Clinical Observations

Words practise social distancing with words
Leaving us tongue-tied: the numbers rise

In Italy and Spain,like the bloated figures
Of a petrol pump’s tampered meter–

And good doctors have to decide
Like the dreaded Angel of Death

Who has a better chance to live
Or who is to die–

Unmasked ,finally,we wear fresh masks
And wash our hands more vigorously

Than the Fourth Witch or the Fifth Governor:
In isolation,let us sanitise our senses

And redraw the route map of our lives–
Face to face with an enemy we cannot see

Or hear,but who is there,waiting for us to step out,
And to step in along with us.

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About VijayNair

I retired as Associate Professor, Department of English, Government Victoria College Palakkad, Kerala. I taught English Language and Literature in various colleges for 31 years. My Ph.D. thesis was on the plays of Wole Soyinka. My collections of verse include "The City and the Hermitage" (1988), "Doors Swing Open" (2008), "Eyes" (2010) and "Whispers of Light in Darkness" (2013). My poems have also appeared in the International Anthologies "I am a Poet" (2013), "With Love" (2013), "Synthesis" (2014) "Poetic Symphonies" (2015) and "Heavenly Hymns" (2015).

7 thoughts on “Clinical Observations

  1. Amita Paul

    The Fifth Governor is not an allusion I understand but the poem did make me think of the Fifth Horseman

    The simile about the death figures in Italy and Spain being bloated like a tampered petrol meter is interesting but to my mind not valid because it suggests artificial bloating and tampering with figures which is certainly not the case with data of Coronavirus fatalities emerging from the two countries

    All in all , a topical and interesting effort

  2. VijayNair Post author

    ”The Fifth Governor” refers to Pontius Pilate,the fifth Judaean governor .The Angel of Death is the notorious Dr. Joseph Mengele.The ” bloated figures” was in no way a reflection of the deaths in Italy and Spain,but a reference only to the racing figures observed in a tampered petrol pump meter.The common factor is”incredulity”, a feeling I personally experienced when I saw the numbers rise in Italy,a country I resided in between 1967 and 1970. How could this happen in a country known for it’s commendable medical infrastructure?

  3. Abu Siddik

    ‘Words practise social distancing with words
    Leaving us tongue-tied’ and ‘Unmasked ,finally,we wear fresh masks’

    –these sentences are key to realising the full potential of the poem. In period of crisis we have been unmasked, naked to the bone. Now we again wear fresh masks. Allusions and observed descriptions also add value and validity to the earlier satements.


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