Kindness in an Age of Pestilence

Written by Matt Duggan for the collection: 'Life in the time of #COVID'



When the theatre went dark

the stage a fence of glass

without an audience;

forming masses blissfully paranoid

stocking supplies in double locked garages.

Keep me well & far

from the breaths of pestilence

far from the infections in hospitals;

& far from the performing pantomime horse;

who breathe Darwin’s virus on the weak –

Between cracks of shameless

promotions of death & profit;

wash my hands from the blood of government

seek only kindness from strangers & those

who remember how and what it is to be human.



Matt Duggan was born in Bristol 1971 and now lives in Newport, Wales with his partner Kelly. His poems have appeared in many journals including Potomac Review, Foxtrot Uniform, Dodging the Rain,.... In 2015, Matt won the Erbacce Prize for Poetry with his first full collection of poems 'Dystopia 38.10' (erbacce-press). Matt won the Into the Void Poetry Prize in 2017 with his poem, 'Elegy for Magdalene'. Matt has previously published two chapbooks: 'One Million Tiny Cuts' (Clare Song Birds Publishing House) and 'A Season in Another World' (Thirty West Publishing House). In 2019 Matt was one of the winners of the Naji Naaman Literary Prize (Honours for Complete Works). His second full collection Woodworm (Hedgehog Poetry Press) was published in July 2019.

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