"More than machinery, we need humanity."

Plague Poems – The Third Week

It is not that
the days
of the week
have (truly) lost
all sense of

But that the
anxiety and
we once felt
regarding Monday
is now applicable
every day
to the week.


In the classrooms
where once
I taught
every seat
is now empty

In the office
where once
I worked
abandoned books
gather dust

In the libraries
where once
I studied
the quiet
is now complete

In the park
where once
I wandered
there is now
a field hospital


If only one hundred
thousand die
this calamity will be
counted as a great

Claim those who
(only last week)
were certain that
no more than a few
thousand would die.

Rest assured that
in the coming weeks
they will continue
to revise their


When the hospital ship
it was greeted by
eager onlookers
whose coughs
went unheard
amidst the cheers.

And as the crowd
stood marveling
at the sight of
they remembered
(too late)
that they were supposed
to have stayed


Editorial Note: This is a collection of Plague Poems written between March 29, 2020 and April 4, 2020.

They were initially posted online on Twitter at @plaguepoems

Throughout the duration of this crisis new poems will be posted regularly at that Twitter account, they will then be collected and reposted here in weekly increments.


Soon the
longest month
will end.

And then a
longer month
will begin.


In a room
down the hall from
my apartment
lives an elderly man.

White beard,
stooped shoulders, a
yarmulke on

When we pass
by the mailboxes
or in the hall
we exchange

Our shared hallway
now echoes
his dry coughs.

I do not
his name.


Only a great fool
would have
that the promised
would (one day)
come to those
who held up
their side of
the bargain

And yet even those
who always
that the promised
would (one day)
come, lived
their lives
as if they too
believed it


There are some days
when I think that
it would be nice
to live
in less interesting times.

And yet I know
(of course)
that if I lived in
such a halcyon age
I would still wish
to be living
in less interesting times.


On this day of pranks
from your usual
merry making
and tomfoolery

For you cannot outdo
the masterful hoax
our leaders have played
upon us

Falling for their
sincerity we believed they
cared for our lives

Now there will be
of thousands
of punchlines


It is said that a town
in Wales
is now ruled by
wild goats.

How idyllic that seems
to we
who are ruled by
venal asses.


As the month begins
I don gloves and a
makeshift mask.

And head out of doors
but not in the sun
to bask.

To drop off my rent
check is my simple

But how I’ll afford
next month? Please
don’t ask.


If only they could eat
or use them to pay
than perhaps
the unemployed
would not need
to worry so.

If only those making
these promises
knew what it is
to be
than they
do more than just
make promises.


You may have lost
your job
but at least you
still have

You may have lost
your health
but at least you
still have

You may have lost
your hope
but at least you
still have

You will not lose
your anger
until you have
you have lost


It has been said that
provides time with
which to
your skills.

Yes, perhaps, but better
to use the time to
the points of
your pitchfork.


How comforting it is to be told
that we
are all in this together.

But I have searched every
room, every corner, every
closet of my small hovel
and despite those kind
I know that I
am here


Out in the streets
many of
the people
taking the air
wear masks.

Some of these are
colorful, cheerful,
bright, and hopeful.

And some of them
even wear
that cover
their faces.


If I could escape the plague
by fleeing to some
secluded cabin
or by moving in with
family members in
the country
I would.

But it is irresponsible to even
dream of escape
when the virus may already be
inside of you.


That you had
always (secretly)
anticipated that you
would live
the dark times
does not
truly prepare you
for the


It is said that
is more valuable
than gold
and more precious
than diamonds.

that may be
but it is hard
to pay your
with hope.


The faint
you perceive
in the distance
is not the fabled light
at the tunnel’s

That shining
you perceive
in the distance
is but the
of the train that is
bearing down
upon us.



Plague Poems…the next week

Plague Poems…the previous week

Plague Poems – The First Week

About Z.M.L

“I do not believe that things will turn out well, but the idea that they might is of decisive importance.” – Max Horkheimer @libshipwreck

14 comments on “Plague Poems – The Third Week

  1. Pingback: Plague Poems – The Second Week | LibrarianShipwreck

  2. Pingback: Plague Poems – The First Week | LibrarianShipwreck

  3. Pingback: Plague Poems – The Fourth Week | LibrarianShipwreck

  4. Pingback: Plague Poems – The Fifth Week | LibrarianShipwreck

  5. Pingback: Plague Poems – The Sixth Week | LibrarianShipwreck

  6. Pingback: Plague Poems – The Seventh Week | LibrarianShipwreck

  7. Pingback: Plague Poems – The Eighth Week | LibrarianShipwreck

  8. Pingback: Plague Poems – The Ninth Week | LibrarianShipwreck

  9. Pingback: Plague Poems – The Tenth Week | LibrarianShipwreck

  10. Pingback: Plague Poems – The Eleventh and Twelfth Weeks | LibrarianShipwreck

  11. Pingback: Plague Poems – The Thirteenth Week | LibrarianShipwreck

  12. Pingback: Plague Poems – The Fourteenth Week | LibrarianShipwreck

  13. Pingback: Plague Poems – The Fifteenth Week | LibrarianShipwreck

  14. Pingback: Plague Poems – The Sixteenth Week | LibrarianShipwreck

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