"More than machinery, we need humanity."

Plague Poems – The Twenty-Ninth Week

On this day of awe
we set aside
our excuses
our frail justifications
so that we may
atone and
so that we may forgive
the transgressions
against us.

Sitting in isolation
I must atone
for I cannot
forgive those
whose actions
keep me sitting here
in isolation
on this day of awe.


My head pains me
my stomach is hollow
my limbs protest any movement
my eyelids droop
my tongue longs for water
my focus is weak.

How lucky I am
on this day
to be able to blame
such wretched feelings
on the fast I am enduring
I will require
a different excuse.


When I close my eyes
I am always
disappointed to find
that the world I see
when I reopen my eyes
has become worse.


I have fasted
I have atoned
I have forgiven
I know it will not be
but it is all that I
can do


Editorial Note: This is a collection of Plague Poems written between September 26, 2020 and October 2, 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 self-centered it is
to obsess over the death count
in your country
when the plague has now claimed
over a million victims.

Yes I know
but that count
would not have already exceeded
a million victims
had my country
not allowed the plague
to declare victory.


In my neighbor’s yard
stands a sign
blue with white letters
it has been there for months
when the name on the sign
over two hundred thousands
plague deaths
the sign remained
as I walk by
my neighbor’s yard
I doubt that a tax scandal
will make this sign


You need not wait
for the scorekeepers
to tell you the victor
of tonight’s debate
that question after question
shall focus
on the lives lost
on the number infected
on the horrid persistence
attests that it is
the plague
that has won.


Why are you still debating
what questions remain
to which the responses are
as yet unknown
what possible answer
could tell you more
than the mass grave
filled with plague victim?

Why are yous till debating?


Had you studied history
you would not now
be so surprised
to find yourself here.

Had you studied history
you would not still
be so befuddled
as to what will come next.

Had you studied history
you would not forget
that there is time to change course
though admittedly not much.


After all these months
still you have not
how to properly tell the time.

Remember the lesson
your grandmother
to teach you.

When the hour comes
that there are those
to whom an order of
“stand by”
can be given
it is already late
so very late.


I do not know
how to read the stars
but I do know
how to read the newspaper
confidently can I predict
that the plague
will still be with us in January
but I am less confident
that this country
will still be here
come that date.


While the men
traded insults
the moderator
the commentators
the audience
and as all their eyes
remained fixed
on the duel
the plague carried off
the day’s victims.


Do not celebrate
the start of October
colorful leaves and candy bars
cannot hide that the grim reaper
stalking our streets
is not a child in a costume.

If you must celebrate
let it be in recognition
of the unhappy fact
that next month
will be even worse.


Cavernous though
it is not
my quarantine echoes
with the words
more than a thousand
spoken morning after morning
week after week
describing so many yesterdays
so many todays
too many tomorrows.


Strewn about
in my neighbor’s yard
are skeletons
plastic skeletons
their unmasked teeth
grinning offensively at those
who walk by.

How inappropriate
and yet
how appropriate.


Tell me
how many victims
did the plague
last month?

Do you not

Why is it
that you do not

to my shame
I do not
know either
though I know
it is a number
That should be known
by one and all.


According to the news
there were more
than forty six thousand
four hundred and fifty nine
new cases of the plague

We do not know
the names
of all forty six thousand
four hundred and fifty nine
but we know that in
that number
is the man responsible
for that number.


My friend
I understand you are angry
(know I am angry too)
but I beg you
do not praise the plague>

not out of sympathy
for the man
who would extend
no sympathy to you.

But refrain
because the families
of the plague’s victims
can see you
as they still mourn.


it is not
that it was impossible
for him to protect himself
from the plague
but that he chose
not to.

It is not
that it was impossible
for him to protect us
from the plague
but that he chose
not to.


When the number
of infections
exceeded seven million
that horrid news was met
with indifference.

When the number
of deaths
surpassed two hundred thousand
that tragic news was met
with silence.

Many wondered what
could remind the people
of the plague’s presence?

we know.



Plague Poems…the next week

Plague Poems…the previous week

Plague Poems…the first week

Plague Poems…the full list


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

2 comments on “Plague Poems – The Twenty-Ninth Week

  1. Pingback: Plague Poems – The Twenty-Eighth Week | LibrarianShipwreck

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

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This entry was posted on October 7, 2020 by in Plague Poems and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

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