2 November 2020

Two weeks and counting here I be
In clutches of the CCP

I don’t delight as I once did
In birthday presents, cards, and quid,
But my two darling angel-girls
Served me with functionary pearls
That bode delightful memories
Unlike what came from overseas
And self-opened in two days thence
When grave afflictions did commence.

I ached and coughed colossally
And passed my gift to others, three.
For days I chilled and sweated sore
And thrice I thought my throes were o’er
Only to falter and fall prey,
Each time, to deeper disarray.
My oxygen capacity
Was mitigated grievously.

My darling wife of many years
Obeyed her educated fears,
Conveyed me to the ER place,
And handed them a Covid case.
While her Wu-Flu had run its course
Mine hit my lungs with robust force
And now pneumonic sewage rests
On alveolar foliage nests!

My Birthday Bash greets me each day
With gasps for oxygen. I pray
My God for solace as I lie
Upon my patient bed, descry
No progress toward the asymptote
Of health. Now I can’t even vote!
Instead I’m wallowing in ash
Of my unwelcomed Birthday Bash!



Jeff Kemper has been a biology teacher, biblical studies instructor, editor, and painting contractor. He lives with his wife, Sue, in York County, Pennsylvania.

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8 Responses

  1. C.B. Anderson

    I trust, Jeff, that the symptoms you describe are poetic inventions. If not, then get well soon. I especially liked “asymptote,” which indicates a limit that can be approached but never reached (in finite time). It’s funny, isn’t it, how we draw from all the far corners of our education to inform the metrical demands of our lines. That’s what makes this job fun. Someday, perhaps, I’ll tell you about the only time I was ever in York, PA. As a native Pennsylvanian myself, it amazes me how little of that state I have actually visited.

    • Jeff Kemper

      None of the symptoms described were “poetic inventions.” They may have been embellished but only a bit. I’m back to normal, after a six-day stint in the hospital, complete with sundry treatments. And, by the way, I finally had the chance to vote on 3 November, the day after I wrote the poem.

      I look forward to a conversation about York, PA.

    • Jeff Kemper

      Thank you, Margaret, I will check out the link you provided. I’m back to 99% healthy.

  2. Theresa Rodriguez

    Many thanks, Jeff, for sharing your Covid-19 story with us in such an engaging way. I learned something new with “asymptote,” thanks to C.B. (and an internet search)! Best wishes for your health and recovery!

    • Jeff Kemper

      Funny, how at my age health is an asymptote that I’m approaching but will no longer quite reach, but I try in many ways to make life’s experiences fun. Thanks for your wishes!

  3. Susan Jarvis Bryant

    Jeff, I’m sorry to hear of your plight and I’m so glad to hear that you’re better and that you managed to vote – let’s hope your vote counts!

    The poetic side effect of your dreadful experience is admirable. I particularly like, “And now pneumonic sewage rests/On alveolar foliage nests!” – I never in a million years thought I’d hear those words in a poem – spectacular! We would all have been robbed of those inspired end rhymes if you hadn’t suffered for your art – thank you, Mr. Kemper! Stay well!

    • Jeff Kemper

      Thank you, Susan. After the fact it usually seems worth it to me to have preserved the memory in verse.


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