Life Belongs to the Morning

A Plague Diaries interlude for National Poetry Day


Light the fires     
     lace the shoes         
          follow the leashless dogs!

Put your shoulder to the breaking of the fog

Death awaits, yes!
But you can march on him -
and make him doubt -

and make him pause
THE PRAYER (1877) Frederick Arthur Bridgman

“Ah, the prayers of the millions, how they must fight and destroy each other on their way to the throne of God.” — Steinbeck, Tortilla Flat

I like to think that all the prayers make it to God, but naturally so many of them are each other’s antitheses that there must be an awful lot of uneasiness in the queue.


Life belongs to the morning, and as I came down the stairs just after six o’clock I saw a group of two and a group of three people out for a walk in the dark. One coming up the hill, the other going down. Normally there would be more activity at 6am, but it would be commuters – rote movements, made by reflex, driven and direct. A lengthy SOS tapped out in the rhythm and spacing of cars streaming off the ferry.  This morning the walkers owned the road. They did not hold any line on the first day of Spring, but moved like drunken bees, letting their forgivable concerns be confused in the carelessness of their steps. From one edge of the pavement to the other, with an odd pause now and then, hands on hips and saying things that I, also stopped but inside my house with one slippered foot not yet on the floor, was never meant to hear.

Still, outside or in, they say the plague rages on, and

The world’s first murderer
(here Cain’s dust coughs a proud mote)
breaches quarantines to meet
not the cowering flowers
of a beaten people.

Skirmishers of the timeless virus
face good bodies and strong.
What fear they carry is shared…
walked off…
drawn out and dispersed
to the bone-drumming thrum
of the empty ferry’s engines

in reverse.

3 thoughts on “Life Belongs to the Morning”

    1. I don’t know how it looked for you, but when I logged in this morning, that first poem was all over the place. The formatting must have caught the flu when it posted. Fixed it. I hope.

      Thanks for the comment. Though hearing “that’s good, I’m surprised” is the kind of compliment that comes at you like a cat – it’s intentions ma be less friendly than they appear.

      Happy Saturday, enjoy Paradise!


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