Friday, November 6, 2009

Poetry Friday: The Flu

Is anybody else having as many swine flu conversations as I seem to be having? I know several people who are struggling with whether or not to have their children immunized. I'd roll my sleeve up in a heartbeat if the vaccine became available. I'm too old for the nasal mist, and apparently there are not enough shots for even those folks whose health puts them at risk for great complications. I guess my only defenses are to keep washing my hands and then crossing my really clean fingers.

I'd like to offer The Flu by J. P. McEvoy for Poetry Friday. It rings as true today as it did when it was first published in 1919.


by J. P.  McEvoy 

When your back is broke and your eyes are blurred.
And your shin-bones knock and your tongue is furred,
And your tonsils squeak and your hair gets dry,
And you’re doggone sure that you’re going to die,
But you’re skeered you won’t and afraid you will,
Just drag to bed and have your chill;
And pray the Lord to see you through
For you’ve got the Flu, boy,

You’ve got the Flu.

When your toes curl up and your belt goes flat,
And you’re twice as mean as a Thomas cat,
And life is a long and dismal curse,
And your food all tastes like a hard-boiled hearse,
When your lattice aches and your head’s abuzz
And nothing is as it ever was,
Here are my sad regrets to you,
You’ve got the Flu, boy,

You’ve got the Flu.

What is it like, this Spanish Flu?
Ask me, brother, for I’ve been through,
It is by Misery out of Despair,
It pulls your teeth and curls your hair,
It thins your blood and brays your bones
And fills your craw with moans and groans,
And sometimes, maybe, you get well —
Some call it Flu — I call it hell!
Today's Poetry Friday is being hosted by Elaine at Wild Rose Reader.


Mary Lee said...

Perfect!! Good reminder that history does indeed repeat itself, even when it comes to the flu!

Diane Mayr said...

I find it odd that after the unbelievable toll of the Spanish Influenza back in 1918, that anyone could have a sense of humor! Where did you find "The Flu"?

Andy said...

Slams of Life

I Googled "flu poetry" which brought me to Elfinspell. I Googled over to Slams of Life and was able to read the poem in its original source. (See page 67 at the link above if you're curious.) When I get a few minutes I'm actually planning to go back and browse through the entire book. It looks to be a snapshot of a certain slice of 1919-era American life.

Mur said...

The poem is a wonderful reminder of why I got my flu shot last week. It's been a while since I've experienced the flu but I remember that it hit FAST. I went to work in the morning feeling fine and by afternoon I was dizzy and had a fever. I felt as mean as a Thomas cat. (Love that phrase.