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The Pilgrim Reaper


Remembering a favourite line of mine from my youth about infections that were
Concordeing it around the globe and now the Concorde dead as the dodo and as
Airlines bankrupt slowly into dodohood or worse for us takeovers hospice mergers the
Blind not only leading the blind the dying giving the kiss of death to the dying our
Acquired faith in the economy tested to the limits of of its meaning and naturally 
Found wanting so it’s maybe not the economy stoopid but the stoopid economy our 
Secular chickens coming home to roost having lost not only their religion but worse
Freedom of thought a personal philosophy borrowed bought into or uniquely theirs so
Cures found plenteous with pills their producers and purveyors their market shares
Profits and dividends statistics in the graveyards of the dead our next and next and 
Next generations so maybe lemmings we’ve become our quantity and impact more than 
Even we can bear and more than the world we live in can tolerate without response so a
Virus emerges which can kill us and save us the dilemma of personal submission to
Mass suicide with each of us an anybody and a nobody two for the price of none the 
Virus our pilgrim reaper walking to a Santiago to save our world first cleaning it of the
Poison of our presence  and then perhaps of us ourselves and so a vacant freehold for
Passersby or some remnants of us who had understood a thing or two about life on
Earth our earth our home our place in the complex scheme of things I’ll never know so
Dead by age ailments or virus no longer anyway here so happy that I care…

Seán Gaffney, June 2020
A poem appearing in the recently published ebook Aspects of Ageing (Second edition) 2020


Tragic irony of it pilot whales lost at sea a
Plastic-infested pollution-infected sea on an
Overheating planet so who’d blame them really and 
Humans who caused it all driving the survivors back 
Into the man-made cesspools of the seas and soon no doubt
Crowdfunding campaigns on Facebook compulsive tallying of
Likes and shares and then the celebrities and God help us
Influencers (no such thing as bad publicity) jumping on any and every
Bandwagon the pilot whales lost from sight in a flurry of
Too little too late just like after Rachel Carson’s SILENT SPRING and I am one who
Read it nodding in assent so is my voice now grounded in my shame this poem just
More too little too late the irresponsibility of inaction my
Shame at the dead whales having lost their way
Stranded on a sandbank in Tasmania their death-throes on the TV news in
Real time as the phrase is now not virtual reality or some such
Convenient deflection from life and death our fellow creatures still there
Dead and dying as I and we look on.

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