"More than machinery, we need humanity."

Plague Poems – The Sixty-Eighth Week

You do not need to say
that we are not ready
for the challenges
that await us
for there is ample evidence
that we are not ready
for the challenges
that are already here.


The pandemic showed us
that we truly are
all in this together
it also showed us
that the “this”
we are all in together
is the lowest deck
of a sinking ship.


Before the previous crisis
reaches its conclusion
we are distracted from it
by the arrival of another crisis.


Though you had not
asked for it
the changing climate
has provided you
with another reason
to just stay inside.


Editorial Note: This is a collection of Plague Poems written between June 26, 2021 and July 2, 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.


Forgive me
but I will not lie to you
I found it easier
to believe
that we would be capable
of addressing the changing climate
before the pandemic.


As we hurtle towards
the smoke blackened horizon
we always think
that someone
will stop the train
or that the conductor
will switch the tracks
before we reach
our destination
and so we sit patiently
in our comfortable seats
confident that
we will not wind up
where we are going.


In some religions
the wicked are punished
for their misdeeds in life
by being sent to a hot place.

Regardless of your faith
you shall be punished
here, in this life
by the ways in which the wicked
have turned your world
into a hot place.


When the heat wave ends
the plague will remain
and come the day
that the plague finally ends
new heat waves will await us.


There are many
who shall react
with despair and frustration
upon hearing that
some places
some organizations
are recommending that masks
be put back on.

And there are many
who shall react
with woebegone calm
as they had never stopped
wearing their masks.


I will not deny
that I am depressed
I will not deny
that I am anxious
I will not deny
that I am living during times
that make it difficult
not to be
depressed and anxious.


When monsters die
the frightened villagers
celebrate in the streets
cheering for the end
of this wicked menace
even as the candles in the windows
of the dead monster’s castle
attest that new villains
equally foul and bloodthirsty
have replaced the dead beast.


And still
the plague
marches on.


We can see
where we are going
but it would be
too much trouble
too much work
to change direction
and so
we just keep going.


You need not fear
the end of the world
for it will be billions of years
before the sun dies
reducing our blue green orb
into something lifeless.

No, that which
you need to fear
is the end of your world
for that sorry calamity
is already occurring.


You must not
allow yourself to believe
that all is lost.

But you must not
allow yourself to believe
that we are winning.


Here in these moments
when I forget
exactly which victims
from exactly which tragedy
I am mourning
is the condition
to which I find myself
growing accustomed.


No longer believing
that their situation
will get better
they reduce their hopes
it would not be enough for them
for their situation
not to get worse.


There is always a chance
(and it is a decent one)
that you will be wrong
but it is certainly preferable
to be overly cautious
and be wrong
than it is
to be overly cavalier
and be wrong.


Should you find yourself
wondering if
here, in this exceptional land
the heat wave’s victims
will be remembered
ask yourself if
here, in this exceptional land
the plague’s latest victims
are being remembered
the latter question
will provide you with
your unfortunate answer.


It is not
that I am
but that after
recent months
I have learned
to hope less.



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-Eighth Week

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

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

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