"More than machinery, we need humanity."

Plague Poems – The Seventy-Seventh Week

Fortunately, I am not religious
for if I were a believer
I imagine that the sight
of the four horsemen
trotting back and forth
across the headlines
week after week after week
would strike me as quite ominous.


If you can still smell
the smoke
through two layers of masks
do not obsess
over whether it comes from
the wildfires out west, or
the funeral pyres down south.

Just be grateful
that at least you not lost
your sense of smell.


When faced
with calamity
most people
to turn
their faces away.


If what you are seeing
all around you
is not proof
that we must
change course
ask yourself
what would proof
look like?


Editorial Note: This is a collection of Plague Poems written between August 28, 2021 and September 3, 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.


And I looked,
and behold
a pale
(man taking a)
and his name
that sat on him
was Death,
and Hell
followed with him.


We keep saying
that we are right back
where we were
a year ago
because that is easier to accept
than acknowledging
that we are currently
somewhere worse.


We have set before us
life and death
blessing and curse
and yet still
so many amongst us
choose curses and death.


the world


How fortunate
we would be
if the plague
were the gravest threat
to our society.


How nice it must be
for you
that you (and your friends)
have done nothing
that has brought us here
others have failed
others have faltered
but your every step
has been the right one.

And now you stand
righteously amidst the ruins
how nice that must be
for you.


With condescension
we scoff at the way
medieval peasants
behaved when a plague
was ravaging them.

Let us hope
that in the future
people have more sympathy
when they look back
at the way we
behaved when a plague
was ravaging us.


If you can see the light
remember where you are:
you are seated in the backseat
looking over your shoulder and
out the rear view window.

That faint glimmer you see
is behind you
growing more distant
as this vehicle in which you sit
continues accelerating
into the darkness.


The saying
“this isn’t my first rodeo”
is not particularly reassuring
when the rodeo in question
refers to the latest wave
of the pandemic.


Before a giant
it first sways
where it stands
tottering drunkenly
from side to side
while the birds
that had nested
in its tangled hair
take desperate flight.

You that stand
in the giant’s shadow
must watch closely
lest you should be crushed
when the giant


The harder we try
to forget
the changing climate
the raging pandemic
the shaking foundation
the more horrified we are
in those moments
when we have no choice
but to remember.


The headlines speak
of the lives
washed away
by the storm
but of the lives
washed away
by the plague
the headlines
stopped speaking
months ago.


Standing at the railing
on the overpass
the city’s residents looked down
as the flood’s waters
carried their hopes away.


you are doomed
and perhaps
you are saved
but here
in this moment
it is enough
that you are still


We have mud
caked on our wet shoes
from trudging along
the flooded highway.

We have ash
clinging to our clothing
after fleeing from
yet another wildfire.

We have lines
carved into our faces
where our mask’s elastic
digs into our skin.

We still have
so many more miles
to walk.


As you traverse
this perilous ground
you must not forget
to look up
from your feet
to look up
from the mire
to look up
at the stars.

Yes, you must
look up
at the heavens
and remember
that soon
they will be naming
plague variants
after the stars.


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-Seventh Week

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

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

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This entry was posted on September 9, 2021 by in Plague Poems and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

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