"More than machinery, we need humanity."

Plague Poems – The Hundred-and-Thirtieth Week

If you spend enough time
atop a plateau
it becomes easy to forget
how high above the ground
you truly are.


You must understand
we are in a different place
with this virus now
than we were a year ago
after all, a year ago
we were still
taking precautions.


And after
we had grown accustomed
to the sound of the alarm
we directed our frustration
at those who insisted
on reminding us
that the noise in the background
was the sound of the alarm.


That you
are not vulnerable
does not mean
that the we
to which you belong
is not vulnerable
and besides
you are probably
more vulnerable
than you think.


Editorial Note: This is a collection of Plague Poems written between September 3, 2022 and September 9, 2022.

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.


A daily affirmation
for the plague times:
I am exhausted
I am distracted
I am grieving
I am concerned
I am overwhelmed
I am trying
I am still trying
to survive a pandemic.


A prominent doctor
has stated:

If the pandemic
has taught us nothing else,
it has taught us
that health
is the most precious commodity
on earth.

Though he could
have saved himself
words and time
by editing his comment
to simply say:

the pandemic
has taught us nothing.


When I ask
my friend the schoolteacher
about the recent article saying
test results in math and reading
have gone down
he just sighs, before noting
that at his school positive
test results for the virus
are going up.


Do not say
that wearing a mask is
the least people can do
for in truth
the least people can do
is nothing at all
which incidentally
is what most people are doing.


The next time you are asked
(and you will be asked)
why it is that you
are still wearing a mask
politely respond
that covering your mouth
allows you to be secure
in the knowledge that you
won’t accidentally spit
on Chris Pine.


Let us be honest
it is mild
is how we respond
to the vast majority
of our problems.


You need not know
exactly what
steps are needed
to end the pandemic
in order for you
to be able to recognize
that “you do you”
is a step backwards.


It is easy to say
“let’s respect
each other’s choices”
when you feel confident
that other’s choices
do not imperil your life.


And in other news
there is still
a pandemic going on.


My friend, the psychologist,
says the pandemic
has changed people
when I ask what she means
she says people
are not the same
as they were before.

I ask my friend, the doctor,
if she agrees, and she nods
when I ask what she means
she says the virus
can literally change the brain.


Before we disperse
from this collective grieving
perhaps we can find a moment
to collectively mourn
all those taken from us
by the pandemic.


we have not yet become
completely inured
to death
just to death on a mass scale.


You should not say
that recent events
are pulling our attention away
from the pandemic
for to say such a thing
would be to wrongly suggest
that we had been paying attention
to the pandemic
before these recent events.


Consider yourself warned
there will no longer be
any lifeguards on duty
by now you should have learned
to sail or swim or surf
or at the very least to tread water,
don’t expect someone to save you
when the next wave comes,
the lifeguards have been fired
try your best not to drown.


the condolences
will all be offered
the flowers
will stop piling up at the gates
the ceremonies
will be over and done with
the dignitaries
will return to their homes
and once all of that has happened
the pandemic
will still be with us.


And though
we were never really
all in this together
at least there was a time
when we could still be bothered
to pretend that we were.



Plague Poems…the following 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 Hundred-and-Thirtieth Week

  1. Pingback: Plague Poems – The Hundred-and-Twenty-Ninth Week | LibrarianShipwreck

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