The Day After Covid

They had for their king the angel of the abyss, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in Greek Apollyon, or the Destroyer… He seized the dragon, that serpent of old, the Devil or Satan, and chained him up for a thousand years; he threw him into the abyss, shutting and sealing it over him, so that he might seduce the nations no more till the thousand years were over. —Revelations 9:11, 20:1–3

If thou indeed derive thy light from Heaven

Then, to the measure of that heaven-born light

Shine, Poet! in thy place, and be content…

—William Wordsworth


The day after Covid, surgical masks

lay dead in the gutters, so many leaves

riffled into history by the collective sigh

of billions—breathe, O breathe free


at last! The lie laid bare, the masks of power

cracked, blue-backlit screens split open.

Shaggy-horned demons scurry, still

sucking the world dry—O hunger, circling


the drain, fill, fill these beasts that they prey

upon us no more. Strap them into the SpaceX

express and fire them into the eye

of the sun. Failing that, build them cages


made of gold, that their bloody forked tongues

lick clean daily from top to bottom,

their cells far, far away from the living

and sealed like a nuclear bunker


with the warning: There be monsters here.

Trespass at your own risk. The Angel

of the Abyss, shining lancet of Revelations,

will stand guard, stanching infection


at its wormy roots in the heart, where dreams

dark and deadly take hold. Fear not, O you

who tend the sapling and mend a broken wing,

for this guardian is an Angel of Dance,


who skips off the sun’s corona as it crests

the arc of Earth, spirit-sails the spiral arms

whose galactic milk stains the summer skies,

jigs the ocean for its shattered jewels


and sheds us all of our Earthly chains.


©2020 Sean Arthur Joyce

About seanarthurjoyce

I am a poet, journalist and author with a strong commitment to the environment and social justice. If anything, I have too many interests and too little time in a day to pursue them all. Film, poetry, literature, music, mythology, and history probably top the list. My musical interests lie firmly in rock and blues with a smattering of folk and world music. I consider myself lucky to have lived during the great flowering of modern rock music during its Golden Age in the late 1960s/early '70s. In poetry my major inspirations are Dylan Thomas, Rilke, Neruda and the early 20th century British/American poets: Auden, Eliot, Cummings. My preferred cinema includes the great French auteurs, Kirosawa, Orson Welles, and Film Noir. My preferred social causes are too numerous to mention but include banning GMOs, eliminating poverty (ha-ha), and a sane approach to forest conservation and resource extraction. Wish me—wish us all—luck on that one!
This entry was posted in COVID-19 lockdowns, Poetry and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s