Keep the World Safe

You don’t realise you’re infectious,

that’s the key – then you think

there’s just a single threat,

but everything goes viral,

everything. We’re all in this together.


One day it dawns, I’m a walking talking

superspreader! A danger to myself

and all I meet. I need to wear a mask,

hide myself away in quarantine.

Think of all the terrible conditions

I could pass on…


Fear, for one: anxiety, the scourge

of modern life. Alcohol, TV

and tranquillisers are no defence

against an enemy that lodges

like a cancer in our bones.


Comparison, a tiny germ that brings

all sorts of ills: heads it’s arrogance

tails it’s envy, someone comes off worst

whichever way. Secondary infections

– judgement, discrimination –

follow like pneumonia.


Antagonism, taking sides: fosters

hate and anger, temperature and blood

pressure rise… small-mindedness

distorts the vision… feverish desire

possesses us – it’s a plague

– the beginningless pandemic.


What am I? A vector, sick

with superbugs like these,

or can I help to make the herd

immune? I need to see our deep

intrinsic sameness, our equalness

of heart, build up a healthy confidence

in this – that’s my antibodies,

the only way to keep the world safe.



May 2020


Rainbow at sea by Five

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