Remembering “Le Peste”

 

Do you hear?

The warning bells

Ringing out loudly.

Can you not see?

The beacons flaring

Or the alarm called out

Can you not hear?

Is this a contagion?

That leaves people blind

Unable to hear lies

Or prevents the smell

Of putrefying corruption

That once upon a time

Would make us vomit.

A disease that stops

people hearing

The bland hypocrisy

The use of words

That have a completely

Different meaning

Marking a different

Hidden intention.

Was this plague

Carried by the fleas

Of the rats swarm

Or was it carried

On the west wind

By the Jet stream

That cold high mistral

Blowing wild across

The Atlantic sea

And moved through

the continent

A malignant spore

That eats at our hearts

So that we feel nothing

So that we no longer

Feel anything at all

So that the dictators

Breed and grow fat

Like maggots squirming

In the warm fetid stench

of the carcasses sodden

slow smouldering decay.

And when the alarm

Rings out “the plague”

Has set on our land

Is loose in our world

We mistake the bells

For the weddings toll.

Is it the nature

Of this disease

To turn one thing

Into another kind

So that we are pleased

But do not see

The blight of our

Mistaken judgement.

And we all march

To the drum beat

Of that old song

“Work makes you free”

And so the hours stretch

To pay the bills

So that one job

Becomes two or three!

When will the children

Be required to work?

The clock chimes

Backward in its block

And no one lifts

A straightened finger

of the left hand

to put the pendulum’s

measure in its place,

and open people’s eyes ,

to see the gored butchers,

slice the life’s breath

from our short lives.

I hear you say

The contagion

Is just gadgets

And electronic wizardry

That urges us

To look the other way.

And tells us only

When we have more

Will we be really happy.

Is this a contagion?

That leaves people blind

Unable to hear lies

Or prevents the smell

Of putrefying corruption

That once upon a time

Would make us vomit

And arm ourselves

Against such a threat

In fierce determination.

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