"More than machinery, we need humanity."

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
houses of worship
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
but to
empty polling


The trees
the fountains
the sun
the birds

In the park
a mass grave
is being


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
be counted

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

But not
with the


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

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


From the podium
our leader
misinformed bile.

in truth
is always
in style.


You did not ask
but heed
my advice.

If you still have
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
that you have it.

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
last night
but tonight it
will be holy.


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


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

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
from desert to
exile from pogrom
to strange lands and
from charnel house
into the unknown.

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

But it does
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

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

And this plague will
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


You did not
to suffer so
in life.

And you did not
deserve this

Thus reads the
of this plague’s


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


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

for we hungry folk
is always
in style


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

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

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


When the ragged few
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
that these
ragged few would be
than the ragged few



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 @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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