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Pandemic Poetry & Art Healing Project


c.e. chapple

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

Desiree LaBeaud


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

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