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Poem for today by Carol Wain

Arts Richmond

Online - 17 May 2020

Poem for today by Carol Wain

Week 13:   Plague Year '20

by Carol Wain    (19.3.20)

Streets near deserted, as in some  movie: the scattered,

Isolated figures shuffle past in shame, some clutching

Two full shopping bags plus a twelve-roll toilet pack,

Casting their glances anxiously behind them -

Who lurks in dark doorways to steal their hard won prize?


The murmur and buzz of cafe, public house, busy town square -

All recently abated, eight days past; and in the middle distance,

Along this dusty high street drives a single grocer's van,

Almost the only moving object,  delivering food supplies,

Vital essentials to housebound, elderly, infirm and stricken.


Thirteen weeks on since this land was forced, despite itself,

Into virtual shutdown, a voluntary self-distancing from friends

And strangers;  long since in far China's unknown crowded city,

There grew a new malignant virus, feeding on jumbled corpses

Of trafficked creatures marketed on stalls for food – a cruel trade.


As we, oblivious, celebrated Christmas and New Year, partying,

Reports were heard of people dying, shut away indoors, tended

By ghostly figures, hazmat clad, in masks – also seen patrolling

Similar deserted streets and tower blocks, while Death stretched  out

Its icy hand to victims, old or sick, leading them silently to oblivion.


Year 20 will mutate, to become Year Zero, as people find new paths,

Start to rise again, up from the ashes and the deadly cinders,

But only when this ghastly cycle's run its deadly course,

We breathe fresh, clean air once more, so finally may we live again -

As music plays, the glasses clink, lovers kiss and children  play again.               


Note:  Death – the pale Horseman – now decimates the Earth with cruel effect.  How far off are the other three "Horsemen of the Apocalypse":  Famine,  War and Conquest?   (Ref.  Revelation 6: The Holy Bible.)

However, this crisis will one day end – but how long must we wait,  isolating to survive?


Written before we had “lockdown" policy – and people were just "asked" to stay indoors where possible.

Week 13 Plague Year 20

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