This poem is another in a long series of Covid Warning poems. I think I was partially inspired by watching, yet again, the BBC’s Poirot series, including the one about the Labors of Hercules, which is set on a Swiss mountaintop. A groaning funicular lugs the rather unsavory characters up there, before they are all snowed in with a murderer.
I also habitually check the Covid statitistics, and and despite the low numbers presently, I find the mountain-range-like prospect of the past three years, with so many consecutive outbursts of the virus, to be foreboding. What will be our chances this coming winter?
And of course in Florida I am surrounded by Covid deniers, who embrace Social Darwinism–survival of the fittest– as a way of life. Anyway, please enjoy my toungue in cheek poem, in which an overly enthusiastic conductor of the funicular train up the mountain encourages those on board, despite the obvious dangers ahead.
The Black Diamond is the symbol on ski slopes of a very challenging slope, for expert skiers only. Double black diamond is for pros. Green is the “bunny” slope for beginners, and blue is a gentle slope for those who have skied before but want an relatively easy slide down the hill. The angle of the slope also increases with difficulty. Please let me know, those of you who have skied, if I am incorrect in any of the above. Not much opportunity to ski down here in the flatlands.
Grab your skis and climb aboard!
Funicular of fun:
Where else can you experience
This long Black Diamond run?
This cable car, it carries all,
Both novices and pros,
With no instruction manual,
To warn us, how it goes.
This vehicle will take us to
The latest, greatest peak!
Was Alpha not enough for you?
Is Delta what you seek?
You want the thrill of Omicron,
Last March, with melting snow?
This winter, you shall scale a peak
That only God can know.
Yet once the cabin’s doors have closed,
There is no looking back.
We’ll crank you slowly up the hill
And through the icy pack,
And while you acclimate to height,
Appreciate the view,
Not all will make it to the top.
I’m rooting, though, for you–
Assuming that you packed your gear
And kept it in good nick,
Assuming you are healthy
And assuming you are fit,
Assuming you are well aware
Of hazards in your path,
Responding to them lightening-quick–
But let’s not speak of hazards!
Without risk, there is no fun!
So leave behind your ski mask,
Give it to some lesser bum.
And do not bother boosting,
If authorities advise,
It feels a bit like cheating.
All you need are arms and eyes,
And knees, to rock from side to side,
Careening past each rock.
Just keep your wits about you.
You’ll recover from the shock
Of holding by a thread your life,
While others crash nearby.
What you need now is Focus.
The alternative: you die.
Black Diamond’s not for everyone,
You say? Where is the green?
Where is the blue, more gentle course,
For Grammas, kids and teens?
We do not offer gentle slopes.
There only is the one.
We all go down together and
Not all survive the run.
But you, you will be fine, I’m sure!
Though you have done no prep.
You innocents, without your shots!
You’ll land yourselves in hospital
Three times as oft, and kick
The bucket sixfold, to the one
Who gets the little prick.
But little pricks don’t interest you.
For you prefer things large.
So pile aboard the cable car–
More garbage on the barge–
And ride it to the tippy-top,
So full, the cables groan,
And launch yourself into the air–
For now, you’re on your own.
Copyright 2022 Andrea LeDew
For the reaction of a Floridian to the dips and curves of the North Carolina hills outside Asheville, read Flatlander. For more on Covid stats, read Winter’s Toll and The Five Hundred Thousand (Ironic to have marked that milestone, now that over a million in the US are dead from Covid!)