This year, an interloper thrust its gloom
Between bright Crocus and the firstling Iris—
A darkled mood-voice ululating doom,
Veiled in contours of a deadly virus.
Placid first…then as a rushing flume
It breaks in unseen waves, insidious.
We hunker, fearful, in imagined tombs—
Dread words divisive and invidious.
A whisper here, a murmur there, of death
Drawn out among the elderly, the ill;
Those most susceptible must self-immure,
Secrete themselves in silent rooms where breath
Transmits no taint, where lungs may safely fill
In solitude—the outer world, a blur.
Then Iris yields to Rose’s fleeting scent
As self-style Experts rise on every side,
Purporting Truth, with numbers daily bent
In somber graphs, fine-lined or barred or pied.
Each claims Death’s steady rise…or swift descent;
Statistics shift as wildly as the tide.
And in dismay, angers barely pent
Increase…and rank confusions swell, abide.
The Virus-Shadow—looming dark—expands,
Threatening to compass weeks, then months.
It seeds what some proclaim the New-formed Normal;
A World where none dare touch, sing hymns, shake hands—
Where every contact constitutes affront,
With interactions stiffly cloaked and formal.
The Rose defers to Zinnia’s riotous shows—
Then all too soon, Chrysanthemum displays
Its pungent, dusky bloom. The year thus flows,
Enthralled by danger. Days merge into days,
Pass unremarked. Human tempo slows.
Masks and distancing seem but delays.
Tempers flare. Brooding worry grows,
As if the Earth itself might die ablaze.
At three-and-seventy, I watch for signs,
Knowing that I live beneath a pall,
Hopeful that my years somehow suffice.
And yet…and yet—the patient Sun still shines.
Calm Night strings stars. Plants stretch at dawn. Rains fall.
Bees commute. Honeyed Fruits entice.