Wednesday, June 17, 2020

WEP June Challenge-Urban Nightmare

It's time for another WEP Challenge. This month's theme is Urban Nightmare. It seems oddly fitting now. Be sure to stop by the sign up post if you want to join in!

This poem is the result of me trying to grapple with the world as we know it. Humanity has been through many times of struggle, and people have been proclaiming that it may well be the end of the world for a long time. And if not the end of the world, at least the end of life as we know it. I can see why people may be tempted to think that way, but I have to hope for something better. Giving in to despair solves nothing.

Poetry isn't my strongest suit, but it felt like the best avenue for self-expression at the moment.

In the Streets

The forecasts of the world’s end
came time and time again.
The end is nigh came the cry,
“You must repent, amen.”
Those dates foretold came and went
and life continued on.
New voices rose as others faded
but people wished them gone.

Then science chimed in with its warning,
but cries fell on deafened ears.
“We don’t trust you!” many yelled.
“You’re only stoking fears.”
The warming planet, depleted resources.
Those in power waved them off.
Changing things would take effort.
So much easier to scoff.

Then the viral threat reared its head,
but it started so far away.
“It isn’t here, no need to worry.
It’s easily kept at bay.”
The spread came anyway, as history
has shown it surely could.
The illness spread like wildfire
before people finally understood.

Soon the streets were empty.
The world fell quiet and still.
Life ground to a halt,
by an act of collective will.
The urban nightmare set in,
as the emptied streets mirrored death.
The end of our lives as we knew them.
We all paused and took a breath.

As it turns out, pausing and waiting
was not as simple as it sounded.
People grew restless and bitter
and the problems compounded.
The allure of life as normal
was too precious to resist.
“The world must open once again.
Life must go on. We insist!”

And as life started to resume
old problems bubbled up.
Lives taken unjustly with no consequence.
More people did rise up.
“We want to change this now!
Listen to our pleas!”
They filled the streets and shouted
While others got down on their knees.

Most took to the streets in peace,
and still some violence reigned.
The message filtered through the chaos,
while many relationships were strained.
Disagreements did abound as talks ensued
about how to fix what was broken.
Ideas did flow through,
but many resentments were spoken.

The world’s ills weren’t visible to all
while others accepted them as fact.
“You can’t fix all of society,” they said
in the hopes of keeping it intact.
Change is painful for all,
but some have more to lose.
Livelihoods upended and lives lost.
Society needs to choose.

Illness rampant and unrest in the streets.
It all seemed too grave to bear.
How can it all be made right at last?
How will we wake from this nightmare?
As buildings burn and tempers flare,
we all forget to listen.
As lives are lost and futures changed
and the mounting tears glisten.

Sickness threatens with a new wave,
while our societal sickness festers.
While it may feel hopeless at times
we must stand up to the jesters.
Scary as the future is
we must work to make it bright.
Life and society will never improve if
good people don’t join in the fight.

Word Count: 465


  1. I hope (so much) that the viral pandemic is replaced by one of kindness and justice. Hope it, but will not hold my breath (blue is not my colour).
    While we all face the same stormy seas our boats are very different.
    Your poem spoke loudly to me. Thank you. 2020 has been a shocker.

  2. That's such an apt description of our times. And could we have ever imagined the world coming to such an impasse. Your poem reflects urban nightmare in its real sense as we see it today.
    Sonia from

  3. Hi,
    I love your succinct descriptions of how you perceive the world at the moment. Most of all I like the resonance of hope that you bring out in the end.
    Great job and all the best and don't give up. There are people with hope out there. I know because I am one of them.
    Shalom aleichem,
    Pat G

  4. So well done. This line "our societal sickness festers" is such an apt description. We need to do better, be better, and learn to take care of each other better!

  5. Simple yet powerful descriptions of the emotions being felt by many. Excellent entry.

  6. You've captured our moment in time beautifully! Well done, may favorite though "we must work to make it bright.
    Life and society will never improve if
    good people don’t join in the fight." So very, very true! And yes this is where my hope comes from!!!

  7. This is a sad story which reflects our sad reality all too well. The poetic form only straightens that impression.

  8. I'm not religious so I don't believe in any sort of end times prophecies. However, if people don't change and stop attacking each other and destroying our planet, I think at some point we will be well and truly screwed.

    1. I'm in the same boat when it comes to end time prophecies, but I agree, what comes may turn out to be a self-fulfilling prophecy.

  9. For a non-poet, Laura, you have dazzled. Yes, the end of the world has been prophesied so many times. True believers have been left standing, waiting, for something that never happened. But I do believe we'll self-immolate one day. I think the pandemic means life will be different to how it was before, but mainly in a good way. Never hurts to be more hygienic etc.

    I guess we write about what we know. Most of your imagery comes from what's happening in the US. Thank God not every country is dealing with such nightmare scenarios. Some countries took drastic action immediately and were in no hurry to lift restrictions. Which has paid off.

  10. Poetry does what prose can't begin - well done! Your poem reflects the situation in your immediate surroundings and sadly, also in my country. Unfortunately not all nations have dealt with the pandemic as well as NZ and Germany have.
    I do hope these events will lead to reflection and course correction. We really need a pandemic of compassion and clear thinking to reset priorities.

  11. A moving piece that encourages amidst dark times. Thank you for sharing this work.

  12. I want to agree with your initial comment about, " Giving in to despair solves nothing." There are days when I despair, but then I reach out mentally and hope. Maybe we're living a disaster that fits our high-tech, fast-paced era. And even if humans destroy themselves, life will find a way to continue.

    Anyway, your poem says this so much better, although you correctly observe, "Scary as the future is we must work to make it bright." You nail what we need to do. It's a non-violent fight I've waged as a Green for decades.

  13. Poetry was definitely the right way to go with this one. There's not much I can say, because it's just so accurate right now.

  14. Love it, but then I love poetry.
    It’s so much easier to get to the punch!!!
    You do this so well. The last line has echoes of Edmund Burke, who once said
    "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."
    Well done!

  15. A very emotive poem encompassing and resonating my feelings at the moment.

  16. You say poetry isn't your strongest suit, then post this? Come on, this poem is fantastic! And you nailed the reality going on everywhere.

  17. It isn't easy to fight for change. I sometimes wonder if the pandemic gave people more time to do just that.

  18. A fantastic poem, that captures the turbulence of the times. Well done.

  19. Hi Laura - I'd say an exceptional poem ... with some amazing prescient lines ... so clever and I'd endorse all the complements set out by the commenters.

    A brilliant poem on life that's been, is and we all hope will be ...
    "Scary as the future is
    we must work to make it bright.
    Life and society will never improve if
    good people don’t join in the fight."

    Really well done let's work together ... congratulations - Hilary

  20. First of all - I found that your poem had a lovely flow and rhythm, despite the dark subject matter. How strange is life right now? We couldn't have made this up had we tried.

  21. Thanks L.G. You echoed my thoughts, feelings and own prose poem, Opt Out. Rest assured that we who warn are fighting everyday with pen and hands on in the mess, relentlessly. We do not want to give up on changing to save our beautiful lives and planet. Maybe Nature , once again, is cleaning up for self-preservation. If our species must go, so be it.

  22. Well done! This is the current moment encapsulated in less than 500 words. And you made it rhyme and gave it cadence. How will we wake up from this nightmare, indeed? I, like Denise, think that we are the architects of our own extinction. However, I believe in hope because without it, there is truly nothing.

  23. Clever use "join in the fight.
    Against all the entries, it is stand alone for it spositivity and hope.