With this poem I begin to post a series of mourning poems and obituaries related to the coronavirus. It is unusual to post poems online because if they have appeared on the net they are considered published and will not be published again by most journals. These, however, are a set (30) and probably would not be right for most journals anyway. So I give them directly to you.
I believe in looking feelings in the eye not running away or pretending. If you're happy and you know it ... yes, but if you've just witnessed 2 million deaths, you must be sad, cry and mourn to stay human. You must or you'll never be well. This is not over and even when it is, it will not be over.
I have deplored our focus on futilities
long and loud, pandemically
we need mourning, grief, sadness, thrashing
not getting lost in clouds
of false hope, sports and dope
and so I resolve –
if nobody will mourn the dead
I will cry
will it take all year
the rest of my life
and all those that follow
are we still honoring the victims
of the black plague of 1346-1353?
all 1 or 2 hundred million
that docked in the port of Messina
and … pandemonium!
a thousand souls a day
then as now
I will lament
---- Wayne Oney loved animals
proud father grandfather
loved the beach, talked with everyone
as he was dying face down his daughter
nurse Lindsey Fairchild took pictures from
behind the glass since she wasn’t allowed
in the ICU (I see you!), taking a picture
sending it out to relatives
checking the monitors, is he?
that’s a real person, a good decent person, she thought
in there, this is real people, life or death here, people
then they turned off the machines.
Oney, 69, in good health
had a coughing fit
and never recovered.
This is a brave undertaking. Like the AIDS epidemic that devoured so many before my eyes in the eighties and nineties, the COVID crisis has a way of obscuring the individual lives lost, leaving us thinking about statistics, not stories. Seeing the trees, not the forest, is our obligation to those lost.
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