Pandemic poems

Pandemic poems

We are experiencing the worst crisis in our lifetime. Things are that bad and the worst is yet to come. The impact of the virus will be felt in decades to come. Can anything good come out of this? I wish to share two of the poems I wrote under the lockdown.

 

Viruses

 

There are no coffins for them.

They are buried in distant shallow graves or burned without goodbyes.

The virus that started in Wuhan has spread all over the world

and is now in the neighborhood.

The inept rulers acted too late and we are now on lockdown.

 

Maintain social distance. Stay at home.

No problem for those who can hoard food, alcohol and toilet paper.

It’s going to be a long vacation,

bingeing on Netflix, posting selfies and Tiktok on Facebook or Instagram.

Or work in one’s room – thanks to the internet.

 

Meanwhile, those outside are cursed and called hard-headed,

undisciplined as they huddle shoulder to shoulder

at the police checkpoints trying to get to work or just go home on foot.

Home is at the dump or under the bridge or in shanties separated by flimsy walls.

No panic buying for them. They have to choose:

infection or starvation or get shot by the police.

 

The despot is clueless what to do

after welcoming his Chinese friends from Wuhan.

All he knows is curse and kill and sleep,

and issue incoherent orders in online midnight monologues.

He wants more power & money and his minions in congress comply.

He thinks he can fight the veerus with the gun or by slapping it

or turning cities into concentration camps all over the land.

 

And the body count continues to rise.

There are no coffins for them.

They are just buried in distant shallow graves or burned without goodbyes

like the over 30,000 murdered by the virus that started in Davao

and spread by hitmen and trolls all over the land.

What’s a few thousands more?

 

We do not forget. There is a time for reckoning.

And he cannot flee to the Middle Kingdom to be protected by his masters.

Someday when both viruses are destroyed

And the madman is locked-in, buried or cremated,

We will go out dancing in the streets and cry Never Again.

 

It Takes a Virus

 

The sky is clear and falcons fly freely in the air.

There are no smoke coming out from factories.

The rivers and canals are blue

The shops are closed, the streets are empty.

Where’s everyone?

 

Everyone is at home all day long.

No need to leave at dawn and come back late at night.

Fathers and mothers are playing with their kids or teaching them.

They gather ’round the table and feast on their meager meal.

Food is shared among neighbors or delivered by strangers.

 

They wave and smile at their neighbors from a distance

It’s been a while since they’ve seen each other.

They sing at the top of their voices or play the guitar

in their balconies and rooftops and get a round of applause.

When was the last time this happened?

 

There are no students in the schools

And no worshippers inside the churches

except for the homeless and the stranded.

They are housed and fed as donors and volunteers abound.

There is a pandemic of kindness all around.

 

Priests celebrate mass on empty churches

as the faithful watch them online in their homes.

The pope gives his blessing in front of an empty square

watched by millions of people around the world.

No distance, quarantine or lock down can separate them.

 

There is a blessing in all of this.

This is the time of sabbath and the great jubilee.

The earth and everyone are given a chance to rest and recover.

The chains are unshackled and debts will be cancelled.

Bumbling tyrants cling to their thrones knowing their time is up.

 

Do not tremble. The end is coming but not for us

but for a global order that puts profits over people and the environment

where autocrats rule for their popularity & messianic pretensions.

Everything is crashing down – industries and empires.

A new world order is emerging from the ruins of the old.

 

It only takes a virus to trigger all these.

The rest is up to us now.