"More than machinery, we need humanity."

Plague Poems – The Seventy-Fourth Week

How distressing it is
to be reminded
that this wretched pandemic
is not the only
worsening catastrophe
in which we are embroiled.


We can
howl with grief.

We can
scream with fury.

We can
shudder with despair.

But we cannot
that we were not warned.


When times were good
my friends would chide me
for my glum disposition
admonishing me to smile
and reassuring me
that things were not as bad
as I suggested they were.

And now
my friends send me
frightening articles and ask
if I have already read them.

I preferred their mockery.


That you stand
on the pedestal between
redemption and doom
does not mean
that you are doomed
but neither does it mean
that you have been redemeed.

You must choose
your next steps wisely.


Editorial Note: This is a collection of Plague Poems written between August 7, 2021 and August 13, 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.


Though the website
made it very clear
that it would take a day or two
(or longer due to the surge)
before my test results
would be available
and though the kind nurse
emphasized the same delay
I swear that I have been
for my test results
for a century.


A common trope
in zombie movies
is the character who gets bitten
by the ravenous undead
and hides his infection
with this selfish act
dooming those around him.

It is fortunate
that the hungry dead
are not real
for those who would pretend
not to have been bitten
are all too real.


If I am to return
again to this world
I would like to come back
as a lighthouse
standing tall in the coastal breeze
dutifully shining forth
a light in the darkness
a light that pierces fog
a light that guides
ships to safety.

For I grow tired
of the shipwrecks I see
in this life.


After months spent
obsessively following the numbers
how strange a feeling it is
looking upon those numbers
and knowing that you
are counted amongst them.

Even if you are fortunate enough
to only be contributing
to the number
of screening tests administered.


Weary at the oars
after your ship’s captain
has brought you once more
to a choice between
the route guarded by Scylla
and the path watched by Charybdis
it is imperative to remember
that before you were condemned
to these dangerous options
there were other routes available.


There are moments
in which the decision
to continue
moving forwards
is simultaneously the decision
to continue
falling backwards.


When I finally summoned
the courage
to click on the link
I could feel the smile
breaking out on my face
upon seeing the words
“test result negative.”

And then I heard
a voice in my head state
“negative for now”
and my smile vanished.


An awkward introvert
I always quietly celebrated
a canceled party, or
a friend rescheduling drinks
there were few things I loved more
than a Friday night alone at home
how desperate I am
to be again at a crowded gathering
at which I am counting the seconds
until I can leave.


We are desperate
to be able to make
new memories
for we pray
that if we can make them
they will somehow displace
all of our memories
of the pandemic.


According to geologists
over a long enough period
of wave after wave after wave
the impact of the water
upon the exposed rocks
will wear down
even the strongest stones.

It has required far less time
and far fewer waves
for this pandemic
to wear us down.


If you could be certain
that your hopes
would be fulfilled
you would have no need
for hope.


Contrary to what
the pop song declared
it is the end of the world
as we know it
and I do not
feel fine.


Accustomed now
to more transmissible variants
to surging case numbers
to rising death tolls
to political breakdown
to selfish motivations
the only things that still
have the capacity
to genuinely surprise us
are positive developments.


Despair is borne
on sprinter’s legs
the faster you flee from it
the more ardently
will it pursue you
until eventually it wins the race
making a medal of your heart.

Do not flee from despair
instead learn
to run with it
accept it as a companion
as you continue
to stride forward.


Do not worry
should you find
that being responsive
to this world
fills you with despair.

For if you can
feel despair
than you can still feel.

Save your worry
for the moment in which
you come to calmly accept
the things in this world
that once filled you with despair.


Even while
it is happening to us
we still refuse to believe
that it can ever
happen to us.



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 Seventy-Fourth Week

  1. Pingback: Plague Poems – The Seventy-Third Week | LibrarianShipwreck

  2. Pingback: Plague Poems – The Seventy-Fifth Week | LibrarianShipwreck

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This entry was posted on August 20, 2021 by in Plague Poems and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

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