Wise Poets, Wise Poets of the Present

A Now Poetic Voice of the Covid 19 Age

A Now Poetic Voice of the Covid 19 Age

A Now Poetic Voice of the Covid 19 Age

They say history repeats itself, and in 1918, we had a worldwide flu epidemic like the world had never seen before. In that day the virus was spread by the movement of armies during the First World War while today’s pandemic bug is being spread by the massive movement of people through modern aviation for the reasons of commerce and tourism. The Bible itself predicted that people would be “:moving to and fro in the latter days” in an age marked by various plagues. Could these be those latter day? We don’t know. But today’s poetic voices of the pandemic hold for us a certain uncertainty about the future and that we must get this disease under control.

In the following poem we have the poet’s perspective of the isolation, uncertainty, and grief of it all in a poem entitled “Hazmat” by Lorcan Black.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Hazmat

The lungs of this city are burning.
Outside an ambulance expels three medics:

minutes later they move a man between them
like a chess piece.

From our terrace I can see the thin, frail rage of
his chest.
Rising and falling with each step.

I can see the fever glowing-radiation hot-
his chest heaving.

A woman stands by the door crying.
The suits help him tenderly.

Three beekeepers carefully arranging
the contagious fever of a whole hot hive

to be hand deliver, finally,
into a white sterility.

Each night since I have stared at that house.
What if they ban funerals? Then what will she
do, but sit

memorizing every last detail of those men,
eyes under white hoods, escorting him off into
darkness?

Into a night on fire with distance.
The spring trees are restless-

Listen-their branches are breathing and
creaking.

Tonight, and every night,
I can’t help but think

what walls of what houses-
how many thousands-

passing mere time,
caging such grief.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

The poem illustrates a very personification of isolation in the image of the medics moving a Covid patient That were suited up like beekeepers, separated from the world by this suit, and moving him as if he were “a chess piece” (a most dehumanizing experience all by itself). And it was penned an author who is himself isolated on his balcony by the lock-down and is himself partaking in this isolation. So the isolation is a ubiquitous experience very deeply affecting us all, the “whole hot tribe” of us. And then he gives us a poignant picture of the contrast between inhumanity of this surreal scene playing out before his eyes with the very deep humanity, uncertainty and grief of the crying woman standing by the door, and the tenderness of the medics who move him gently to the “white sterility” of the inhumane isolation of the hospital ward where he would probably die alone. And not only does the isolation of the pandemic touch us all, but the grief and the uncertainty of this one woman is also universal also affecting us all. We share her grief in the “many thousands-passing mere time, caging such grief” with all of us also being at risk. “So thus we may be separated from each other by walls, hospitals, and hazmat suits and death itself, but we are all still inextricably connected to one another in spirit by the uncertainty the unprecedented loss of human life of this time in history.

Black himself wrote concerning the inspiration for this poem,

“Over the course of one week in lock-down…I counted five ambulances… The sheer level of that uncertainty for those loved ones left behind struck me as immense, and the grief of the families left behind-especially those for whom that might might be the last they see their loved ones-which inspired this poem.”

Happy New Year #dailywisdomwords #writingcommunity family. And stay safe.

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Abuh Monday Eneojo
14 days ago

This is a true narrative that allows for a reflection of what was. Many of us may not know how it feels but this poem brings us to a point where we…

Shirley Satterfield
Shirley Satterfield
13 days ago

Where we what, Monday ? Could you please complete your sentence? I don’t know what point you are trying to make.

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