Its two years today since the first case of Covid, an unhappy birthday
Marked by  needles as syringe, and affording cold flame in a climate
Of near frozen resources; as the cake crumbles into snow,
What will follow, and what will influence or impinge?
The NHS is cracked ice, stretched it would seem to its limits.
Some say it may take ten years to recover, by which time those
Not yet at risk could be dead. And all this because risk
Has been downsized and truth disguised beneath covers
As transparent as clingfilm, or a tissue/gauze duvet draped over
A sweat smeared, phlegm marked bed. Yet now, very few wear
A mask, either on the street, or on buses. Or trains. There are places,
Such as restaurants wear you must. But only to walk in, or to move
From your meal to the toilet. A token ten second effort,
Or possibly more, taunting trust. Masks  may offer little protection
Of course. Especially as they are now fashion items; badges,
That like piercings, or tattoos before soon involved the owning body
In groups, or gangs or tribes that bred bounty; whereas now,
Throughout counties in this country at least, nothing’s solved.
They simply keep your germs in. They contain your contagion.
I cough in mine often and hear the middle aged chorale echoing
And now we too are a tribe. Or, a diaspora who seem desperate
For the respect that lost decades despite their troubles and ills
Placed faith in. So today there is a call to return to the considerations
Once given. Things are not as they were. Your illusion is that this
Is 2019! When everything seemed right with the world. Well, just
Think about that for a second! We still had the same leaders,
And the same tragedies, misdirections and efforts to change,
Still unseen. We just didn’t have this, however it arrived;
Its still spreading. So wear a mask, not for purpose,
But to show that you at least recognise that something has gone
Wrong with the world. And that we may well need strange
And new stars to  save us. Whether they will or not depends solely
Not only on distance,  but on some other bright birthday prize.
We need a Plan B, straight through to Zed, let’s be honest.
We need a new alphabet of vast re-invention. And so,
What should we wish for as we blow the candle out?
Is it Christ? Or Mohammed, Yah-Weh, or the simple
Shared heat from the community cauldron, stirring
The kind of soup that sustains us and blowing back
A new vapour in which we can savour the scent
Of a friend; that delight.
David Erdos,  November 17th 2021
Illustration: Rupert Loydell
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