Daily Pause

Hummingbird Feeder: Poem by Grant Simonson

We loved the reactions to last weeks’ “Pet” themed content, so in light of this vibrant and breathtaking time in Minnesota, we are going to focus on nature for the week. We are in the metaphorical sweet spot of Minnesota Fall- leaves are changing and falling, the sun is shining, and temperatures are cool but manageable. We hope our sharings inspire you to perhaps compose your own poem, as second year medical student Grant Simonson has done with today’s offering, “Hummingbird Feeder.” It is something he has been tinkering with for a few weeks now, and we thought it would be the perfect introduction to the week. Paired with a photograph from the PBS series, “Hummingbirds: Magic in the Air” taken by Matthew Bradbury.

Still I Rise: Poem by Maya Angelou

Today we reflect on one of the most important poems in American history, “Still I Rise” by Maya Angelou. As Maya Angelou shares below in this powerful video of her reciting the poem, “each of us in the world has gone to bed one night or another with fear or pain or loss or disappointment, and yet each of us has awakened and arisen, seen other human beings and said ‘Good Morning! I’m fine thanks, how are you?’ That’s the nobleness of the human spirit, despite it all.”

The Room of Ancient Keys: Poem by Elena Mikhalkova

Today we pause with a poem spotted on Facebook by Elena Mikhalkova titled “The Room of Ancient Keys.” You might feel like it was written for you these days, and if so, take a pause to reflect on the power of its words. Paired with a photo of chowder from the Angry Trout restaurant in Grand Marais, both intended to bring you some comfort in case you are feeling overwhelmed. You’ll get through it.

Weather: Poem by Claudia Rankine

Today’s Daily Pause comes from The New York Times’ Book Review, where two prominent American poets were asked to write original poems responding to the historic moment in our country. Weather, by Claudia Rankine, lifts up the uncertainty and the chaos of COVID-19 that provided the backdrop for the murder of George Floyd and the ensuing protests. Paired with a photograph of stormy skies taken over Memorial Day weekend. “We are here for the storm that’s storming because what’s taken matters.”


Our offering today comes from Maya Angelou, beloved African American poet and author. This poem will be familiar to many, but might take on new meaning for some in light of recent events. She uses the metaphor of two birds, one who is free to live as a bird should live in the wild, and the other who is caged. This caged bird uses song to cope with its confinement and to express longing for the day it will be free. This is paired with the first of many photographs of street art that has popped up around the Twin Cities, an outlet for many to cope with the loss and tragedies we have seen as well as a reminder of the work we have ahead.