Time Is the Measure of Every Pleasure

a coronavirus limerick

by Mark F. Stone

The State took a stand that we practice techniques
to maintain our distance and clean till it squeaks.
But can such a stance
bring a halt to romance?
Perchance we’ll know more in about forty weeks.

First published in Light




to the tune of “Abilene”

by David Martin

Quarantine, quarantine,
It’s a most unpleasant scene.
Governments now intervene
With quarantine, mass quarantine.

Forced to stay at home at night.
People paralyzed with fright.
Something tells me this ain’t right.
This big, bad quarantine.

Quarantine, quarantine.
It’s a most unpleasant scene.
Governments now intervene
With quarantine, mass quarantine.

Ghostly city, once so carefree,
Nothing now to do or see,
How I wish we could be free
Of quarantine, this quarantine.

Quarantine, quarantine,
It’s a most unpleasant scene.
Governments now intervene
With quarantine, mass quarantine.

Trashing the economy.
In the can with our liberty.
Never thought that I would see
Such a strangling quarantine.

Quarantine, quarantine.
It’s a most unpleasant scene.
Governments now intervene
With quarantine, mass quarantine.
Governments now intervene
With quarantine, mass quarantine.


An 1827 Poem by Aleksandr S. Pushkin

Translator’s note: quarantined in Boldino during a cholera pandemic,
but his message is ever so veritable today.

Allow me, in these times of spiritual torment
To offer you, my countrymen,
From my incarceration my best wishes
On this great holiday of spring!

All will pass and all will go away,
Our sorrows and alarm will fade,
Once again life’s road will be smooth
As in the past, the garden will blossom forth.

We’ll call upon our reason to assist us,
To rid this malady with our power of expertise
Thus, these times of profound ordeals and tribulations
We’ll all survive as one family united.

Indeed, we will be purified and wiser,
Not giving in to gloom and fear,
We’ll take heart and draw closer
And be more kind to each other.

May our festive table once again
Be our joy and happiness in life,
May the Almighty send us on this day
A morsel of happiness to each and every home.


Translated by Ihar Kazak©4/7/2020


Original Russian:

Позвольте, жители страны,
В часы душевного мученья
Поздравить вас из заточенья
С великим праздником весны!

Всё утрясётся, всё пройдёт,
Уйдут печали и тревоги,
Вновь станут гладкими дороги
И сад, как прежде, зацветёт.

На помощь разум призовём,
Сметём болезнь силой знаний
И дни тяжёлых испытаний
Одной семьёй переживём.

Мы станем чище и мудрей,
Не сдавшись мраку и испугу,
Воспрянем духом и друг другу
Мы станем ближе и добрей.

И пусть за праздничным столом
Мы вновь порадуемся жизни,
Пусть в этот день пощлёт Всевышний
Кусочек счастья в каждый дом!




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16 Responses

  1. Joe Tessitore

    The platitudes wear very thin.
    We’ll be far worse than we’ve ever been
    When we come out on the other side
    And stare across the great divide.

    This is simply my take on where we are and not a comment on the above poetry.

  2. Joe Tessitore

    Consider, if you want to loose your breath;
    A million unemployed
    for every death.

  3. Monty

    Your limerick is top o’ the range, Mark. What a unique and subtle take on the Corona thing; imagining the less obvious consequences of our house-arrests. Can we expect a corona-boom next christmas?

    If only the poem directly below yours could’ve displayed such subtlety: instead of just stating the obvious.

  4. Joe Tessitore

    I agree with you, Monty.
    I do believe that my best days of writing are behind me, and I use the word “best” advisedly. I probably won’t be submitting much of anything going forward.

    My best wishes to you.

    • Monty

      I was referring to the poem “directly below” Mr Stone’s, titled ‘Quarantine’.

      Your poems didn’t display any such “obviousness”.

      • Joe Tessitore

        Dear Monty,

        I always get it wrong with you. Please forgive me.
        The right is in there somewhere for us, Brother, waiting …

      • Monty

        Another commenter below made the same mistake as you in assuming that I was referring to ‘your’ poems; and in her error she felt sufficiently moved to infer that I was a “swine”.

        But, no harm done . . such things have come to be expected.

    • C.B. Anderson

      Joe T.,

      Say it isn’t so, Joe. You’re just getting started. Everything you write is better than the last thing you wrote. The best is yet to come.

  5. Jan Darling

    I echo CB. I have so recently found you, friend. Not all are swine before whom your pearls are thrown.

  6. Joe Tessitore

    I’ve felt it slipping away from me for a while (if I ever had it in the first place) and I’ve watched the Society’s poetry rise to a level that is well beyond my reach. Indeed some of it is a struggle for me to read (yours included, C.B.).

    Thank you for your kind and encouraging words. They hit a chord.

    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Mr. Tessitore, I’m a newcomer here and it’s poetry like yours that inspires me. It’s engaging, accessible, and is infused with spirituality and wit. Please don’t deprive us of your new works.

      • C.B. Anderson

        And I would add, Susan, in regard to Joe T., that his verse is so natural, and so unimpeded by the inhibitions harbored by many who imagine themselves more sophisticated. He writes with his heart;// therein lies his art. He is artless in the best sense of the word.

    • C.B. Anderson

      Sorry, Joe, and thank you (I guess) as well. Simplicity of expression is not my strong point. Long thoughts sometimes require long words. I won’t modify my natural mode, and neither should you. The SCP (within certain parameters) is a big-tent institution, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Someday, if I’m feeling really cheeky , I might submit some “free verse” just to see what Evan makes of it. I’d rather read good free verse than bad formal verse, but I vowed to myself a number of years ago that I would never write another line of the former. And I try like hell not to write bad formal verse. So far, so good (which is exactly what I say to people who ask, in this time of plague, “How are you doing?”). The spread of rhyme and meter would be a pandemic I’d embrace (without social distancing) wholeheartedly.

      • Joe Tessitore

        I meant it entirely as a compliment, C.B., and Susan is one of, if not the reason that the Society’s level of poetry has risen so very high.

        For me, it really is that I feel it slipping away, and its always been that way for me, as far as creativity is concerned.
        Outlets have come and gone my entire life, like drawing, carving, sewing (believe it or not), and I could go on – tying nautical knots is another!
        People like Joseph and the ballerinas I’ve met -who dedicate their lives to a single pursuit – are a revelation for me.
        I don’t know how young Joseph was when he started, but to have dancers tell me that they’ve been at it since they were five and six years old … well, it really does take my breath away.
        The next opportunity I get I’m thinking about asking Joseph if I could audit one of his introductory classes, if classes are going to be a part of the new world order.
        Might lead to something interesting.

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