LibrarianShipwreck

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Plague Poems – The Eighty-Eighth Week

Tired and angry
as you are
be aware
that by week’s end
you will be
exhausted and furious.

*

At first
they said
the plague
would never
reach our shores.

Then
they said
the plague
would not last
very long.

Then
they said
the plague
would vanish
when summer came.

Then
they said
the plague
would end
with the vaccines.

And now
they do not speak
about the plague
at all.

*

I have
looked
in the bedroom.

I have
checked
in the kitchen.

I have
peeked
in the bathroom.

I have
searched
in the office.

I have even
opened
all the closets.

I know
that the person
I was
before the plague
must be here somewhere
but I suppose I must
keep looking.

*

Listen:
are you
sitting comfortably?

The work day is over
you should be home by now
you should be
sitting comfortably.

If you are not
by all means
stop reading here
come back once you are
sitting comfortably.

Listen:
the world is aflame
and look at you
sitting comfortably.

*

Editorial Note: This is a collection of Plague Poems written between November 14, 2021 and November 19, 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.

*

I confess:
when the case numbers
started to drop
and I warned
that we must not
declare victory
as the case numbers
could rise once again
I had truly hoped
that I would be wrong.

*

It used to be
the case
that when we tried
to explain
our exhaustion
our anxiety
our depression
we could point to the plague
as the source of our misery.

Our exhaustion
our anxiety
our depression
and the plague
all remain
however
we are no longer permitted
to blame the plague.

*

Before the dark times
they say the 1920s
began
with an exuberant roar.

Alas the 2020s
have started not
with a roar
but
with a coughing fit.

This century
we shall skip over
gleeful roaring
and move directly
to the dark times.

*

Like a film
that did not need a sequel
but which becomes
an ongoing franchise
featuring tired actors
and predictable plot lines
the pandemic continues
when it should have been ended
long ago.

*

In the fall
we were told
to brace ourselves
for the death toll
to pass seven hundred thousand
by the year’s end.

But now
they do not tell us
to brace ourselves
for the death toll
to pass eight hundred thousand
by the year’s end
for they know
barely anyone will care.

*

It is not the case that
we
have all
collectively shrugged
at this persistent plague
but that those amongst
us
who do not partake
in that collective shrug
do not make good party guests.

*

A year ago
you could be excused
for standing in the sand
enjoying the sun
with your back facing
the approaching wave.

But standing now
on that same spot
in clothes still soaked
from the previous waves
you can no longer
be excused
for staring in the wrong direction.

*

Educators know
you can
tell students an exam
is approaching
provide them in advance
with the questions
as well as the answers
and even permit them
to use their notes
at the exam
and still
the students will fail.

By now we know
how to pass the plague’s test
and still
we fail.

*

Better
to be mocked
as a Jonah
in the present
than
to be recognized
as a Cassandra
in the future.

*

We are not
sleepwalking
towards the calamity
we are
wide awake
and strolling
towards the calamity
nevertheless.

*

One can tolerate
waiting for months
so long as one believes
the waiting
will end eventually.

Thus we tolerated
waiting for months
when we believed
the vaccines
would end the pandemic.

It has become intolerable
this waiting for months
for we no longer believe
the pandemic will end.

*

Even the mightiest
cliff face
will eventually
be worn down
by the stead onslaught
of waves.

So you must not
be surprised that
the steady onslaught
of plague waves
have worn down
your face.

*

The plague is not
a test
we have failed
for we have not yet
turned our exam in
to be graded.

No
we have not failed
this test
but if you check
the answers
we have written down
thus far
it is clear
that we are failing.

*

Be thankful
that you did not know
what you know now
when you were younger
growing up
is hard enough
without knowing
of the plague
that awaits you.

*

You must stop
imagining
that things will get better
and instead begin
preparing
for things to get worse.

*

From climate
to plague
to this
nauseating trial.

Sackcloth
my friends
is always
in style.

*

Future historians
(if there are any)
will wonder
why we did not
stop
when it was so obvious
exactly where
we were heading.

*

*

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 librarianshipwreck.wordpress.com @libshipwreck

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

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

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This entry was posted on November 26, 2021 by in Plague Poems and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

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