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Plague Poems – The Fourth Week

If the experts are to
be believed
than this shall be a
most difficult week.

Was not last week
also a
most difficult week?

Certainly, it was, but
by this week’s end we
shall look back
fondly at that
wretched week.

And next Monday
we shall be back
at this poem’s
first line.

*

As the plague
spread
houses of worship
closed
their doors
to the sickly masses.

There can be little
doubt that faith
will be amongst
the victims
of this virus.

But this loss will
lead not
to empty pews
or quiet
sanctuaries
but to
empty polling
booths.

*

The trees
bloom
the fountains
babble
the sun
shines
the birds
sing.

In the park
a mass grave
is being
dug.

*

Down the streets comes
a procession singing.

Clad in sackcloth they cry
a ragged verse.

If you listen closely you can
hear them chanting.

That everything is bound to
get much worse.

*

Editorial Note: This is a collection of Plague Poems written between April 5, 2020 and April 11, 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.

*

If you are one of the
unlucky few
breaking quarantine
so that your vote
might
be counted

Please
take care to
remember
that those who have
forced you to
break quarantine are
themselves sick

But not
with the
present
plague

*

As the plague ravaged the land
even the hopeful began
lamenting
the many ways that
our institutions have
failed
to protect us.

Sequestered in their lonely
hovels the cynics
observe
the many ways that
our institutions are
working just as
intended.

*

From the podium
our leader
spews
misinformed bile.

Sackcloth
in truth
is always
in style.

*

You did not ask
but heed
my advice.

If you still have
hope
you should
keep it
to yourself.

Now is the season
of sackcloth and
of dirges
hope is out
of fashion.

Take your hope
and hide it
close to your
chest and if
anyone asks
deny
that you have it.

Don’t
mention it.

*

On this night
I will
wash my hands
until they are raw
I will
drink too many
glasses of wine
I will
eat the stale
bread of affliction
I will
ruminate on
horrific plagues
and I will
dream of escaping
from bondage.

It was the
same
last night
but tonight it
will be holy.

*

If your youngest child
should ask you
why this night is
different
from all other nights
tell them that on this
night
unlike those of
recent weeks
we will speak not
of one plague
but of ten
plagues.

*

Should he come to
my home
on this night
Elijah will find my door
closed

The chance that
he carries the virus
poses too great
a risk
for me to offer him
a goblet at
my table

It would be only too
fitting if the one
year when
my door
is closed
to be the year
he knocks

*

When times are bright
the bread of affliction
reminds us
of the dark times
that we
have escaped.

But in the dark times
every kind of bread
from stale crust
to hearty loaf
is the
bread of affliction.

*

Spared of plagues
and freed from
bondage and
compelled to
wander
from desert to
exile from pogrom
to strange lands and
from charnel house
into the unknown.

It is not that we who
survive
we who remember
and retell
are ungrateful.

But it does
not
suffice us.

*

That old man Noah
was at sea for
forty days and
forty nights.

That old man Moses
led the Israelites
in the desert for
forty years.

When I finally am
permitted to
venture outside again
I too
will be an old man.

*

As the legion of
the unemployed
continues to swell
approach their
woeful misfortune
with all of the
empathy you can
muster.

For it is only a matter
of chance
that has spared you from
joining their illustrious ranks.

And this plague will
outlast
your luck.

*

The sooner that we
reopen the country
the sooner that we
will realize that
the decision to
reopen the country
should have been
delayed.

*

You did not
deserve
to suffer so
in life.

And you did not
deserve this
undignified
death.

Thus reads the
obituaries
of this plague’s
victims.

*

I know not what is
good
about this particular
Friday
on which so many
are being shut into
tombs from which they
shall never
rise.

*

Outside the food-bank
a line stretches
for many
a mile

Sackcloth
for we hungry folk
is always
in style

*

Forced to pack hastily
you fled with barely
a thought for your
destination

Now you sit
running your finger
nostalgically across
the gold stamped
passport
from the land
you unhappily left
behind

Dream of it
but know
normal
is a country
to which you will
never return

*

When the ragged few
tried
to warn us of the
dark times ahead
they were met with
derision and scorn
by those
who hoped their
bleak prophecies
would be wrong.

But none prayed more
ardently
that these
ragged few would be
wrong
than the ragged few
themselves.

*

*

Plague Poems…the previous week

Plague Poems…the next 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 librarianshipwreck.wordpress.com @libshipwreck

15 comments on “Plague Poems – The Fourth Week

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

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

  3. Pingback: Plague Poems – The First 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

  15. Pingback: Omnium Gatherum: 21apr2020 - The Hermetic Library Blog

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