This is a time we’d like to forget
a virulent inflection that pains and yet
cannot last unless we let it,
This is the way it flows, a liquid
breaching of the brain, merest trickle
at first, until a torrent looks to save us,
This is what we learned, what we surmised:
not alone the languished fabrics, but the
dyed, the raw sensation washed and wise,
This is a siren sent to persuade us,
this over-promised (ever promising)
and under-delivered indignation.
Click here to read Bruce Robinson on the writing of this poem:
I was waiting at Emergent Care, or some walk-in medical clinic with some name like that, Prime Care, Urgent Care, and of course my mind wasn’t right. And the need for care and treatment somehow…well, easily…conflated with the country’s current malaise. Ailments are treatable, that’s the optimistic view, and that’s partly why we drag ourselves toward medical professionals, unless we’re just lonely.
But the poem did not slide into making it clear that I wasn’t all that interested in the lobby of Emergent Care, I think it may have been EmUrgent Care, thank you, copywriters, until a bunch of writers , self-styled therapists, discussed it around a table in Key West. Thank you, guys.
That discussion infected the poem fairly quickly and the infection, I hope, spread through the lines and perhaps cured its ills. It’s the second line that perhaps preserves the fossilized remains of the gestation of the poem.
And don’t ask me what John Donne did (to inveigle his way into the poem).
Image: ” Nipah virus particle “ by NIH Image Gallery, licensed under CC 2.0