Chen-ou Liu's Translation Project: First English-Chinese Haiku and Tanka Blog

Friday, March 11, 2022

Great Loss and Just A Number Tanka

Three Hundred and Nineteenth EntryCoronavirus Poetry Diary
written on the day that marks two years since the WHO declared COVID-19 to be a pandemic. 

a great loss
when only one man dies
of covid
but millions is just a number ...
this twist to my doctor's mouth

FYI: The Atlantic, March 8How did this many deaths become normal? The U.S. is nearing 1 million recorded COVID-19 deaths without the social reckoning that such a tragedy should provoke. Why?

At least 953,000 Americans have died from COVID, and the true toll is likely even higher because many deaths went uncounted. COVID is now the third leading cause of death in the U.S., after only heart disease and cancer, which are both catchall terms for many distinct diseases.

America is accepting not only a threshold of death but also a gradient of death. Elderly people over the age of 75 are 140 times more likely to die from covid-19 than people in their 20s. 

Accepting their losses comes easily to “a society that places a hierarchy on the value of human life, which is absolutely what America is built on,” Debra Furr-Holden, an epidemiologist at the Michigan State University, told me.

Resolutions to turn the first Monday of March into a COVID-19 Victims and Survivors Memorial Day have stalled in the House and Senate. Instead, the U.S. is engaged in what Keller calls “an active process of forgetting.” If safety is now a matter of personal responsibility, then so is remembrance.

And for more about personal reflections on Covid19, see my "Special Feature" post, titled Poetic Impulse in the time of Covid19

Added: Three Hundred and Twentieth Entry

does it matter
to mask or not to mask ?
in dim light
Ukrainians crammed
into a bomb shelter