Derek Wright: ‘Year of Blunders’


Year of Blunders

They thought the plague was spread by cats
and killed the animals that killed the rats.
They burned up wood to heat branding irons
leaving none for carpenters and coffins.
Doctors who lanced their patients’ buboes
were sprayed with suppurating pus,
causticked their wounds with a flaming rod
that killed them before the pestilence could.
Some thought it gone when it did but pause
and, deeming it safe to leave their house,
unboarded their windows, broke quarantine
and were infected all over again,
some in their heads, laureled with fire
as they raved naked in the city square.
We’ve learned from them. We know better, we say.
We shall all stay home and go mad that way.

Derek Wright

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