Haibun for a sick world

We care nothing for foreign wars, Ebola, infantile diarrhoea, destruction of forests, burning continents. Who even remembers ‘our girls’, or the women and children drowned in a locked Zara sweat shop making cheap clothes for us to wear once, twice, and throw away?
We are content to send thoughts and prayers to the unfortunates who do not have our good luck and wealth to live somewhere safe. But we have grown used to mass death being for other people. We are terrified of a virus that fills our hospital beds, slows our economies and prevents us doing the things we like to do. We make our choices, choose our devils and our witches to burn.
above the cages
geese fly—no sickness
in the free sky



For earthweal.

Published by

Jane Dougherty

I used to do lots of things I didn't much enjoy. Now I am officially a writer. It's what I always wanted to be.

34 thoughts on “Haibun for a sick world”

    1. Maybe I’m not taking our first world preoccupations seriously enough, but it seems to me that most people are complaining about how the covid is stopping them enjoying themselves.

  1. Oh you have made your point so well. I LOVE the haiku at the end!!!!!! One can envy geese these days.

    1. Thanks Sherry 🙂 In the region where I live hundreds of thousands of ‘factory bred’ ducks have been destroyed because of a bird flu outbreak. Of course, wild birds are blames because they get it too. The huge difference being that bird flu affects very small numbers of wild birds because they live, well, in the sky, outdoors, not in prison blocks.

    1. We have it here too. The difference being, that disease rarely reaches epidemic proportions in wild birds because they don’t live in massive hangars where thousands of them are caged one on top of the other.

  2. I’m sure there’s a lot of the nonhuman world which delights to see some suffering for homo sapiens, and cheers that plucky lil’ virus … I’m sorry it didn’t make everyone deathly ill, we might have fought it far better, enlightened by common self interest. But it’s another great or awful lesson in winners and losers. Just how one locale’s climate bane is another’s balm. Free geese in a vastly threatened world is small consolation, for us of course but also for them … B

    1. I don’t know. I think of all creatures we are the only ones who are really vindictive. We are fighting the virus and incidentally other countries are benefitting from the discoveries of the wealthiest countries, but they’ll be last served and only because even the most selfish can grasp that if isn’t wiped out of Africa and Asia, how will we safely be able to go trophy hunting?

  3. ‘we have grown used to mass death being for other people. ‘ I think that is how many people justify sticking their heads in the sand about the existential crisis we are facing. Perhaps they tell themselves ‘it will only affect the third world.’ How we cry when its waves lap at our shores also!

    1. We cry when we can’t go on exotic holidays, when the car showrooms are closed, the restaurants and the clubs. We tend not to cry when some hundred kids in Yemen get blown to pieces. That’s them, there, not my problem.

      1. Yes, and our government even gets rich selling arms to the Saudis which are used to blow up kids in Yemen. And they have the nerve to talk about the importance of human rights…

    1. Thank you. It is a terribly sick world, but so many people don’t even see it. They judge every tragedy by how it affects them personally, how much it stops their enjoyment. Most tragedies don’t touch them at all.

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