"More than machinery, we need humanity."

Plague Poems – The Eighty-Second Week

It would be inaccurate
to claim
that the decline in new cases
and the decline in daily deaths
will mean that we shall
stop paying attention
to the pandemic.

Such a claim would be
for it wrongly suggests
that until now
we were still paying attention
to the pandemic.


That this debacle
has precedent in history
that public health initiatives
have failed before
that this is not the first time
large populations
have learned to casually ignore
mass death occurring around them
that this tragedy
was quite foreseeable
all of that only serves
to make this worse.


that the number
the plague claims
each day
is declining.

that so very many
continue to be
claimed by the plague
each day.


To put current events
into perspective
Facebook going offline
is the most significant setback
the plague has faced
in months.


Editorial Note: This is a collection of Plague Poems written between October 2, 2021 and October 8, 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.


According to the news
after yesterday’s debacle
Facebook is once more
functioning normally.

What a relief that must be
to the plague.


We are plagued
by misinformation.

but there is still
an actual plague
as well.


To those who
break the glass
and trigger the alarm
the siren’s wail
is painfully loud
but for those
without glass fragments
lodged in their hands
the tocsin’s ring
is just another feature
of a noisy world
that can be drowned out
by putting on headphones.


By now I know
than to be surprised
by the disinterest
with which we treat the plague
and yet I will confess
that even after all this time
I had still believed
that passing 700,000 deaths
would generate more attention.


Trains derail
Ships sink
Tunnels flood
Airplanes crash
Plagues spread
Vehicles collide
Institutions fail
Bridges collapse
Forest burn.

get used
to it.


My religious friend
is not concerned about
rising waters
she assures me that
God promised Noah
the world would not
be drowned again:
the rainbow
is the sign of that covenant.

We will not be drowned
of this she is certain
she believes that this time
we will be consumed
by fire.


That you are aware
ships have sunk before
their hulls and sails
their passengers and crews
swallowed by the deep
and that you are aware
your vessel is not the first
to be battered by the waves
does not mean
that you are a fool
for thinking your ship
may not reach the harbor.


Do not be ridiculous
it is impossible to not believe
in the future
it arrives
with every passing second
irrespective of your beliefs.

Be more direct
in your commentary
it is not that you
do not believe
in the future
but that you no longer
look forward
to what the future brings.


We keep searching
for silver bullets
even though we know
that we are not fighting


Be honest
at least with yourself
were you aware
that yesterday
here in this exceptional land
the plague claimed
more than eighteen hundred
of your neighbors
before you read
that tragic number here.


I have heard
that we must take personal responsibility
for ending the pandemic
we must be responsible and
continue wearing masks and
maintain our distance and
live carefully.

I am willing to do so
though I wish
those who caused this calamity
would be held
personally responsible.


A year ago
we confidently spoke
about what we would do
when the pandemic ends.

But now
we cautiously dream
about what we might do
if the pandemic ends.


keep your numbers up to date
you must no longer lament
seven hundred thousand deaths
that figure is now more than
ten thousand deaths
out of date.

A day will come
when the death toll
finally stops growing
but that day has not come
quite yet.

update your numbers.


My grandfather was
a heavy sleeper
he would recount dozing
through screaming smoke detectors
hail-throwing thunderstorms
and air raid sirens
awake he was a cautious man
but no alarm could wake him.

All around us
the tocsins sound
but like my grandfather
we are such heavy sleepers.


On my first day of classes
in the 21st century
my history teacher
began class by admitting
that she had always worried
human civilization
would not make it
out of the 20th century.

I thought this absurd
but now I worry
human civilization
will not make it
out of the 21st century.


There is little I can do
to comfort you
I know not
of your troubles
and though I would listen
if I was there with you
the fact is that we
do not know one another.

All I can offer
is this assurance:
you are not alone
in still fearing the plague.

I hope
that is worth



Plague Poems…the next 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

One comment on “Plague Poems – The Eighty-Second Week

  1. Pingback: Plague Poems – The Eighty-First Week | LibrarianShipwreck

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This entry was posted on October 15, 2021 by in Plague Poems and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

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