INTERVAL TWO: Covid Corner

(Such is the penetrative power of the Covid 19 virus that contributors referencing it have had to be isolated in this special no lengths barred Interval. Please wash your brains before entering and after leaving.)

Humanise piglet from old children's game

Barbara Lydecker Crane: Six Grimm Tales of Covid

“I’ll huff, and I’ll puff…” The wolf is gasping for air.
One pitying pig calls 9-1-1
as he peeks through a crack in his straw hut lair.                 

*    *    *

Sleeping Beauty’s doing what she should.
She’s keeping social distance from lonely,
lovesick princes by dozing in the wood.

*    *    *

 The witch has barred her candy cottage door
to Hansel and Gretel. Urchin children
always carry Covid, she is sure.

*    *    *

Prince Charming grows alarmed at midnight. He’ll leave her
flat, to see how Cinderella
starts to glow with pumpkin-orange fever.

*    *   *

Little Red Riding Hood’s mother
nixed the girl’s visit to Gran–preventing
infection and also ingestion by another.

*   *   *

“Our testing’s the best,” the wooden figure’s crowing,
“with swabs and kits for everyone.”
Pinocchio’s nose has never stopped growing.

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Marcus Bales: Yesterday

(Yesterday. Original songwriters: John Lennon and Paul McCartney)

I got into stores without delay
Went to work and could collect my pay
Oh I remember yesterday.

Shelves aren't full the way they used to be
There's a virus hanging over me
Oh yesterday came suddenly.

Why'd he say "A hoax!"
When the joke's
Been his delay.
He did everything wrong
Now we long
For yesterday.

Experts seemed to know just what to say
Now they duck and hide and run away
He dismissed them

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Tom Schmidt: Belovid-19

My symptoms designate impending doom:
I’m fevered, short of breath, and I’ve suspected,
Since this began when she came in the room,
That she’s the one by whom I’ve been infected.
Such charms, no PPE could ever cover:
Beneath that Hazmat polypropylene
I estimate the curves of my true lover;
Behind her mask, sweet lips in quarantine.
Confining powers, I declare resistance!
Love’s labor is essential to my state;
Unshelter me, let no more social distance
Sequester me six feet from my soul mate.
For what her love transmits I’m so desirous,
I’d choose the ICU of passion’s virus.Patch of forget-me-notsAnna Nolan: Super Spreader

I’m a super-spreader – yay!
Went to Wuhan for the day:
Had to close a massive deal
In my line of business – steel.

South Korea was quite near –
With its charming atmosphere,
Vibrancy and cut-and-thrust,
It’s, you must admit, a must.

Next, Iran – it was day three:
This is where you go to ski;
Doing every lovely run
Really gave me tons of fun.

Mine’s a schedule that is hectic,
But my tastes are quite eclectic,
And so on to splendid Spain,
Where there was no rain-soaked plain.

Italy: its famed cuisine
Is on what I’m really keen:
It had always been my plan
To have pizza in Milan.

Earthly passions still entrance:
Want l’amour? Then head to France.
I just did (there was no sleaze);
And they also do good cheese.

Now, this special partnership
Has me firmly in its grip
(It will never fade away),
So my next stop? USA:

New York’s famous Central Park
Always leaves a lasting mark;
With a few more days to kill,
I then went to Jacksonville.

Back in Britain, parties beckon:
Just how many, do you reckon?
Seven in one week alone,
But I’m not the one to moan:

Super-spreader, super-spreader –
I have put this in my header,
They may also, for a laugh,
Use it in my epitaph!

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Oscar Kenshur: Silver Lining

These days we all seem very keen
To check off 'things that must be seen'
In Dubai, Denmark, Durban Delphi,
Or rather, pose there for a selfie.
We roam the world in Hun-like hordes
With camera phones not spears and swords.

Now, with C-virus come to call
Such travel makes no sense at all.

Today, we voyage virtually
Among those stunning sights to see.
I don't pretend that it's ideal,
The virtual instead of real –
But still, we glimpse rich realms anew
Since selfie fiends can't block the view.

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Stuart Blair: Lockdown

Isolation is taking its toll;
it’s down to just me, and the cat,
and a mountain of puppy-marked roll.

We’ve discussed the best food for her bowl
but there’s limits to pussycat chat.
Isolation is taking its toll.

I’m scared I may lose self-control.
Bowel control? I’m OK for that
with a mountain of puppy-marked roll.

I fear I’m becoming a mole
going blind with old video tat.
Isolation is taking its toll.

Made a huge Andrex-clan totem pole
and a tricky-to-fold vampire bat
from that of mountain of puppy-marked roll.

And now, as my ultimate goal,
a quarter-scale white ziggurat . . . ?
Isolation is taking its toll.
and the mountain of puppy-marked roll.Purple gladioli

Alex Steelsmith: Something Old, Something New

Long ago in Tomis, Ovid
dealt with pathogens like Covid,
aka Coronavirus,
while composing on papyrus
verses later known to Trajan.

Also conscious of contagion,
Virgil and his cohort Horace
added verses to the chorus,
as did other vatic Romans
known in English by their nomens.
Likely Nonnus would have known a
virus something like Corona
(not identical, but vaguely
corresponding, speaking plaguely).

Earlier, the great Hellenic
poets lived with pathogenic
virions in their environs
treacherous as Homer’s sirens.

Multitudes of ancient versers
cursed at C-19’s precursors.

Now, like them, we seek our respite
from the newest viral despot,
humbled but averse to grovel.
Nothing is entirely novel.

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Curtis Franks: Flatten The Curve

I have no clue what my teacher just said
About inflection points and growth rates. Instead
I keep refreshing the COVID-19
Map that's displayed on my phone's tiny screen,
The graph on which sports a perceptible swerve
Upwards, eliciting "Flatten the curve!"

When I switch tabs to check the Motley Fool
I see that the stock graph is nearly its dual
And almost don't notice them calling on me.
I unmute my mic and pray that I'll be
Saved by the bell or a ZOOM-bombing perv.
Will our stimulus checks help to flatten the curve?

But I'm young and fit and under-invested.
A stock market crash will not leave me bested,
Nor is it likely this virus will harm me.
These charts on my phone don't really alarm me.
What I fear the most are the grades I deserve.
I beg you, professor, please flatten the curve!

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Michael Swan: A Cabinet Minister Speaks

we are aware
that there is a technical distinction,
and we have seen claims
in the left-wing press
that this may have
some current significance.

Our government's policy
is to adopt a measured stance
pending the outcome
of relevant research
the results of which
it would not be appropriate
to anticipate at this stage.

Our highest priority
it goes without saying
is the safety and welfare
of each and every one
of our citizens.Seven yellow rosesSylvia Fairley: Good Chews

I galloped, we galloped, then started to munch,
There was hawthorn for breakfast, camellias for lunch,
A delectable diet for Capra Markhors,
While the residents shuddered behind their closed doors.

We held up the traffic in Trinity Street,
They were sounding their horns – we continued to eat,
Though the butt of their rage, we ignored their abuse,
We had horns of our own we could put to good use.

When we’ve eaten our fill, then we aim to have fun
Ram-raiding the shop fronts, and when we are done
We’ll head for the sea, give the kids a day out,
Get the beach to ourselves while there’s no one about.

If you want a vacation, you’ll find it all here
In Llandudno: the sands and the view from the pier
And the ripe vegetation – this town gets my vote,
The perfect retreat for a Kashmiri goat.

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Chris O’Carroll: Goats Going Viral

We are Llandudno’s billies, cashmere-clad,
Surefooted denizens of the Great Orme,
Each one of us a hungry, big-horned lad.
This time of year, all-boy bands are our norm.

Glands by our horns exude a rank perfume
Which we’ll enhance with urine on our coats
In mating season, when time comes to groom
Ourselves for favours from the nanny goats.

For now, though, we are all about good eats.
We’ve left our wonted rocky headland for
A gourmet bash in your unpeopled streets
Among lush plantings we cannot ignore.

While humans isolate, we’re chowing down.
We munch your gardens and the public square.
In token of how much we prize your town,
You’ll find hoofprints and droppings everywhere.

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Jerome Betts: A Spokesbilly Replies . . .

We goats that descend from the Orme
Are by no means a locust-like swarm.
We mow lawns and trim hedges
And our fee (some choice veg) is
Fairly low for the tasks we perform.Head of Kashmiri goat