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Pandemic Poetry & Art Healing Project

Balcony Eden

The little succulent

in its aubergine dish.

           The nurses.

The children at home.


How obvious

now, the serene

courage it takes

to be good. 


Malady or remittance—

we choose.

Remember the angel 

with the fiery sword?


She’s down there too,


in a machine.

Shirley Tipton

Balcony Eden Painting Pandemic project.j

Lisa Ortiz


About This Poem:

How disorienting this has been— and then how reorienting. People are growing sick, dying, and and also people are working heroically save the sick and protect the vulnerable. Everything we thought was impassible, crumbled, and everything we thought was insignificant became central to our lives. Even that angel with the fiery sword protecting everything we loved, even she was knocked to her feet. And even she is being saved by what we build.


Lisa Allen Ortiz is the author of Guide to the Exhibit, winner of the 2016 Perugia Press Prize and co-author of The Blinding Star, translations of Blanca Varela forthcoming in 2021. You can find out more at

Shirley Tipton


About This Painting:

In my painting, I developed a very dream like glimpse of the Garden of Eden. From the edge of Eden another reality exists. That reality is that an illness, unseen, moves among All of Us to collect our very souls. In my work, the world continues to live and remain so beautiful in the glory of God, while all kinds of darkness mixes with the toxic vapors coming from the ill breath of the next dying victim. Even the fiery sword of this angel could not stop what Covid-19 brought to humanity. The image of an ethereal figures, unconscious and wearing a mask, is stained with the kiss of death. These clues all represent the characteristics of the disease. The feather lost but connected to our angel represents the lost battles we are fighting. The drips, the contrasting colors, the harshness of brush strokes, all work together to represent the tears of those that have lost loved one, experienced hard times due to the economy, and the general confusion about when this all will pass.

I did have grandchildren help me with this project.  It was a highly creative project because I only had a rough idea of what I wanted to present visually.  I completed this entire painting in just under 3 hours. 


I am a very blessed woman to live and work as an artist in the great state of Arkansas. Life is rural, free and interdependent on artisans and artist alike. I get to teach the arts to our youth in the hopes they will be tomorrow's designers in our nation. The onset of Covid-19 brought fear, uncertainty, and a sudden realization that life as we know it is on pause. For me, the pandemic has not been one of tribulation or loss. Rather, I found myself having the time to reflect, love, help others, and think.

For me, it is a historic time both personally and socially. Family has never meant more, my peace is found in my own garden of Eden, and staying home has provided a sense of safety I don’t feel when we leave the house.  

Balcony Eden Painting Pandemic project.j
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