow a wide ruled genuine grin

Now will you remember anything from this poem, are you waiting for the next, I cannot say

For memory is fickle and presence is an uncommon knowing to stay

Now, I hope you will remember at least one thing

To know all that you are and all you can and will surely bring

Now, I hope you will remember to enjoy the fresh summer days

Of watermelon and books and restful watchful blue jays

Now, I hope you will remember to rest well and awaken with a soft gaze

For we know these days may be felt in a strange hazy daze

For now, I hope you will accept a congrats on a semester completed with pride

To welcome what will be and to let certainty humbly step aside