A Poem by Neil Doherty on the Risks of COVID-19

A hundred years and pocket change, since that deadly flu,

we’ve had our great disasters by the score.

You’d think that this experience would show us what to do

when pestilence comes sweeping through our door.

 

Don’t tell me this infirmity has only happened once,

disasters have a logic of their own.

We know the broad procedures of assessment and response,

so why has our experience been blown?

 

If it tarnishes the luster of our golden leader’s rule,

the strategy for scourges is “deny”.

if testing hikes the numbers and if masks are quite uncool,

deny, deny, deny, deny, deny.

 

In unwitting common purpose with our vaunted head of state,

the virus, though unbidden, plays its part—

it’s feeding that division in our politics of hate,

our president has raised to finer art.

 

And so this blight continues and infections daily soar,

the fault lines of our commonwealth are stressed.

The virus works its toxicant between the rich and poor,

the red and blue, the secular and blessed.

 

A hundred years and pocket change, since that deadly flu,

we’ve had our great disasters by the score.

And with this long experience we know what we must do

now pestilence is sweeping through our door.

 

But Covid’s not succumbing to political abuse,

it’s much like any other storm we’ll weather—

and all of our best practices will be of little use,

until we know we’re in this all together.