A message received, was it timely or not?

A whisper of fear and the shame that it brought.

Rushing out wildly to lay in supplies,

Both wanting and fearing the truth and the lies.


Was courage a villain who’d kill those we love?

Should we hide or resist in our masks and our gloves?

While scientists argued and medicines weighed

Not by their relief but the price that we paid.



Pandemic, systemic

A prison of dread.

Shut the world out

And you won’t join the dead.


When distance meant love, and it broke all our hearts,

Longing to help with no clue where to start.

Opinions for truth, as if we couldn’t tell

The difference between as we built our own cells.



When loved ones died lonely in hospital beds,

Heartbroken silence and counting up heads.

People are numbers, don’t let that be you.

And nobody knows anymore what is true.


Pandemic, systemic,

A prison of lies.

Shelter at home

And you won’t have to die.


Our churches were shuttered, our God hid from sight,

Our faith nonessential–don’t put up a fight.

Schools were all closed and the students sent home,

Too many succumbed as despair claimed its own.



Each breath from our bodies a killer unseen,

Ashamed of our own lives, no way to demean

An enemy no one could fight nor perceive.

So, close up your business and learn how to grieve.


Pandemic, systemic

A prison of pain.

How can you fight

When there’s nothing to gain?


We all learned to fear that which once gave us pride,

Belief is your captor—you must choose a side.

Not that it matters, the rich count their wealth,

Our liberties canceled because of our health.



When love became exile from all we held dear,

Crushed dreams formed a vessel that no one could steer.

Our leaders grabbed more as their power increased,

And bade us revere them as sanity ceased.


Pandemic, systemic,

A prison denied.

Find a way back

Or they’ll steal all our lives.



It turned out I had more to say about Covid than just a short story. I wrote this both as a reflection of the moment we’re in, and also thinking about what I would say to my grandchildren if they ever asked me what it was like to live through this pandemic. Everyone’s answer would probably be a bit different, but this one is mine.

Also, I would like to credit Christovam for the words “when distance meant love,” in their song Andra Tutto Bene:

You can create any mental music you like to go with these lyrics, or none at all, but what I hear is a guitar intro with finger-picking, and then a full-on metal chorus with a screaming lead guitar. And a thundering bass. : )

Avid writer and reader of Faerie tales and noblebright fantasy.

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26 comments on “Pandemic
  1. A lot of lines resonated, Cathleen–“Our liberties canceled because of our health.” “Our leaders grabbed more as their power increased,” Amen. How did it get so easy to give up our freedoms?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you! I was getting nervous that this was too edgy and no one would comment.

      I think the thing I dislike most about the pandemic is the way it was politicized. Rather than uniting us–and facing Covid was something we pretty much all had to do–it tore us apart. And it feels like that was engineered, and I resent that.

      Also I’m very concerned about what “the new normal” might look like.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Agree and agree. The division between common sense reaction and over-reaction is so huge, it worries me. As you say, what will be the new normal? I’m not sure I’ll like it. I watched a YT video of a masked woman on an elevator who lost her mind when another masked person wouldn’t get off the elevator, allow the first woman to leave, and then get back on (assuming the elevator hadn’t moved on). She didn’t want to approach as close as the width of the door.

    What has happened to us! (or her. maybe just her).

    Liked by 2 people

    • I don’t know. I caught Covid at the tag end of that big second wave–it was everywhere in the Sacramento area. I even stayed home for months prior to that, but we figure my husband caught it, was asymptomatic, and then gave it to me. It was a lot like having mono again for February and March. But it was definitely survivable. I’d been supplementing with vitamins and zinc for years, and that’s supposed to help. I didn’t need any medical help, but at least in the second wave, they knew what to do, so the survival rates have gone way up. For someone in their 50s with no comorbidities, it’s as survivable as the flu, which you know, we get a shot and no big deal.

      Anyway, part of this is catching Covid after they understood the disease, but at this point, fear is definitely worse than the thing itself. I’m still getting vaccinated, and hopefully, everyone who’s older than me will, too. Then maybe, it’ll end up being just another shot we get every year, like the flu.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Jina Bazzar says:

    So true. I read a report the other day between governments that allowed their ministry of health to handle the crisis and governments that were afraid of economy crashes – which was the majority. Yes, they had lockdowns and all, but the ones that allowed the ministry of health to take control of everything are now going about – mostly – normal. Their borders are closed, to most, and anyone coming and going are forcibly quarantined, but inside, life goes on. I can only remember Iceland and Ghana, but there were other countries too. Ghana resonated too, because the president went out and said “We can recover our economy, but we can’t recover lives lost.”

    Liked by 2 people

    • No, we can never get back those who lost their lives. Especially early on, when they didn’t know how to treat it, it was a scary thing.

      I’m really looking forward to our lives post-vaccine. My personal freedom day is May 4th–that’s three weeks after my 2nd vaccine. I’m hoping that by July we’ll have enough people vaccinated that we’ll have no more Covid waves. I hope you’re getting vaccines in your area, too. : )

      Liked by 1 person

      • Jina Bazzar says:

        Vaccine roll outs here are taking rides on slugs. In 3 weeks, we’ve had about 100k 1st dose vaccinations. At this pace, my turn will come in a year or two.
        Any side effects on your part?

        Liked by 1 person

        • None so far. I had the first Pfizer vaccine on March 26th. I don’t expect any reaction from the second, though, since I’ve already had Covid. Hope the vaccine machine speeds up in your area.

          Liked by 2 people

    • Good to know, Jina. Thanks for sharing that tidbit.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. balroop2013 says:

    Covid has been the biggest monster of our life… probably it has taken more lives than any other epidemic. It has robbed children of one full year of their childhood and is going to leave indelible marks on their psyche.
    Though I have been fully vaccinated but we still dread air travel, hugging our dear ones and now we know how valuable is human touch.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. A true tale well told! Thanks so much for sharing, Cathleen. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  6. willowdot21 says:

    Absolutely beautiful 💜

    We all take memories the pandemic. Here is my lasting one.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. D.L. Finn, Author says:

    Very powerful, Cathleen!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Wow, Cathleen — nice work! I imagine we’re going to spend the next many years processing all we’ve just been through and making meaning from it through our art.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Thanks so much, Sean. : )

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I think you perfectly described the confusion around the pandemic. No one seems to know what is the best course of action.

    Liked by 1 person

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