I have never imagined writing poems seemingly inspired by disease. I, myself, was surprised that I wrote one last year (February 2019) at the height of the dengue and Dengvaxia controversy. I thought that would be the first and the last. But here I am again, and I tried to express my musings, doubts, apprehensions – all a mixture of thoughts and emotions – on the worldwide outbreak and confirmed local transmission of the Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, which causes the disease now more popularly referred to as COVID19. How I detest the way our health and other problems are being handled. How I wish leaders viewed things holistically – that health problems are intricately connected with population issues, education, environmental problems, governance, etc. People may be able to read and write and count but not everyone can see how things are connected.
Is this my way of de-stressing? Perhaps, it is. And so I am reprinting them together here.
Both have been uploaded in Hello Poetry. [https://hellopoetry.com/poem/2921866/sick-poems-i/ and https://hellopoetry.com/poem/3759129/sick-poems-ii/%5D
At a minute past midnight tonight (15 March 2020, 00:01H), the lockdown of Metropolitan Manila – the Philippines’ most densely populated region – takes effect.
I am afraid, I am sad, I am angry.
Sick Poems – I
Finding poetry in a disease
is like looking for a nugget
of gold in one Smokey Mountain
of revolting, rotting rubbish.
A poem is precious.
It breathes us life.
Even one about death
brings hope of imagined
heavens and dreads of
eternal incomplete combustion,
but dengue sucks dry
its hapless victims.
today, detritus feeding . . .
Tomorrow, the girls among them turning
into little vampires blood feeding;
and the boys will have for drinking
plant juices like wines brewing.
Rightly or not, the winged being
receives much of the blame, poor thing!
The greater pain, the bigger burden,
felt greatly by the downtrodden,
however, lies not so much in the bitten
nor the biter – always the villain.
When those whose tasks are meant to serve,
serve not the ones who need, but only themselves
When solicitors utter Hippocratic mantras
Like gurus descended from Oriental Olympuses
but in truth are Proud Marys burning with empty heads . . .
And when the multitudes blind and blinded,
in Plato’s Cave chained, demented
faithfully follow the falsehoods preached
by the High Priests and Priestesses:
I recall the scenarios of old tales told
of Pied Pipers leading kids out of Hamelin’s fold
to a treacherous realm of eternal repose.
And a nation’s bound to decompose.
Sick Poems – II
Could writing a poem
inspired by a disease
be or become a crime?
How absurd is it
to find inspiration
out of a dreaded virus?
The emperor rudely wears indecent robes
worse than the legendary one without clothes,
more distorted than a crippled plastic ware
deformed by immoral, pretentious heat.
Incoherent recitations of tongues,
chants but not the solemn Gregorian
Pretenses at smartness of the ignorant
And all worshippers continue to be blind
Defending their King as they the headless
chess pieces are pawned,
fiercely loyally they guard their golden calf,
and all protesting Moseses, the King’s men
painted with the yellow mark of wrath.
This nation’s bound to decompose –
of mountains of unpaid and unpayable debts,
of liars who have made lies the accepted truth
of gospels preached that are none but rotten fruit
of thieves and shameless robbers who lead
of nation’s coffers they bleed
of blind beggars who follow
of multitudes numb with sorrow
of misfortunes often told and retold
And all our souls to the devil’s sold.
No Davids to rise and fight the Goliaths as told
The candle in this dimly lit room refuses to turn cold
The candle burns out soon, as history’s last page does unfold.
-Ireneo L. Lit, Jr. (Jun Lit)