"More than machinery, we need humanity."

Plague Poems – The Eighty-Fourth Week

If you must worry
do not focus
on the plague
instead worry
that compared
to the other challenges
bearing down upon us
addressing the plague
has been easy.


Near the conclusion
of our meeting
my mentor sighed
before calmly stating
“you are right to be
cautiously pessimistic”
and I had to remind myself
that we had only been speaking
about my job prospects.


Contrary to what
the Hollywood blockbusters
had led us to believe
it turns out that
the end of the world
as we knew it
is not only terrible
but also
terribly boring.


I confess:
given a choice
between sitting
in a conference room
and sitting
at home
I would prefer
to sit at home.

I also confess:
given a choice
between sitting
in a conference room
and sitting
at home
I would still prefer
to sit at home.


Editorial Note: This is a collection of Plague Poems written between October 16, 2021 and October 22, 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.


At this point
it is easier
to imagine
the end
of the world
than it is
to imagine
the end
of the pandemic.


When I was young
I believed
that if people knew
the dangers ahead
they would change tracks
or trigger the emergency brake
while there was still time.

Now I understand
that what is known by
the anxious passengers
means little
when the train’s conductors
refuse to listen to them.


All ships
sink eventually
that your voyage ends
while the vessel
is still afloat.


We had prayed
for rain to fall
for a heavy rain to fall
so that the waters
could soak the dry earth
and wash us clean
of the funeral pyre’s ash.

We had prayed
for rain to fall
for a heavy rain to fall
and we cried out
our lamentations to the sky
when it began to rain stones.


Stop exaggerating!
It is ridiculous
to claim
that we have learned
during the plague.

For there can be no doubt
that we
have learned
how to calmly carry on
while thousands die
week after week.

That we have not learned
anything good
does not mean
that we have not learned.

Be grateful
if you are one of those
who can go an entire day
without thinking
of the plague.

For there are many
who will spend every day
of the rest of their lives
mournfully thinking
of the plague.


I miss
the person
I was
the plague.


It would be easier
if you
were made of straw
a brainless scarecrow
does not think
about the world around it.

It would be easier
if you
were made of metal
a heartless automaton
does not feel
for the world around it.

It would be easier
if you were not
flesh and bone
but you are.

Those who spent
the summer declaring
that the plague was over
were silenced
by the wave that crashed upon us
in the early fall
now as those waters recede
they once more declare
that the plague is over
while their clothes
remain soaked from the wave
from which they learned nothing.


In moments
of deterioration
preserving the status quo
is just another way
of letting everything
get worse.


When this ship sinks
we will all
go down with it
there are not enough lifeboats
and those few that there are
are infested with termites
perhaps you are a strong swimmer
but when you hit the frigid water
you will not be able to tell
which way to shore.


To speak now
of only
seven hundred thousand
plague deaths
is to ignore
the additional
thirty-three thousand
who have died
since then.

And by the time
you finish
reading these words
the death toll
Will have risen even higher.


If you must declare
that the pandemic
has ended
at least wait
until a moment
when daily deaths
in your exceptional land
have fallen
below a thousand.


When your worries
in the moment
threaten to devour you
just remind yourself
that on a distant day
in that future
towards which
we are currently careening
you shall look back
at these plague years
and call them
the good old days.


The limitless variety
of mask designs
is only surpassed
by the numerous ways
in which people manage
to incorrectly wear them.


Be glad
that you have
another week of
the plague.

But remember
it is still
to claim
that you have
the plague.



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-Fourth Week

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

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This entry was posted on October 29, 2021 by in Plague Poems and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

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