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February 20, 2021

First Mourning


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 It is unusual to post poems online because if they have appeared on the net they are considered published and will not be published again by most journals.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. 

First Mourning


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

I will cry

I do

have to

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

have to

here goes:


---- Wayne Oney loved animals

proud father grandfather

husband, dad

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.





1 comment:

Unknown said...

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.