"More than machinery, we need humanity."

Plague Poems – The Sixty-Seventh Week

That things have improved
does not mean
that from this point forward
they can only keep improving
progress requires maintenance
we worked to get here
should we become idle
we will find ourselves
back where we were
trudging through ruins
praying for things to improve.


Across from my seat
in a pot on the windowsill
is an eastern prickly pear
throughout the cold months
it was shriveled
seemingly lifeless
now as the heat and sun return
it has woken from its languor
standing erect with new growth
jealously I gaze upon it
as I remain in my seat.


Though we are less than
a quarter of the way through it
already the twenty-first century
has tried to teach us
how tragically foolish it is
to prematurely declare
mission accomplished.


Though I do not miss
wearing a mask
(whenever I venture beyond
the confines of my home)
I will admit
that I greatly miss
that simple way of knowing
which other people
are taking the pandemic seriously.


Editorial Note: This is a collection of Plague Poems written between June 19, 2021 and June 25, 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.


To pretend
that the pandemic has ended
requires so much less effort
than taking the steps
that will bring about
the end of the pandemic.

And thus
the plague times


After these long months
of being asked
to make personal sacrifices
in their daily lives
for the sake
of combating the virus
many who are still confronted
by this request
now choose instead
to sacrifice the lives
of others.


When there is only
bad news
we search desperately for
good news
and once we discover
good news
we begin to ignore
bad news.


We raise children
on tales in which
the noble heroes
happily ever after
perhaps our young
need more tales in which
the exhausted commoner
a horrific plague
that never seems to end.

At least such stories
would prepare them
for this world.


Resist the temptation
to wish
for a pox on the houses
of those who ignore
the very real pox
for your house stands
in the same neighborhood
as those you would
call down the pox upon
and you are not invulnerable.


Long after the wounds
that the plague has gouged
into our flesh and
into our minds
have healed
the scars will remain.


Once you are in a lifeboat
you must row
you must row for land
your arms will ache
your back will be sore
but still you must row
onwards through the darkness
possessed by the belief
(by the hope)
that if you just keep rowing
than eventually
you will surely reach the shore.


Do not let
your boredom
in the lifeboat
convince you
to clamber back aboard
the sinking ship.


Stop saying that now
(at least the vaccinated)
can get back
to living
their lives.

We were not dead
this last year
through the long months
we were all
our lives.

It is just that
we were
living them
in a pandemic.


That the daily deaths
here, in this exceptional land
number only
in the hundreds
no longer
in the thousands
provides little comfort
to the loved ones
of those hundreds.


A slow collapse
may provide a select few
with the opportunity
to seek shelter
but to slow the collapse
is not the same thing
as to prevent it from happening.


It would be untrue
were I to say
that I am once again
for in truth
my worries never stopped.


It is because
I have been watching
the state of the plague
over there
that I remain so concerned
about what awaits us
over here.


When buildings tumble
we read the headlines
in sadness and shock
wondering aloud
how such things can happen
(here, in this exceptional land)
and then we return
to rolling our eyes
at those depressing people
who try to tell us
about all of the repair work
that we keep putting off.


While retrieving the box fan
from the attic (where it wintered)
I noticed that thick dust
had accumulated atop
my trusty suitacase
with fond memories
of past journeys together
I gently brushed the suitcase clean
and then left it in the attic
as I still have no need
for a suitcase.


There is darkness
behind you
and in front of you
the frail light that flickers
this is not
a safe place to pause.



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 Sixty-Seventh Week

  1. Pingback: Plague Poems – The Sixty-Sixth Week | LibrarianShipwreck

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

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This entry was posted on July 2, 2021 by in Plague Poems and tagged , , , , , , .

Ne'er do wells



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