The world was calm now. And silent.

Only the birds chirped tweeted sang cawed.

Only the animals barked mewed mooed growled.

Only the river gurgled.

Only the sky thundered.

Only the fires crackled.

 

Two covid-19 teenage viuses walked around the city

assessing the damage. On Route vers l’ouest, they found

mansions with cars parked in front and little gardens.

Four dogs ran out of the house dragging a well dressed

woman and a naked man. It was the posh area of the city

and in house after house dogs feasted.

 

On Route Vers le nord, that led to the fields, unharvested paddy

lay in the fields. That was the operational area of the rodents,

snakes and the jackals. On Route vers l’est, that led to the offices,

the road lay thick with the police, applicants, clerks, officers and

mounts of paper. The vultures landed on them and tore away

the flesh.  It was a mass of rotting flesh, blood, hair and

official communiqué.

 

On Route vers le sud, that led to the river, peacocks danced on

the road. From the two theatres that showed no films, super stars

grinned from posters. Weeds were slowly climbing up the

courtyards of the college and the schools. The grounds were

covered with bodies , furniture, lab instruments and aprons.

 

The teenage viruses reached the river and sat holding hands.

Being young, they were in love and being idealistic a tad bit

sad about the end of humans.

They then spied a human in a trench coat and trousers angling for

fish  on the bank. He smoked a pipe and chuckled while he spoke

to the fishes. The adolescent viruses approached him and asked,

“Who are you sir, how come you are in one piece when

all humans are dead all over the world?”

 

The man chuckled again and retorted, “I am Camus

and I wrote a novel ‘The Plague’ long back. I wrote that the city

was happy, life went on, but the plague bacillus never dies or

disappears for good. it can lie dormant for years and years

in bedrooms, cellars, trunks and bookshelves and perhaps the day

would come when it roused up its rats again and sent them

into a happy city.  You are those rats now and you are the plague.”*

The Gen X viruses who could barely understand him, watched

as Camus gathered his things and made his way up stream with

fishing rods, bait and the day’s catch, whistling to himself.

 

*From the last lines of the novel ‘The Plague.’

Ra Sh is a poet based out of Kerala


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3 Comments

  1. Yoking together two timeframes, the rendezvous of the ‘Absurd ‘Camus and the frivolous Covid 19 teenagers seems interesting! Well scripted to an effect of a kind of prophesying . Loved this piece 👌🏾

  2. Looks like one reason why things people write poems about happen is just them.

  3. Thanks, Ra Sh for a marvelous juxtaposition of Camu’s `Plague’ with today’s plague of Cornavirus – and reminding us of Camus’ prediction that the rats keep coming back in new forms.