"More than machinery, we need humanity."

Plague Poems – The Forty-Third Week

Some claim
that we should be thankful
to be in a new year
but thus far
the only thing that has changed
is the date I have written
on my overdue rent check.


That the plague
has vanished
from the headlines
does not mean
that the plague
has vanished
from your community.


When the history
of this plague is written
it will be observed
that the management
of the vaccination program
was consistent
with the management
of the plague up to that point.


It is challenging
to muster much hope
for a year that begins
with unused vaccines
as they sit
in refrigerated storage.


Editorial Note: This is a collection of Plague Poems written between January 2, 2021 and January 8, 2021.

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.


Had we overreacted
a year ago
we would not now
find ourselves here
drowning in the consequences
of our insufficient reaction.


In the time it took
to write these words
the plague claimed
another life.

In the time it took you
to read these words
the plague claimed
yet another life.


There are some rulers who
must first experience
ten plagues
before they finally realize
that something must change
lest total ruin befall them
while still other rulers
sit with disinterest through
ten months of plague
confident in their beilief
that change is the true ruin.


Even as
the death count rises and
the virus mutates and
the vaccines expire and
the hospitals grow overwhelmed
there are still moments
occasional sickening moments
when it feels as though
we face far greater threats
than the plague.


Forgive me
I do not mean
to deprive you
of your celebration
(after all we must take
the good news
whenever we can get it)
I know it did not make
the front page
but you should know
the plague claimed
3,664 lives yesterday.


If only those
who are so eager
to wear bullet proof vests
were equally willing
to wear masks
they would be better equipped
for the danger surrounding them.


All of this
and a plague
as well.


Those who refuse
to stop
those who will not
change direction
eventually wind up
where the tracks
are taking them.


Next time
and there will be
a next time
it will be


The statement
“this is not who we are”
no longer carries
much meaning
when it is defiantly proclaimed
on a weekly basis.


The only way in which
this is normal
is that we still
carry on acting as though
this is normal.


We are not doomed
to repeat the past
we are doomed
because we choose
to let the past repeat.

We have learned the names
we have seen the faces
of the dead five
but the 3,973
who the plague claimed
the same day
and the 4,033
who the plague claimed
the day after
those dead 7,826
they are just numbers.


Have sympathy for the rats
humble rattus norvegicus
when you hear of them
from a sinking ship
they are but simple rats
what did they truly know
of the ship that they snuck aboard?

As for the humans
who knew full well
what vessel they were boarding
spare them no sympathy.


My grandparents’ home
had a wall of pictures
fading photographs of relatives
who did not manage to escape
the darkest times
when we looked at those pictures
my grandparents warned
that the darkest times
could come again
I am thankful they are not here
to see
that they were right.


What further proof do you need
before you finally accept
that the crisis
in which you live
can always get worse?

Whatever evidence it is
that you require still
you will have it
soon enough.



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 Forty-Third Week

  1. Pingback: Plague Poems – The Forty-Second Week | LibrarianShipwreck

  2. Pingback: Plague Poems – The Forty-Fourth Week | LibrarianShipwreck

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