Portraits of Corona

And the angels — masked and gloved — performed miracles. Impervious to fear.


In this March 30, 2020, photo from Tampa General Hospital in Florida, two nurses wearing protective equipment look into each other’s eyes. “The Angels braved the storm,” John W. Fountain writes in a poetic tribute to medical workers. “Fought on — wearied and worn. Their souls forever torn. By the ones they lost. And by the ones they won.”

AP Photos

Grim Reaper —

Across these states, doctors orders they are defyin’. But it won’t be long. Soon they will be cryin’. Dyin’. Sickness risin’. Coronavirus lyin’ in wait to claim ignorance that hisses at the lessons of history and science.

Arrogance defiantly spitting in the face of fact and truth and irrefutable proof about this plague that already has claimed tens of thousands of lives. Infecting millions worldwide. Staking its deadly claim like the Grim Reaper. Peace Breacher. Invisible Angel of Death. Irrespective of people — white or black. Or yellow. Or brown.

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Hear the sound: Of a cresting river of mourning. Amid this affliction. Amid this hell storm of sickness that shall inevitably run its full course. With such catastrophic force of which historians will someday write. And generations shall read in the light of knowing:

That in the midst of this global pandemic, even as its deadly winds were blowing. That across these states, doctors orders they were defyin’. But soon they were cryin’. Dyin’. Sickness risin’. Coronavirus lyin’ in wait to claim their poor ignorant souls...

The Saints —

And the preacher said, “Come, for I have heard the voice of the Lord. We have only ‘Fear’ to abhor. Not a mere virus, which shall not penetrate the House of the Lord with its sanctified gates.

“And if, perchance, you should take ill,” the preacher said, “By His blood, I will heal and raise you from corona’s deathbed.

“Never mind you may be feeble, or golden in age. Suffer diabetes, heart disease or be in a cancer stage. That makes you uniquely susceptible to the virus’ rage. Committing you prematurely to your graves.

“Never mind the foolishness of scientists and their worldly advice. Never mind the government that ordered you to stay inside. Shall a man rob God?” The preacher exhorts. “For we are not of this world. In God we trust.

“Come, let us enter into His house with thanksgiving and into His courts with praise. For our God is bigger than Corona. Turn to your neighbor, and give God some praise.”

And so, they came, like sheep to the slaughter. The virus a ruthless marauder. And church meetings mere fodder amid this world pandemic of horror. The “Lord’s house” transformed into a super-spreader — a vector — of infectious disease. That lapped like wildfire, bringing church leadership to its knees. Claiming bishops and pastors, and laity alike. Sending shockwaves through Zion. And bringing to light:

That, like God, the Virus was no respecter of persons. Regarded neither saint, nor sinner, nor foolish assertions.

That lives could have been saved and tragedy averted. If by faith and by wisdom the watchman had only alerted. The sheep. Instead of falling asleep. As the wolf did creep. And the flock, it did eat.

So, in the end, the preacher’s epitaph read: “Here lies a good man with delusions of grandeur in his head. Who didn’t have to die. Upon Corona’s bed.”

Angels —

And the angels — masked and gloved — performed miracles. Impervious to fear. As they sought to heal them.

Shed tears for those whose eyes affixed longingly to these guardian souls. As if they wore halos. Amid laborious last breaths and the encroachment of cold death. As desperate prescriptions and ventilators ceased in utility. And all of humanity gasped at the depravity.

Of an invisible enemy that froze the world in suspended animation. But the Angels braved the storm. Fought on — wearied and worn. Their souls forever torn. By the ones they lost. And by the ones they won.

After the storm had passed, returned the sun. And it was clear that these wingless souls were the valiant ones. Our blessed Angels.


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