Pandemic Poetry & Art Healing Project
A pandemic is raging across continents
An unwelcome traveller upon our airways
A blight upon our economies
A poison seeping into relationships
Rumours of hoaxes persist
Attempts to blame certain nations
In ignorance of mankind's long history
Of plagues and battles with a microcosm
Of bacterial and viral life
Shields are being erected in retail outlets
Long lines are reminiscent of the dirty thirties
Food shortages inspiring rationing
Sterility becoming the norm
Some of us who heed the warnings
Who stay at home and work at home
Are mocked by others
Accused of abandonment
Or of cowardice
By those who think themselves invincible
Those of us who grew up before vaccines
Know just how vulnerable is humanity
To the hidden enemies breeding in our filth
Dancing invisibly in the air
Spread through a handshake
I have been told it is like the Berlin Wall
With many of us caught on opposing sides
The bricks rising ever higher
With no dismantling any time soon
Mayhap the internet will serve as carrier pigeon
Conveying my love to the other side
c.e. chapple, Writer
About the poem:
Recently, I was walking along a busy downtown street and was mocked for wearing a mask. I am a senior who falls in the high-risk category for COVID-19. I returned home to the news networks broadcasting the rising numbers, yet President Trump was not truthful about the risks, while newscasters interviewed people who did not understand science. When my boyfriend, who is a physicist, sent me the link to a couple of projects on the pandemic, I decided to write Pandemonium, plus a couple of pieces about homelessness, in the hopes that my words might help someone somewhere think a bit more deeply about our current social dilemmas.
I am both a mother and a grandmother from Southwestern Ontario, currently residing in Victoria, B.C. I have two degrees, one of which is in Honours English from the University of Western Ontario. I have been writing since I was eight years old, and have had numerous pieces published in anthologies, literary journals, newsletters, newspapers, and online. Writing has kept me sane in a crazy world.
I am 65 and was not diagnosed with Asperger’s until I was 45, after a lifetime of never fitting in, and suffering from both depression and social anxiety. I am also a multiple survivor of abuse, much of which would not have occurred had I been identified as a child. Once upon a time I was a teenage runaway and count myself lucky to have survived the streets of Toronto. I finished high school and attended university late in life. My life experiences are reflected in many of my works. I am also a status Metis, a member of both BC Metis and the Painted Woodland Metis Tribe of Ontario.
Desiree LaBeaud, Artist
About the art:
This poem really touched me. I have witnessed first hand the painful separation this pandemic has caused, so the metaphor for the pandemic as the Berlin Wall resonated with me. I remember the Wall falling when I was in high school; I can’t wait to see this virus “wall” fall, too.
In this piece, I tried to show love from human hearts piercing the wall created by the Coronavirus. All humans are suffering because our shared connection is being fractured, but our resounding love for one another is, in turn, fracturing the wall that separates us.
I used pencil, watercolors, and marker to create the piece, while sitting beside my two sons who were creating their own art simultaneously.
A. Desiree LaBeaud knows the pandemic coronavirus way too well. She is a physician-scientist, epidemiologist, and professor for the Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at Stanford University’s School of Medicine. Dr. LaBeaud studies the epidemiology and ecology of domestic and international arboviruses and emerging infections, with an interest in the vector, host, and environmental factors that affect transmission dynamics and spectrum of disease.
She is a lover of science, spirituality, nature, art, music, life, and people. You can learn more about her day job here.