Pandemic Poem #21

Pandemic poem #21; in which your intrepid poet has had it with the scrambling and bumbling of people trying for “business as usual ” when we all know, or ought to know, that’s not remotely possible. Let it go, embrace the weird, this is out of all of our control, the world will look different on the other side and not only is that okay, we should court disruption because it heralds change, and change is our only constant and adaptation the best (and only) way forward, always.

(Reading tip: if you are reading this on your phone screen, turning the screen sideways will result in a correct placement of each line; otherwise, they are broken up in unusual and not especially poetic fashion.)



Notice if you will, in times of turmoil,
how easily the illusion of control slips away,
revealing the chaos we barely manage to contain.

Notice how desperately those in power
try to maintain that illusion, to retain their place,
to restore as quickly as possible the restraining order they prefer.

What if instead of seeking to squelch
the uncontrollable we lean into it, learn better lessons
not how to uphold the manmade order, damn the costs it brings,

But how to be gracefully disordered,
to accept and embrace each disruption as a natural event,
certain only that nothing is certain, that therein lies the beauty of

Mortality, hiding in plain sight
just under the surface of our schedules and routines,
a wisdom we’ve lost; Dionysus and his followers understood.


(Originally written 4/10/2020)


I invite those who are also writing creatively in response to the pandemic to share their words in the comments below. I am sharing the “poem-a-day” on Instagram and Twitter, as well; follow me @mridleyelmes !


About Melissa Ridley Elmes

Professor and writer; Unrepentant nerd; chaotic good. Author of Arthurian Things: A Collection of Poems. PhD, MFA. She/hers. Views my own.
This entry was posted in poetry, writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Comments Positively Encouraged!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s