By Mandy Meikle

When I heard of anti-vaxxers
I thought they just hated clean carpets
Preferred Henry Hoover’s happy wee face
Sookin’ up stoor and the hard bits.

But no, they don’t like vaccinations
Against diseases from rat, bat and fowl
That let millions of people survive
Living side by side, cheek by jowl.

But how else to avoid nature’s ‘Time out!’
When things get out of control
When Mother Nature reasserts herself
And treats the Earth as a whole.

Lemmings don’t leap off cliffs
That was Disney’s doing
But if there are too many
The strongest will do all the chewing.

Yet now we are nearly eight billion
And all the curves still go skyward
Just use more of everything
By growth we are inspired.

And if a disease runs rampant
We’ll surely find a cure
Because we think we’re worth it
Well some of us are, that’s for sure.

So what of the anti-vaxxers?
How many are willing to die?
They could be part of the solution
A great big paranoid goodbye.

I live on a moor in the central belt of Scotland and have a background in microbiology. I edit the Reforesting Scotland Journal (, and blog occasionally at

Why I wrote this poem: Not sure but I am in a state of perpetual frustration at how dumb the ‘smartest species on Earth’ is. I’m quite new to creative writing and this is the only poem I’ve written which relates to Covid-19.

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Leslie Timmins
2 years ago

Hi Mandy: this is Leslie from Canada enjoying your poem, very hard to believe it’s your first. I like the humour and the problem you identify that we all grapple with during the pandemic — how to relate to the anti-vaxxers who seem so strangely resistant, not to the virus, unfortunately, but to the facts about it. I have a neigbour who is one, a really great mom to her two little daughters, so it’s hard to align that fact with her refusal to get the vaccine, freely available to her here in Vancouver. Well, homo sapiens, a work in progress, that’s for sure…if we can call it progress. Keep writing! I have a few poems on this site, so glad it’s here!

Mandy Meikle
Mandy Meikle
2 years ago
Reply to  Leslie Timmins

Hi Leslie – thank you so much for that! It’s not my first poem, just the only one about Covid-19. I’ve written a few over the last couple of years and I used to have them on my blog. However, I wanted to enter competitions and having something on a blog as often counted as ‘publishing’, which is annoying as so few read my blog – so I took the poems down, for now.

‘Only human’ was my first poem, written in June 2019 and I still think it’s my best/favourite so thought I’d share:

Only human
There’s a phrase going round in my head:
‘The world would be fine if we were all dead’
But surely that’s immoral?
Humans mean more than coral,
or fish, or bees,
or birds or trees…
‘God gave us all the species to use’
To use, perhaps, but abuse?
Life is a circle, you want a line – with an incline
You think that hoarding wealth is just fine.
Humanity has no wealth, no intrinsic worth
without every creature here on this Earth.
So let’s stop the killing,
the mining, the drilling.
The incessant, one-way take, take, take
has to become make and remake.
Time will heal but how much remains?
Tipping points loom, can we shake off our chains?
Can we see though the false stories,
abandon our categories, our laboratories, our territories?
Will we choose a better way to be
or will Nature impose change and watch us flee?
Shit happens.

That last line sounds flippant but so much of what is wrong with the world is because we can’t accept that sometimes shit just happens. Anyway, that’s enough of that! Thanks again for commenting – I’ll look for your poems.

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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