AN OCTOGENARIAN’S PANDEMIC There’s been some sort of epidemic So say all-knowing academics, A kind of dread Chinese infection Designed to avoid early detection, Resulting in oxygen deprivation For which there was no known protection. The government and the NHS Said, what to do we can only guess But until we can make up our minds You must avoid contact of any kind, Wash your hands 10 times a day Put your going out clothes away, And for restrictions we’ll atone By paying you to stay at home. Said if lockdown we don’t apply Half a million would surely die, But something they didn’t say Was all of us would have to pay, All the costs of shutting down To the tune of 300 billion pound. I have to think they’ve lost their mind Paying ½ billion to save a life like mine. On the news the professor reported We’d all go mad before it was sorted, But when I had the time to reflect Saw on me it would have little effect. I was allowed to form a bubble With neighbour who said, it was no trouble To do a supermarket shop for me Of fresh food, bread, milk and tea, And I booked an on-line delivery Which hitherto had been a mystery. My hour long visits to numerous clinics Were now phone calls over in minutes, And no waiting in a doctors surgery With ill people sitting next to me, Covering me in their coughs and sneezes Spreading their as yet unknown diseases, And oh what joy when they disclosed All the dentists would be closed. No visits from that demanding relation Requiring clean sheets on each occasion. My expenditure had been decreased, From hugging I had been released, No longer was I considered rude When I indulged my love of solitude. I don’t spend weekends in hotels Or holiday in the Seychelles, I have nobody to look after I have no fear of the hereafter. I thought now I will have the time To watch programmes on Amazon Prime, Then there was Netflix and Catch-Up TV Opportunities spread out endlessly. The prospect of gardening reared its head Or I could do DIY instead. Then there were all those books to read Which would increase my reading speed, And when these became less exciting I could always try to do some writing. But as months ran into longer time I missed the freedom once was mine, I missed the human interaction Leading to increasing dissatisfaction. I wondered if this imposed ban Affected this old solitary man, Someone long past his prime Already living on borrowed time, How much harder would it have been If I had been just seventeen? And here I had to face the truth, We chose to sacrifice our youth, They lost out on jobs and education, On teenage fun and socialization. My few remaining years protected By youth, who even if they were infected, Would avoid serious complication And wouldn’t require hospitalisation, But who’d be paying back for many years The billions spent to keep our conscience clear. So we mortgaged millions of young lives To try and help the old survive. Was this right, we don’t know yet Or something the country will regret? Maybe result would have been the same If they’d just locked up the old and lame, And supplied any help they needed Until search for vaccine had succeeded. Having lived through rationing and the blitz. The old could surely have survived this? Each year 600000 deaths are seen From causes other than COVID 19, For every 1 that from COVID died Cancer and heart disease killed 5. Now on the news a man of 99 Is said to have died before his time!! What’s new is that now each day, Presented in graphical display, Death is there for all of us to see We’re confronted by our own mortality. Everyday more of the same Until we look for someone to blame For the extra deaths of an aged few, As if death was something new, When we have been able to ignore The millions who have died before. Only when that eulogy is read Over the special one we’ve loved who’s dead, Do we realise death is always with us Even if it’s something we don’t discuss. As mortals why do we believe From death we alone could be reprieved? Heart attack, cancer or suicide, Broken heart or homicide, Immortality is our minds biggest lie COVID ………just another way to die.