"More than machinery, we need humanity."

Plague Poems – The Sixteenth Week

In the times before
the plague
a weekend spent inside
was a guilty pleasure,
to tell others that
you had just stayed in
made you seem a bore.

Under the plague’s rule
one can easily
justify a weekend
spent inside
though the pleasure
of staying in
has lessened considerably.

There must be something
wrong with my eyes,
for the images they send
my troubled mind
cannot be correct.

Tens of thousands of deaths
legions of the jobless
the plague carried to victory
on the shoulders
of indifference?


there must be something
with my eyes.


Terrible though
the news may be
I cannot
the gnawing suspicion
that the truth is
so much worse.

my carapace of cynicism
I always (secretly) believed
that people were good
if presented the opportunity
(I told myself)
mutual aid would triumph
over selfishness.

How foolish I was
before the plague
yet still I cling to that
secret belief.


Editorial Note: This is a collection of Plague Poems written between June 27, 2020 and July 3, 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.


How many
did not receive
paychecks today?

How many
cannot afford
to pay rent tomorrow?

How many
will join those
unhappy legions
by this time
next month?


The bespectacled man said:
“I’m very concerned.
We are going in
the wrong direction,
if you look at
the figures
for new cases.
We need to do
about this and
we need to do it
We are
in total control
right now.”

I expect he
will be jobless


My friends
do not balk when you hear
it suggested
that at some point soon
there may be in excess of
a hundred thousand
new infections a day.

This may seem
but remember
it was not too long ago
that the idea of
ten thousand
new infections a day
seemed ridiculous.


Even if you
are not currently
with the plague
you are still
living with it.


The sentiment
is understandable
but you must resist
the desire to celebrate
twenty twenty being
half over.

Surely you
already know
that the second half
will be worse.


If our leaders are to
force us
to have the plague
as a housemate
for month after month
the least they could do
is cover the plague’s share
of the rent.


How wonderful it would be
if our leaders
saw fit
to send us
another pittance!

With those funds in hand
I might
even be able
to chip at
the debt I’ve accrued
as a result of their
skillful mismanagement
of this crisis.


Six months ago
we joked about masks
washed our hands haastily
crowded together in bars
and made plans for the summer
for it was inconceivable
that the then so distant plague
would be allowed to win.

How foolish we were
how foolish.


Do not allow
the wretched numbers
to fill you
with despair
instead allow
your despair
to flow from the knowledge
that the real numbers
are even worse.


When we were afraid
of the plague
we were not cowards
we were prudent
and our fear
kept the plague at bay.

Those who are not now afraid
of the plague
are not brave
they are fools
and their hubris
sharpens the plague’s scythe.


is simply another word
for a person
who has not
the latest news.


Today the Vice President
declared that he
“couldn’t be more
of our nation’s response
to the coronavirus

Standing at his side
as he spoke
the pale rider
nodded in agreement.


It may well be
that you and your friends
have exciting plans
for this holiday weekend
revolving around celebratory
just know that
the plague
is also excited
for this weekend.


Believing a
mask order is
tyranny if it
inconveniences you.

Is why
the plague’s
sackcloth is
red white and blue.

Thinking that
the grim headlines
and dire warnings
cannot be true.

Is why
the plague’s
sackcloth is
red white and blue.


It is a strange thing
to celebrate a nation
that is in the midst
of collapsing.

Watching fireworks
while the plague spread
is but the new variant
of Nero’s fiddling.


“After the summer
comes the fall.”

“Yes of course
everyone knows that
after the summer
comes the fall,
for that is how
the seasons work.”

“Fair enough,
but I was not
about seasons.”



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

16 comments on “Plague Poems – The Sixteenth Week

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  15. Pingback: Plague Poems – The Seventeenth Week | LibrarianShipwreck

  16. Pingback: Omnium Gatherum: 9jul2020 - The Hermetic Library Blog

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This entry was posted on July 8, 2020 by in Plague Poems and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

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