Viral Sequence

By Michael J Leach

I. Alternative Meanings of COVID-19 (19 March 2020)

COronaVIrus Disease 19
Cancel Overseas traVel ImmeDiately 19
COnsider Viable alternatIves to hanDshakes 19
Cough/sneeze On the V of the epIconDyle 19
Clean dOwn Virally Infected Desks 19
Call Off Various Important Dates 19
Close dOwn Virtually everythIng Downtown 19
Create an Optimal Vaccine rapIDly 19
Chill Out/Vegetate InDoors 19
COmfort ourselVes wIth Distractions 19
Come Over Very Infrequently, Dear 19
COmmunicate Via the Internet insteaD 19
Combine Our Voices In soliDarity 19
Care fOr the Vulnerable In this worlD 19
COntain this VIral spreaD 19

II. WFH (28 March 2020)

W                                            F                                              H

Worked                                   From                                       Home

Washed                                   Filthy                                      Hands

Weathered                               Free-to-air                               Horrors

Wandered                                From                                       Happiness

Worried                                   For                                         Humanity

Waited                                    For                                         Horsemen

Woke                                      From                                       Haze

Whistled                                  For                                         Hours

Wandered                                Four-walled                            Habitat

Welcomed                               Forgotten                               Hobbies

Web-searched                         Family                                     History

Wished                                    For                                         Health

III. Approaching the Peak (18 April 2020)
IV. The Shape of the Virus (26 April 2020)
The Shape of the Virus
V. Listening (3 May 2020)

VI. Reflecting (8 May 2020)


VII. Pandemic Time (23 May 2020)

still life in autumn

bright grains of sand cease to slip

thru glass blown from sand

VIII. Winter Waves (1 July 2020)
IX. Pandemic Pup (9 July 2020)
Viral Sequence Michael J Leach Poetry and Covid

Michael J Leach

Michael J Leach (@m_jleach) is an epidemiologist, biostatistician, and poet who works as a Senior Lecturer (Education and Research) at the Monash University School of Rural Health. Michael’s poems reside in Cordite Poetry Review, Meniscus Literary Journal, the Medical Journal of Australia, Medical Humanities, the British Journal of Medical Practitioners, GRAVITON, Consilience, Plumwood Mountain, the Antarctic Poetry Exhibition, and elsewhere. Three of his poems have been anthologised in One Surviving Poem: Forty-Two Poets Select the Poem they Most Want to Survive (In Case of Emergency Press, 2019), No News: 90 Poets Reflect on a Unique BBC Newscast (Recent Work Press, 2020), and Still You: Poems of Illness and Healing (Wolf Ridge Press, 2020). Michael’s debut poetry collection – a health-themed chapbook – is forthcoming from Melbourne Poets Union. He lives in his hometown of Bendigo, Australia.


All parts of this poetry sequence were first published in the What I Did Last Week: Online Exhibition by Creative Communities, City of Greater Bendigo, with the exception of ‘Alternative Meanings of COVID-19’, which first appeared in The Galway Review.


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Poetry and Covid-19 ARCHIVE (This website archives the over 1000 poems submitted by over 600 poets, and viewed by over 100,000 from over 125 countries during the Covid-19 pandemic, June 2020-June 2021). Thank you to all who took part in the Poetry and Covid project.

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