There has been much discussion lately of the ableist rhetoric used to talk about Coronavirus, but this soundbite from the Prime Minister… Well, to focus on the positives, at least it got my creative juices flowing! In my bid to write creatively about living with long-term illness, here’s a first attempt at a “poem” about the public relations of public health.
[Your feedback is welcomed!]
Covid-19 Rhetorical (2020)
Why don’t we take it on the chin,
allow the disease to run its course,
to, as it were, er,
move through the population?
We can rely on natural selection
to protect us. The fittest always thrive.
No need for draconian measures.
We will almost certainly survive,
so, please, don’t panic.
We are happy to report that this pandemic
will likely only take out the old, the chronically ill, the disabled, the immune-suppressed, the unlucky.
We need not fear – the movers and shakers,
the modern-day Atlases
who shoulder the boulder of our world,
are expected to return to a pre-Corona norm
of full health and vitality.
Life goes on!
If, however, you do feel temporarily unwell,
experts suggest calling 111,
(after you’ve been to the shops
to stock up on the essentials –
14 days’ worth of toilet roll, ready meals,
red wine and antibacterial products)
but only if you’ve been to a high-risk area
and developed definite symptoms –
a cough, a fever,
when ordinarily you’re fine.
If you always have difficulty breathing,
this advice does not apply.
Instead, keep calm and carry on.
And if you run out of toilet paper,
newspaper now could be your friend.
Never kitchen roll –
the one thing we don’t want
is to cause a blockage
in the smooth running
of the system (cistern?)
we have become accustomed to.
Of course, to avoid
labour lost to sick days,
we must all now
as never before
wash our hands.
Wash our hands, wash our hands
and wash our hands some more.
This is the way we wash our hands:
singing Happy Birthday twice over
to remind us that life goes on,
at least for 20 seconds.
And we must use soap,
which could have been purchased
in any high-street store
in the halcyon days known as BWW
(Before We Worried).
We are living in a democracy,
we protect our national treasures.
We will not stoop to draconian measures,
provided you follow the most basic advice.
As we said, wash your hands.
Sing Happy Birthday, sing it twice.
And, until the worst of it eases,
you must all catch your coughs and sneezes
in a handkerchief.
We don’t want to catch them some other way.
But just in case we do,
we must clear the shelves
of antibacterial hand gel,
even though we will be absolutely fine.
We are one of us, not one of them. Well,
just give it time
and the disease will run its course.
We must not panic.
We must not overreact.
We must find other topics of conversation,
we must not bore our colleagues.
We must remember that society, of course,
would not allow the pointless loss
of its strong, its able-bodied, lucky, carefree contributors.
No, nobody needs to panic,
unless you’re not one of us.
If you’re not one of us…
Just cross your fingers and take it on the chin.