"More than machinery, we need humanity."

Plague Poems – The Fifty-Seventh Week

Begin every week
by telling yourself
that perhaps
next week
will mark the plague’s end.

With such an attitude
you can find the resolve
to continue trudging ahead
until you find yourself
at the start of next week
when you can go back
and read this poem
from its beginning
yet again.


It is not that
after the pandemic
you can be
a different person
than you were before
you first put on a mask
it is that you are already
a different person
the you that you were before
no longer exists.


We repeat
the mistakes
that brought us here
then shake with confusion
then cry out in fright
then we repeat
the mistakes
that brought us here.


Though you may now be
out of the habit
the next time you find yourself
at the grocery store
place a few extra boxes of pasta
a couple more cans of beans
and another pack of toilet paper
into your shopping cart
you may hope
that you will not need them
but be ready


Editorial Note: This is a collection of Plague Poems written between April 10, 2021 and April 16, 2021.

They were initially posted online on Twitter at @plaguepoems and Instagram at @plague_poems.

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 only
committed to acting
out of an abundance of caution
at the outset of this crisis
we would not now find ourselves
bewildered by acts taken
out of an abundance of caution
as the crisis claws at our door.


While those
who are guilty
of mismanaging the plague
laugh on the golf course
we sit in our lonely rooms
feeling guilty
for not mastering a new skill
during this plague.


There are some
who struggle to cope
with the sorrow
from this year of grieving
and there are some
who have been grieving
carrying sorrow in a clenched fist
ever since they first began
to understand this world.


From their trip south
the birds have returned
to sing on branches
upon which flowers and leaves
are steadily returning
after a bare songless winter.

The plague
has not returned
for it never left.


When I was young
I wanted
to be the match
that would set the world ablaze.

Now that I am old
I understand
that in a world already aflame
what is needed
are fire alarms ans buckets of water.


Where once I found the idea
of talking aloud to myself
it is a practice I have now adopted
for you see my small hovel
echoes impressively
therefore if I speak loudly enough
my words reflect off the walls
and in this way
(for brief moments)
I can pretend I am not alone.


When every headline
screamed out a warning
about the plague
we knew
that dangers lurked
all around us
now that the headlines
seldom speak
about the plague
it is tempting to believe
that the dangers have vanished.


A year ago
we also believed
that the plague times
would be over
by the summer.


In the gutters
fallen petals accumulate
alongside disposable masks.


We speak its name
less and less frequently
yet the plague remains
ever on the edge of our lips
for what is a mask
but a reminder of the woe
whose name we dare not speak.


If I had some land
even a tiny lawn
I would plant flowers
so that I could watch them bloom
their naked heads absorbing sun
bobbing as the bees dance
unaware that the wind
in which they sway
carries more than just pollen.

Yest, that is what I would do
if I had some land.


That the plague
no longer dominates
the news
does not mean that
the headlines are lacking
for tragedies.


You may not be certain
of exactly what
needs to be done
yet you certainly know
that we must not keep doing
what has brought us here.


You may have taken
a step back
after so many years
balancing at the edge
of the abyss
but you must remember
to be a step away
from the bottomless pit
is still not
a place of safety.


No matter how earnest
is your attempt
you will find yourself unable
to understand the plague
until you are willing to accept
that the stories you were told
(the stories you still believe)
about the world in which you live
are the reason why
you are unable
to understand the plague.


That your chest
aches with constant fury
and your eyes
long for decent sleep
and your fingers
shake with anxious energy
and your mind
refuses to be at peace
is proof
that you are still alive.



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 Fifty-Seventh Week

  1. Pingback: Plague Poems – the Fifty Sixth Week | LibrarianShipwreck

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

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