Two poems about the current outbreak of West Nile Fever in southern Louisiana....
|The Murder Of Crows
The woods becoming filled with sick and dying crows,
the cities playing host to sickened, dying blue jays,
are harbingers warning us this nation is in the throes
of West Nile virus, soon to be famous for its deadly ways.
The fertile delta land of Louisiana leads this country,
reporting most cases, most deaths of this new fever,
which hints of storied days now past when one did see
fevers trim its population, not like a scalpel but a cleaver.
Not so great a killer as these, West Nile virus infects
the birds as natural hosts, is introduced by that vile insect
the mosquito into Man – annoying pest becomes lethal syringe.
Maybe for our having swatted so many of its kin, it’s revenge!
Most infected people show no sign; others only mild aches
and fever. The unfortunate one of a hundred comes down
with encephalitis, the doomed one in a thousand dies, to make
West Nile Fever one of the milder viral fevers around.
It is spreading through the birds, throughout more of our land.
Every summer its area affected increases, the cases among us
become more numerous. Despite our best-made control plan
a new summertime disease is here to stay, the West Nile virus!
Death On The Bayou
I have a sad tale to tell to you.
It happened one summer night hot but clear,
down in Baton Rouge, Louisiana near a bayou.
A man did hear a whiny buzz near his ear
while taking his Corgi for their nightly walk.
This man, a deadly enemy had begun to stalk.
Swatting him away, the man thought "Damn mosquito!"
The mosquito returned to land undetected upon his foot,
then took a blood meal from his big toe.
Because the man had neglected to take the time to put
insect repellent on exposed areas of his skin,
now a scenerio leading to his death did begin.
While withdrawing blood, the mosquito had made a deposit.
Only a few thousand virus particles he did inject,
but each virus soon gained entry into a cell where it fit.
The viruses multiplied hundreds-fold, while the man did not suspect
that these viruses were laying waste to thousands of his cells
since no symptoms yet appeared, their warning to tell.
From a single bite that itched and swelled on his big toe,
viruses spread to organ after organ, finally in the millions numbering.
How was the man to ever have guessed, much less know,
that soon he would be spending his eternity slumbering?
The virus eventually gained entry into the man's brain,
leading to the infection that soon put him in severe pain.
The man awakened that morning to headache, confusion, and fever.
His wife rushed him to the hospital for a doctor's care.
The virus had now produced inflammation and swelling that never
would respond to any treatments that the doctor might dare.
The man quickly worsened, falling into a coma with his family by his side.
"Viral encephalitis" the doctor wrote on his certificate after he had died.
To this day I find it quite extraordinary still
that such a large man, such a tiny virus was able to kill!
**** I invite you to please check out my eleven books: