Like Monks

By Ed Meek

We find ourselves
in this abyssopelagic zone,
eyes clouded by phosphenes.
No wonder we’re tired!
We can’t see our way out
of this morass
though we put
one foot in front,
the other lags
behind, the syzygy
necessary for the elixir
nowhere in sight.
We hunker down
in our bunkers like monks.
Though we pray for light
To pierce the gloom,
At night we cultivate
Our studies of doom.

As we were all spending a lot of our time alone, quarantining, reading, writing, taking walks, it occurred to me that we were living like monks. The association of the pandemic and doom is pretty obvious. The other aspect of the poem has to do with the use of some unusual scientific terms: abyssopelagic, phosphenes and syzygy. Abyss is from the Greek meaning bottomless. Abyssopelagic refers to the ocean depths. Kind of felt like we were sinking under water. A phosphene is the phenomenon of seeing light without light entering the eye, and syzygy involves a conjunction of opposites. Kind of fun to be able to use those words in a poem.

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Hannah Hunt
Hannah Hunt
3 years ago

Love the words! I pinched the image of monasticism in a poem about obedience to the covid vows (which keep changing…)

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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