Chris O’Carroll is a Straw Dog member living in Pelham. His grandchildren like some of his poems, but they really love A Child’s Garden of Verses. So he took “My Shadow” as a model for this child’s-eye view of the pandemic.
A Child’s Garden of Virus
after Robert Louis Stevenson
I know a little virus that keeps chasing after me,
A white ball with red bristles, which is much too small to see.
It tries to get inside my lungs to give me a disease
That I can pass to you and you with every cough or sneeze.
When viruses attack us, they can swiftly multiply.
If we are careless, we might help them build up their supply.
A proper child must wear protection everywhere he goes,
A mask across the face to cover up the mouth and nose.
The virus might be lurking anyplace my fingers stray,
So now I wash my hands at least a million times a day.
Mom sprays and wipes our doorknobs, disinfects our telephones,
And warns me that the beaches and the parks are danger zones.
I can’t go to the library, the movies, or the zoo.
This boring little virus says there’s nothing safe to do.
The funniest thing about the virus is its sunny side –
I stay home from the funerals of relatives who died.