It is often said that great art is created during troubled times, so it should come as no surprise that Barnard — well-known for its alumnae writers — has seen this trend continue as the “twin pandemics” of COVID-19 and a renewed focus on racial injustice and violence sweep the world. In this new limited series, Barnard community members share poems and songs that speak to this unique moment in time. (If you would like to contribute, please email

Today, we feature Arlene Weitz Weiner ’61’s poem “These Days.”

These Days

As girls we trained for these days: 
keeping our distance, indoor languor,
waiting in patience—
bespoke garments on a hanger
waiting to be worn. Thorns vined 
around our cool limbs.

Alone before bed 
we brushed our hair
one hundred times. We shone 
through windows, behind 
veils. Skirts trammeled us, corsets 
constrained our breath.

The castle sleeps. Now
granddaughters and grandsons
await the kiss of a vaccine
to wake them to life, 
to busyness, release them 
from these days.