"More than machinery, we need humanity."

Plague Poems – The Tenth Week

Only fools and optimists
fail to make preparations
for tragic possibilities.

For every Plan A
there must be a Plan B
For every Plan B
there must be a Plan C.

Those without plans
B through D
can be faulted for
lacking foresight
but treat those
lacking plan V
with sympathy.


You are not
in being shocked
by how quickly
your neighbors grew
with fighting the plague
and surrendered to it
in exchange for
haircuts and hamburgers.

The pale rider
your surprise.


Watches require batteries
and clocks must be wound
otherwise the time they give
is neither trustworthy or sound.

We fear it’s close to midnight
the clocks say we’re on the brink
old batteries and unwound watches
hide that it’s later than we think.


Quickly now
put pen to paper
write down
where you were
when you learned
that ninety thousand
had been carried off
by the plague.

Historic moments
horrid though they may be
must be remembered.

Write it down fast
the next wretched
makes you forget
this one.


Editorial Note: This is a collection of Plague Poems written between May 16, 2020 and May 22, 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.


Our leader says that there’s a drug
that can drive off this horrific bug
“To get out of your quarantine
just take hydroxycholorquine!”
and when it kills you he’ll just shrug.


Were we only able to know
when life would return
to the way it was before
the plague
we would be able to endure
the discomforts of quarantine.

Were we truly able to know
what the future holds for us
we would long for ignorance.


Dear stranger
I commend you for
wearing a mask as
you stroll int he sun
your show of solidarity
is to be applauded.

But dear stranger
your mask would be
so much more
if you wore it
over your mouth.


Fantastical tales
of imaginary realms
capture our attention
for years on end
we obsess over
shocking plot twists
mourn every death
anxiously worry
about the many ordeals
the heroes
must suffer through.

Perhaps we would not
have grown bored of
this plague
if it had dragons.


While out for a walk
I passed an unmasked man
who laughed
at my covered face
“sheep” he bleated
as he strolled by.

I turned and prepared
a response
but hurried my pace
at the sight of
the pale rider
trotting a step
behind him.


Do whatever you must
so that you can sleep
you may be exhausted
from the disasters
that have already struck
but you must rest up
so you are awake
for the coming catastrophes.


Avoid the temptation
to succumb to melodrama
woeful though they may be
your sufferings have not
matched those of Job.

Not yet.


Woefully we await the day
when the death count
shall exceed
one hundred thousand.

Yet we know that
the official count
misses many who
have been carried off
by the pale rider.

Woefully we must acknowledge
that the death count
has already exceeded
one hundred thousand.


The number of plague victims
continues to swell.
The ranks of the unemployed
continue to grow.
The level of the angry seas
continues to rise.

The people in positions of power
continue to shrug.


Honoring the dead
by ordering flags
to be lowered to half mast
is a grotesque tribute
when the one giving the order
could have prevented
those deaths.


Pursued by a foe
more deadly
than the Minotaur
we stumble through
the labyrinth
seeking the exit.

Do not attempt
to retrace your steps
following the path that
brought you here
will not lead you out
it will keep bringing
you back
to where you are now.


You can wash
your hands
vigorously until
the skin on your
weary knuckles
cracks and bleeds.

You can wash
your groceries
with bleach until
the labels fade
and the cardboard
is soaked through.

But as you wash
remember that
your leaders have
washed their hands
of you.


Had we learned
form history
we would understand
how we wound up here.

Had we learned
from history
we would understand
what will come next.

Had we learned
from history
it would not be necessary
to imagine what might be
had we learned
from history.


Perhaps I am irresponsible
my foresight must be
though I tried to act
with care
I squandered my
twelve hundred dollars
on groceries and bills.

Had I only been wiser
I surely would
have been able to
survive on that fortune
for months.


As the scale
of death becomes
we cease
to comprehend it.


It is said that
as the Titanic sank
the musicians took
their instruments
to the tilting deck
and kept playing
providing comfort to
the doomed
as the ship went down.

If only the musicians
would keep playing
we too might
find comfort
int his moment when
our ship is sinking.



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 Tenth Week

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  9. Pingback: Plague Poems – The First 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: 30may2020 - The Hermetic Library Blog

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This entry was posted on May 29, 2020 by in Plague Poems and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

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