Under the Second Wave

 
 She pined in thought, 
 And with a green and yellow melancholy 
 She sat like patience on a monument, 
 Smiling at grief. 
 (Viola, Act 2 Scene 4 of Twelfth Night), William Shakespeare
 
 Grey days and silent streets
 states of emergency declared 
 now a stay at home order  keeps
 her at the window
 looking out—
 isolated
 once more.
  
 The news is grim—the cases climb—
 exponentially increase they say. 
 She hurries to reconnect herself,
 hunches over, nose too near
 her screen, she becomes
 bug eyed, reading numbers 
 of cumulative cases worldwide…
 ninety five million, eighty six 
 thousand, two hundred
 as of today.
 Can she smell death, in spite
 of locked doors and closed windows?
 For don’t forget that two million 
 thirty three thousand, three hundred 
 and twenty of those people died
 worldwide---that she knows about.
 And how many more have passed away,
 been buried in a hurry or their records
 lost? 
  
 Numbers do not 
 mean much on this scale—
 pandemics dehumanize
 depersonalize— leave us all
 to absorb the horror  
 on our own.
  
  
 Perhaps that’s why so many 
 want to deny the facts, rebel
 against the edicts of government ,
 the advice of medical experts,
 she thinks…
  
 Can she, and everyone, 
 find such monumental
 patience as to carry 
 them across uncertain times?
 As vaccine rollouts shudder and shake
 supplies are tangled in red tape.
 And logistics…. do they know what 
 they’re doing, she worries
  
 And when will the world 
 wake up to its need to mourn,
 come to terms with such 
 enormous grief? 

2 thoughts on “Under the Second Wave

  1. Remarkable, Felicity. Such a good portrait of this time.
    Reading one verse, I think I will call my friend who lived in England during WW2, to ask whether people went starkers and broke curfew when they shouldn’t have, and whether anyone died as a result. I can’t figure whether our modern generations are just mollycoddled or whether people actually go crazy and rebel against the confinement.

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