the short story project


Fatema Baldiwala

Art of Doing Nothing


The minutes seem painfully long, the days seem endless

Trails are closed, around your block, a long hike in the rain you take

There’s no beach access, the situation is hopeless

You cozy yourself in front of the fire, a 1000-piece puzzle to make

Or maybe watching Netflix reruns, or reading anything you can find

Trying to keep yourself in a balmy frame of mind


You remember John Donne’s words “No man is an island entire of itself;

Every man is a piece of the continent”

But in the meantime, you read all of Shakespeare’s plays on the bookshelf

King Lear, Romeo and Juliet, the sonnets he wrote for entertainment

You think of Newton, who found gravity snoozing under an apple tree

In plague filled England, while being safely isolated in the countryside, carefree


Languishing in misery, the wheels in your brain turn, why not you?

What discovery will you make? What impact will you share with the world?

Will your finding be a new breakthrough?

Will it be internal, or will it be tangible? what will it herald?

As I sit composing poetry, with no real hopes of being published

Even in solitude, playing with words and having fun, I am not yet finished



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