Poetry submitted by TWiV listeners

Gaslighting (Merriam-Webster word of the year) [2022]

We live in a world of lies
Misunderstandings and deceptions
Making us call into question
Our firmly held conceptions.

Our circular thoughts seek truth,
But there are few straight replies.
That’s what goes on in a world
Of misunderstanding and lies.


Paxlovid is under the tree,
A gift from physicians to thee.
No nostrum exotic
Or antibiotic.
We wish you Peace, Love, and I.D.


“write a poem about viruses in winter”

In winter’s cold and bitter air 
Viruses thrive and multiply
Spreading sickness everywhere
A constant threat to you and I

We wrap up warm to shield from cold
But still the viruses find their way
Into our bodies, young and old 
Causing misery, day by day

Yet still we hope and still we pray
For the end of this dark season 
When the warmth of spring will come our way
And bring relief and good reason

So let us all be cautious and aware 
Of the dangers that winter brings
And do our part to stay healthy and fair 
To protect ourselves and those we hold dear

For though the viruses may be strong
We are stronger when we stand together
And when winter is finally gone 
We can breathe a sigh of relief, forever.

–chatGPT via Jane

April of ’20

The city is desolate
Not a soul outside

I arrive at work
My siren never turns off
The calls keep coming

My tour has ended
The city is so quiet
Except the sirens

Will somebody please think of the viruses?

Though now we are alive
The Final day approaches
They don’t need us to survive:
Bacteria, rats or roaches

But who among the species
will suffer our demise?
Who will carry their pieces
as they mutate, infect and splice?

For they are part of us
And we are part of them
If we’re sharing our genomes,
aren’t we the same?

The less of us there is
the fewer of them there are 
the viruses for whom 
there is no reservoir

And so one day we’ll find
In this humble Earth we roam 
There’ll be no Human kind,
And no human virome

I don’t worry about walruses
or any animal you pick.
I wonder about viruses…
The kind that make you sick


Pandemic Poem #2

Pandemic vaccines rejected, alas,
And the end of the pandemic did not come to pass.
Delta arrived with its lightning hit
Proving itself a variant more fit.

Up and down, up and down went the deaths and the cases
As some of us hid with our masks on our faces.
Others pretended it was nothing at all
As Delta ravaged the nation into the fall.

Vaccine mandates arrived and brought their own strife.
Why fight against something that can save your life?
The days seem dark, yet we’re still looking for light
With science and patience we may yet get it right!


Beautiful today
An ancient, volcano sings
at the old jungle


Variant Vernacular

What is in a name? 
Letter? Number? Location? 
It’s all Greek to me. 

Times Are(n’t) a Changin’ 
Delta means “a change” 
But if you want a game change, 
Look to the vaccine.


The Delta Variant

It may be outrageous
To call it more contagious
But oh s–t
Is it more fit?


“Fifteen Ways to Stay Free of Covid”

“The problem is all inside your head” She said to me
“The answer is easy if you
Take it logically
I’d like to help you in your struggle To be free
There must be fifteen ways
To stay free of Covid”

She said “It’s really not my habit to intrude
Furthermore, I hope my meaning
Won’t be lost or misconstrued
But I’ll repeat myself
At the risk of being rude
There must be fifteen ways
To stay free of Covid

Yes, fifteen ways to stay free of Covid
Just one little prick, Mick
To make you immune, June 
This ain’t gonna hurt, Burt 
And then you’ll be free
Don’t make such a fuss, Gus 
There’s no need to cuss, Russ 
So easy to see, Bea
How to keep yourself free

Just two shots to take, Jake 
Get it while you can, Ann 
Don’t want to beg, Craig 
Just listen to me
You won’t feel any pain, Jane 
It’s part of the plan, Jan
So easy to see, Lee
Two shots and you’re free

She said, “It grieves me so
To see the virus cause such pain
I wish there was something I could do
To make folks smile again
I said “I appreciate that
And would you please explain
About the fifteen ways?”

She said, “Why don’t we both
Just sleep on it tonight
Just understand the virus
And you’ll begin to see the light
Then she jabbed me with her needle
And I knew that she was right
About the fifteen ways
To stay free of Covid
Yes, fifteen ways to stay free of Covid

Just open that vial, Lyle
To get the vaccine, Gene
Just pull up your sleeve, Steve To stay Covid free
There’s no need to snarl, Carl
To whine or to moan, Joan
Don’t be a jerk, Dirk
As easy as can be, Dee
To stay Covid free

Two shots and you’re set, Chet 
It’s part of the plan, Stan
This vaccine’s not a scam, Sam 
Just listen to me
A tiny little stick, Dick 
We’ll do it right quick, Nick 
For you and for me, Bree 
Let’s stay Covid free


We are in the middle of world war 3,
We battle an invisible enemy,
It’s not strong or powerful on its own,
It requires stupidity to get along,
If you don’t follow the simple rules,
You are a traitor,
And collaborator,
You are a disgrace to the whole of mankind,
Be remembered for sense, not COVIDIOT war crimes,
Too harsh you cry, no not at all,
It’s not a game you selfish fool.

A poem inspired by second shot of Pfizer vaccine, to the tune of Mister Sandman

Oh Mister Virus
Oh SARS coe-vee two

Here comes a vaccine
Made especially for you

It’s got the blueprint
Of your spike protein

It’ll teach my B cells
How to wipe you clean

Say Mister Virus
Say Covid-nineteen

You’re gonna get a kick
Like you’ve never seen

When those antibodies
They grab on your spikes

And those big old T cells
Come and make you say “Yikes”

Hey Mister Virus
Hey SARS coe-vee two

What will you do when there are
No hosts for you

You caused a pandemic
Of that there’s no doubt

But human ingenuity
Will wipe you out

— Keith from Minnesota

Mask soliloquy

To be or not to be, that’s the mask question,
Is it nobler to suffer
The slings and arrows of contagion
Or wear a mask against its spread
And thereby end it?

This country puzzles the will
its native hue of intelligence
is sickled o’ver with the pale cast
of anti-intellectualism

Facts. Facts. Just the Facts. 
Fight bad opinions and lies.
TWiV spreads just the facts.

The Wombat 

With apologies to Ogden Nash 

If you ever find a wombat
Please don’t challenge it to combat
Because this weird marsupial
Has really strange poop, y’all.
Somewhere deep down in its colon
Eldritch process do roll on
Pushing, kneading, squishing, squeezing
Stretching, packing, shaping, teasing
‘Till out into the light of day
Pop little cubes of poo, hooray!
So what does Wombat do with that
Little pile where once he sat?
He stacks it up to make a wall
Then hides behind, and makes a call
To lure his prey to venture near
Not seeing that a wombat’s here.
Then out he jumps, hurling poo
At wallaby and kangaroo.
Hurls each cube with such deadly force
That it would stun a full grown horse
And worst of all are those eight corners.
If hit by one, you’d be a gorner.
So beware of cubic wombat scat;
You can’t be sure where Wombat’s at.

–Lind’s physicist husband

In Wuhan’s caves the virus grow
within the bats hung row on row.
They hang by day, and when they fly,
 spread poo and virus from the sky,
 scarce noted by the folks below.

We RNA virus, you know,
don’t live, but multiply and grow,
recombine, mutate and so
As we infect the host.

Take up the task, the spread to slow:
wear masks, wash hands, at distance go!
It’s on you now to fix this mess!
If your vaccines have success, 
We shall then sleep (until the next spillover).

Smiles hidden by masks
Worn by them to protect me
Still light up their eyes

Signs along Route 66
You’ve tried the ultra-violet, 
And bleach straight in your veins.
You’ve tried Aunt Ida’s potions
And hydroxycholoquine,
Ate vitamins and herbals 
til surrender flags you wave,
You likely would do just as well
Ingesting…Burma Shave.

For recording, editing and posting this week in virology, kudos to Vincent Dracon-yellow,
Some say he’s grumpy but i think he’s frustrated and upset, none can deny he’s a jolly good fellow.
He talks scientific sensibilities through the crisis of confusion,
He can make and take a joke and meets guests with inclusion.
Dixon is a fountain of knowledge but graciously admits when he is wrong,
This is a credible advantage of all the team and shows you are strong.
He has a silly insistence of sticking to old skool fahrenheit
Just because in Texas he can say it’s 100 degrees to give us a fright.
He loves to go phishing probably with spam as the bait,
But he will get caught up in his own line, just you wait.
At the moment this poem is not very long
With many more characters, one day I’ll make it a song.
–Danny Cool

My new friends at TWIV
You have helped me live
And experience a smart life
Every week during this pandemic

so lucky am I
and lots of others
to hear such
intelligent discussion
has this medium
made all of us somehow
I do think that this is true.

I am just a doc
A cancer doc
Who rarely thought about virus
Until the last months

I don’t still quite understand
The endemic EBV, HPV, and VZV
And probably many others

I knew that I needed
to learn more about virus
and then I found TWIV

lots of Comfort in hearing
thoughtfulness from all of you
very nice to be learning lots again

So smart and inquisitive you are
Vincent is the leader

He is a new-day Socrates
And with his questions
i hear his kind style
He brings out the best in all

The youngest of the group
A smile so sweet
and with deep interest insight and spirit
Drew, .edu is a rhyme in itself

No need to smile
Never dour or sour
Lots of experience and perception
Of what really matters

He understands that there is a difference
Between what we can do
versus what we should do

Kathy is sometimes quiet
But when she speaks
Her ideas are profound
Each moment that I listen, I wait for her insight

So here I am
In central Massachusetts
New virtual friends and colleagues
I am very thankful for your TWIV project

We will survive.
–David Shepro

Haikus will describe nature.
Covid’s not man-made!
–Sam Matthews

I know they say you’re not alive.
But we see your power.
We acknowledge your undeadness.
So will you please stop trying to prove your worth?
–Brianna Bibel

I am grateful for the air I breathe
The water I drink
The food that I eat
The phone that I use
The software it uses
And brain that uses it
I am grateful for nature
The beauty in trees
The complexity of leaves
The life around me
The humans and bees
The circle it creates
Of love and of hate
The green that feeds squirrels
And the hawk that cause peril
The bricks of my front porch
They shelter my torch
That I to enjoy smokes
For the people that make them
And the by product of phlegm

Thank God that phlegm is still Corona free

Mask mandate? Abomination! If we don’t draw the line, soon the government will be telling us we can only drive on the right-hand side of the street.

–Brooklyn Waife

Age of Lost
They called them corona- for their magnificent crowns of spikes
The epithet was appropriate- it came as a conqueror targeting vice
From age to infirmity to race to poverty to genes
A syndemic that tore all apart from the seams
It came from Wuhan, or so it goes,
Onward to France, Italy, Spain, and Korea it grows,
As bars stayed open it bred and blew and brought
The US’s surrender, they scarcely even fought
Don’t test, that’s how it finds you. the president bleated
But our people, they are dying! echoed countless entreaties
But Atlas shrugged.
They promised more drugs.
But what test was best? ID now?
No, no! There was a row.
PCR was the way! But what of that number?
Calling Ct = 40 positive may well be a blunder.
Ground glass and plasma filled patients’ lungs
As SARS-CoV-2 ascended up the rungs
Alongside its rival H1N1, it was surely evil
How could it not be, with all this upheaval?
In truth, it was lost, spilled over by accident
Yet how could it not, with our ways so intransigent?
Fauci warned in Cell, the end this was not
More viruses would come en masse by the lot
A hurricane of cytokines, the storm raged
IL-6, TNF-alpha, IL-8 fully engaged
And bulldozed germinal centers, missing, absent
The follicular helpers, stuck in plasma
And then hypercoagulation
With platelet degranulation
It’s not over. Keep masking
When will it end? all keep asking
We marched on the environment, persisting to encroach,
And still, and still, this remained beyond reproach.
Cells, virus, lives, jobs- so many lost.
Yet we cling to hope, despite mounting cost
–Edward Nirenberg

There once was a book on virology,
Which one year became dire-ology.
Coronavirus circulated, the President he got it,
Except for his docs, he might have bought it,
and now he ‘mune til maybe June,
by when most hope he is outta it.
–Robert Lynch

Pandemic fears rise
Hope and trust in science, we fight
To see dawn alight

Information Inoculation
Many dead, and more to come
Turn the corner? Words so dumb
Simple measures we can take,
Protection for another’s sake
Wear a mask, prevent the spread;
A virus not just in your head
Move afar and stand away,
At a distance from my spray.
Wash your hands, inform the masses
We can triumph, as time passes.
For those that choose not to obey
The facts and science I shall say;
We fight for all, including you
Say goodbye, SARS-CoV-2
–Brian Reiss

What will the antibody response be
For your vaccine currently in Phase 3
Blocking access to ACE2
Like a good immune response should do
Or will it enhance infection via the Fc?
–Cheryl Guyre

“Hi! My name is Corona.
When I was a child
I loved my home
It was inside a bat.

But overtime I grew up
and traveled to inside
a human.
Growing up I was different
My brothers and sisters
They always made fun of me—
So I was excited to adventure off
and move
inside the human.

When I got arrived,
to my surprise
all the cells looked like me!
I was truly shocked!

The white blood cells
were so nice to me,
but the killer white blood cells
were not so nice
they were picky about everything!

Around my bedtime
I became hungry,
so I found some yummy grub
(it was the human’s lung!).

The next day I was swimming
inside the veins
and when I went back to the lungs,
the White blood cells were working hard
to repair the lungs I just ate!
I did not know why!

I went for a drink,
taking a walk through the body
and the killer white blood cells asked if I would like something to drink.
I said yes!
And was happy
they gave me some tea.

(By the way, it was delicious!)
But I slowly started
to feel not so good:

Day one:” cough, cough”
Day 2: I really don’t feel so well
Day 3: “I think I am dying”!

I was sad because
I loved my new home
and wanted to make a family.

Day 4: Goodbye world. Don’t drink the tea… tea … tea…”
–written by Dani Dias 11 year old daughter

The COVIDIOT (a parody of Edgar Allan Poe’s The Raven)

Linking google scholar queries, I grow frustrated and weary
Debunking myths that I have gone over a million times before.
Still, I try make it through, but I have better things to do
Then argue and debate with you, you who has never listened to me before
“They’ll listen this time,” I hope, posting articles which they can’t ignore.
“The data wasn’t this good before.”

Quoth the covidiot, “I need more.”

Then you ask me to explore an article over which I pore.
“This is proof of a grand scheme, politicians are running everything!”
Not so fast, I do exclaim, this article is really lame.
It has confounders galore: with just Plaquenil, the outcome’s poor

Quoth the covidiot, “I need more.”

I know you think you are immune, but it was only back in June
That so-called herd immunity was impugned, talking to you is a chore.
I thought you might have got a clue, but your new “proof” has an N of 2!
Masks are not an evil plot, interpreting science can be taught!

Quoth the covidiot, “I need more.”

Then the denier does present, a letter from the president.
“The pandemic’s over,” he does proclaim, “everything is normal again.”
But cases and hospitalizations rise. Can’t you believe your own eyes?
We’ve gone over this many, many times before.

Quoth the covidiot, “I need more.”
–Amanda Galiano

SARS-CoV-2 a novel coronavirus
It’s the one trying to get inside us
Infected droplets, slimy goo
Protect yourself is what you need to do
Wash your hands, wear a mask
Do as Doctor Fauci asks

SARS-CoV-2 is the bomb
Came out just in time for Ramadan
With the help of aerospace
Running rampant through the human race
A hundred thousand flights per day
Stay in Wuhan, hell no way

SARS-CoV-2 is spreading fast
The world’s economies are starting to crash
New therapies and treatments are what we ask
Everyone in the world should wear a mask
An efficacious vaccine we have the need
Hope it works, Operation Warp Speed

SARS-CoV-2 is wreaking havoc
Across this land that we inhabit
A thoughtful discussion is just great
Based on science, hold the hate
Double blind studies may give us a clue
What works for Alice might not work for you

SARS-CoV-2 the information is so immense
Thank you This Week in Virology for making sense
Vincent, Kathy and Brianne too
Rich, Dickson, and Alan round out the crew
Let’s not forget Doctor Daniel Griffin
In COVID-19 he has a new mission
-Leo Dikinis

Covid is changing my life
In ways I never thought my life could be changed
I don’t like this pandemic at all
I miss my friends
I miss being able to go places
I miss eating at restaurants
I miss seeing my family
I miss going to school
I don’t want to have to wear a mask
I don’t want to have to stay at home
But we have to
To save lives
I just wish it would end
–by Sara Moore’s 14 year old son

Viruses know not
How much their host they disrupt
They just replicate
–Jeffrey Bohn

SARS-CoV-2 (i):
With a protein coat on your RNA
And a crown.
You taught us a lesson. Will we forget?

SARS-CoV-2 (ii):
With subgenomic RNAs.
Is the race to make a vaccine.

SARS-CoV-2 (iii):
Proofreading to reduce mistakes.
Will you get milder,
Like your other four sisters?
–Alexey Karetnikov

Found TWiV on a lark
Got hooked, that’s an arc

Dare I speak for we “justs”
to say TWiV’s a must?

We love how Rich says “Dude”
or when Vincent’s in a mood

We live for Brianne’s infectious laugh
and Dixson’s occasional gaffe

We’re wowed by Kathy’s celsius conversions
and Alan’s shameless pun perversions

I’ve listened, I’ve learned
(I’ve had time to burn)

Here’s my summary look
I really hope to win that book:

Moody viruses
are happy or sad

Farts aren’t infectious,
for that we are glad

Monkees exaggerate
and mice lie

TWiV gives the facts

–Marissa Kalman

Corona Masks
She wouldn’t
She didn’t
She couldn’t
She isn’t
–Karen Cunningham

Team TWIV, citing data compelling,
the SARS-CoV-2 story’s telling.
Just don’t cite “Dr. Trump.” He
will make Vincent grumpy,
and soon he’ll begin Racanyelling.
–David Clements

(Apologies to Fred Rogers, “Won’t you be My Neighbor?”)

It’s a virus-filled day in the neighborhood.
Another lousy day in the neighborhood.
Just stay inside.
Don’t go outside.

It’s a pandemic across the U.S.A.
That makes it impossible to play.
Just stay inside.
Don’t go outside.

I’ve always wanted to live in a neighborhood like this.
One where you can’t shake hands and never kiss.

So let’s wash our hands every day.
And wear a mask when we are away.
Just stay inside.
Don’t go outside.
You can’t be my neighbor.

Never outside.
Stay inside.
You can’t be my neighbor.

The Virus made most of us cautious.
Safe distance and masks were quite obvious.
But Trump and his crew
Denied all so we knew
That we must vote him right out of office!
–Robert Kreuger

It does not live, too minimal to be an animal
It drifts at random, in search of a Kingdom
Any will do, it has to be just right
For it to show it’s invisible might

From humble beginnings, easy to squash
Until new tidings allow it to smash

So puny it tries a small foothold to beget
Ignored, dismissed by the oblivious many
In a few it gets entry and without regret
Initiates cleptomancy, resources to get

Grief and sorrow grow unabashed
Graves without pity amassed

Sacrifice promise respite for a while
Greed shows it’s teeth to Doom all
Because we couldn’t thwart the vile
Is now worldwide what had been small
–Pedro Ferreira

Preaching scientific fact,
Endless banter but does not detract.
Do not allow the paranoia to fester,
All mutations are near negligible, ask your professor.
Now listen up, this is for your protection,
Try not to confuse the virus name with the infection.
It needs to be said, I don’t want to be mean.
Call it SARS-CoV-2, not COVID-19.
-Andres Martinez Perez

my office has said goodbye
through the fog a friend in twiv
aerosol are not?
-Aaron Cabral

No love or flowers
In the Year of the Pandemic
Quarantine we must
-Michael Lamb

Some viruses can make us sick,
and some can make us strong.
We never seemed to mind too much
till Covid came along.
Into our homes,
behind our masks,
our future is quite vague.
Let science be our beacon now,
to guide us through this plague.
Let Science be our beacon now
To guide us through this plague
-Jen Fallon

A doghtre was the odd lot drawn
Fle fro pryme tender of a blue veiled sonne.
Wook loose and cruel
Lorin goggled dragoons
Goon for feere in even files.
Wary of hir hote ascensioun.

Abreiden hir sweostors araisen
Ayen manteled garnisoun particles
“Exil the dette of ignoraounce
Flemen the hasardors
Areste abusioun”
-John Klinkenbourg

Don my PPE.
Check for coronavirus.
Are cells infected?
-Melissa Ly

There was a young virus from bats
That knocked us to our mats
Experts ignored
Principles deplored
Time to update the virus texts

Alternate last line:
There was a young virus from bats
That knocked us to our mats
Experts ignored
Principles deplored
I hope it spares our poor cats
-Charles Fischer

Limerick 1:
An ID doctor named Cyrus,
Had some words of advice on the virus.
Politicians: too vague
On stopping this plague,
If you want it to end you should hire us.

Limerick 2:
Our president is a debauchee,
Who is mean and vindictive and grouchy.
His political state
Would be so much more great
If only he’d listened to Fauci.

Limerick 3:
A young Hawaiian named Mona,
Said while self-quarantining in Kona:
“Antibodies are neat,
A vaccine would be sweet,
I have gotten so tired of corona.”
-Michael Richardson

Caught between the very, very small and its vast implications,
We have all changed our focus:
Dread and hope meet resolve or doubt,
Find courage or suspicion,
Unity or division,
Patience, panic, love and hate,
Leave us all to look in a new mirror
Some looking to cross bridges, reaching out across the field of human knowledge,
Patient with misunderstanding,
avoiding premature judgement
Waiting to follow the tracks of truth as they appear…
Some still jumping to conclusions, over-optimistic
Or too scared to think,
Fingers in ears, blindfolds on,
Insisting again on using the same tools of thought and behaviour-
and we know what that means…
And others with their eye mainly on the prize and the symbols of success.
Meanwhile, those accustomed to being born, living
And dying amongst constant threat,
Must surely look on this spectacle
And wonder…
One thing is for sure:
When the resolution changes,
New visions will emerge
-Janet Yates

Are they worth a poem ?

For those who know’em

The ins and outs, the whereabouts
The hidden crowds of Covid clouds
The deadly beauty of nature’s design
Proven to be all but benign.
To study and learn it’s mechanical thrust
It’s certain path a determined must .

On the other hand !

A No

For those who spend and count : The cost .
Of all lives lost .
the misery mounting,
a faceless defeat ,
Not a Trace and treat,
as one would wish ..
Where friends and foe meet to cancel repeat.
No victory there ,no crown to wear
and mean

-Johannes Van Sloun

There was a man who felt CoVID fears were inflated
Wearing a mask left him agitated
His symptoms he had a lot of
He was PCR positive
Instead of quarantining he isolated.
-Brian Schuell

COVID 19 in 20
2020 the year of hindsight.
Or is it insight?
We are tested multiple ways
-Leslie St Jacques

a xylophone chimes
as we discuss strategy,
virtual meetings
(Haiku by Trish Bright, an Epidemiologist and TWIV groupie)

Pandemic prophecies
Pandemic snafus
Pandemic prognostications
Pandemic blues
Pandemic rags upon our faces
Pandemic six-foot-distance spaces
Pandemic truths
Pandemic lies
Pandemic politics
Pandemic flies
Pandemic loneliness
Pandemic alliance
Pandemic expertise
Pandemic science
Pandemic vaccines will come at last
And this pandemic
Will be in the past.
-Eugenia Lange


Nocturnal winged mammal
Flung flying into dark
Fifty million years before
H. sapiens
made any mark

What the hand?
What the Power?
Hour upon interesting hour

TWIV & Immune
More fav pods
Love virology & science
the rest can go to the dogs

Transmission, Virulence
Hendra, Nipah, & Polio
All of these are well known
to Prof Racanyellio

Oh Ribo Nucleic Acid
Anything but placid
Species jumping opportunist
A viral balloonist?

Hey Lil Dracs dangling quietly in your caves
Now Cometh billions of hungry Sapiens
to your naves!

RNA Five Carbon Sugar
Zoonotic spillover
Not so unknown

Reservoir host?
bats are the most

O Ancient winged mammal
Flying into night
Evolving Panoplies of Coronas
A Spike
-Sherrill Erickson

SARS-CoV-2 certainly was
The newest member of its kind.
It just takes a hero who has
Open eyes and an honest mind.

He told the truth and helped the world
Prepare for what is coming next.
Although neither was he ill nor old,
He ended in eternal rest.

Not all is bleak though, let me say.
Despite the ever-rising waves,
Vaccines of spike and science made
Will end the lockdown-ridden days.
-Igor Starinskij

Leaves turn red and fall
Counts rise – like never before
Fight this together
-Alexander Jordan

There once was a virus named SARS-CoV-2.
It’s time in bats was mostly hidden from our view.
Then it jumped into humans,
Settled into some lumens,
And completely changed the world that we knew.
-Joyrell Thompson

Calling Time

Silently the cherry tree comes into flower
In silence, except for the puzzled birds
Their songs come clear
Through the eerie quiet

No trains, no planes
The police helicopter, grounded for now

Sirens of the ambulances
Not needed, through these empty streets
I hear

The silent air is purifying

Ozone layer healing

Some deserts greening over

Canals in Venice running clear

Is Nature calling Time?

Drink up, it’s late

You had your chance, it’s over

Careless of Life, it’s time for you to go.
-Nancy Blake

SARS-CoV-2 Sestina
Dear Coronavirus,
Welcome to the human realm. I hear you’re new
to these parts. That you’ve traveled some distance
to be with us today. Do you need a nap? A map? A live
host to settle into? You’ve leapt from world
to world. I bet you’d like to catch your breath.

Years ago we met a pathogen who really took our breath
away. Influenza, type A. Quite a virus,
I recall. Maybe you know her? She toured the world
on her first trip. You plan to, too? We knew
you might. (We hoped you’d not.) Like you, we want to live
long, happy lives, we want to go the distance—

so please forgive us if we choose to keep our distance
from your cruel spikes—your stunning crown, I mean. Breathe
in, breathe out: that’s our fuel, that’s our life
force. It must be different for a virus—
because you’re not alive, you say! Of course. I knew
that—I forgot. Still, you’re a wonder of the living world,

an animate inanimate—right now the world’s
most ruthless replicant, too small to see. Like your distant
cousins—dengue, hanta, variola—no longer new
to us, but no less clever, shared silently by breath
or blood or bite. Such stealth you have, dear virus,
such superb contagious skill. But since you have no life

to live, I have to ask: Why are you here? To change the lives
of living things? To teach us? To undo us? We have a world
of questions. Will you answer? A novel virus
doesn’t visit every day, and most are so aloof and distant.
It’s true. Well, I won’t waste my breath
on them. I’ll just say that very few can spark a new

pandemic, steal every headline in the news,
halt our hearts and turn our lungs to glass. Our lives
depend on your arrest, I’m sad to say. We’ll all breathe
better once you’ve passed. Is there no mercy in your world?
How could there be? You have no distant
friends you miss, no fear, no death. You’re a virus

that’s gone viral, a wily rival not alive.
A piece of bad news—keep your distance!
A world enveloped, borne on breath.
-Allison Dubinsky

2020 yearns
Extraordinary Year
COVID-19 fears

CMCO blues
Extraordinary You
Optimism rules

Grateful we all safe
Appreciation We show
Family and Friends

Future come what may
Extraordinary We
Together We fight
-Eng Keong

Twenty Twenty
In sharpest focus and darkest year,
Through rake division and election smear,
Screw this infernal pandemic storm.

Yet from news new hope is born.
Those who did not think of Ockham’s razor,
now ponder capsids, vaccines and saviors.

It has ever been an attention game.

SARs CoV2 may be that grace
to sharpen minds on a common race.
Post CoVid dreams lies climate change.
There 2020 will not seem so strange.

It has ever been an attention game.
-Tim Smith

There was a young virus from bats
That knocked us to our mats
Experts ignored
Principles deplored
We need more tests that are RATs
-Charles Fischer

The conquerer
That brought humanity
To its knees, stole their air, until…
-Mariela Rivera de Jesus

There was an old gal from Duluth,
Who wanted to find out the truth.
Mass media failed,
But science prevailed,
Not wearing a mask is uncouth.
-Viki McFall

In a world of lies
I wonder why it is so hard
To listen to truth.
-Sneha Sundar

My girlfriend caught me looking at another woman I told her I was old not dead.
Alabama highcoup II
Fog settles we find Misinfo and ideas
Deadliest virus
-Ferrell Tad

tREX to tRUMP Hike coo
Let’s talk about bridge
All suits have equal value
When there is no trump
-Ferrell Tad

In the midst of a global pandemic
One country’s response was pathetic.
The White House was awash with Tweeters
When they should have been TWiV’ers.
The election results are proving to be cathartic
-Hunter Lang

SARS-COV2 came last December
Put everyone in quarantine
It may stay with us forever
Causing a disease named COVID-19

“The virus came from China”, some insist
“China-virus” “Chinese-plague” the Clown rants
Some believe it’s “Fake News”, “Doesn’t exist”
But experts know it came from bats

To avoid it, practice physical distance
“stay 6 feet away, wear a mask”, you should listen
It’s about your health, your own existence
Because this virus damages the respiratory system

How do you know all that? some ask, “Is there a link?”
Oh, yes, I listen to “This Week in Virology” every week
A Podcast “Countering a miasma of anti-think”
A Podcast “All about virus, the kind that makes you sick”

With TWIV I learned about ACE, and spike protein
TEsting TRacing ISolation
Receptors, virus attachment, entry, and vaccine
RNA, PCR and mutation

Thanks to TWIV, I have knowledge, I am smarter
Thanks Condit, Spindler, Despomier, Dove, Barker and Griffin
Thanks Vincent, the show host, a world-class researcher
Be grumpy, be skeptical, keep on Raccanielling. “
-Cris Andersen

First Signs of Life
By Gerri Leen

In spring, we’ll get back to
Real life, and meet again,
Our faces unobscured
By triple layers of particle
Repelling fabric—or so some think,
Not understanding the science.
So far, the vaccines are
Protective, not sterilizing,
Which means those who’ve had
It won’t get sick but they will
Get infected, will be contagious.
They’ll still be wearing masks
And this time it will be for others
Not for themselves.
Will they do it? Will they have a
Somber spring while the rest of
Us wait?

And those of us not on the front line
Not in nursing homes or school children
Will be waiting a long time to
Get the shot—and then the booster
(It’s going to take two shots for
Most of these vaccines to be fully
Effective, so cut the estimate of
People who will get protected by half)
Spring will come and go
For many of us, as others feel the
Threat of this disease, of hypoxia, of
Hypercoagulation, of death like drowning
Pass away, and they will play in the
Warming sun while we watch from
Behind glass, in envy yes but also with hope.
These early vaccine recipients
Will be like the daffodils and tulips.
Brilliant after the gray of winter,
Pushing through late snow, even—indomitable.
A sign of better things to come,
Of life renewed—or at least…restarted.

A virus that slipped from an unlucky bat,
Leave many now fearful of a maskless chat.
Where’s science communication?
To help this great nation,
Oh right–TWiV delivers just that.
-Pablo Alvarez

To the tune of CCR’s Bad Moon Arisin’.
the sarsCovid toll ain’t arisin’
the virus ain’t spreading fast
Denialist propaganda multiplyin
pandemic in the past
Don’t wear a mask ir social distance tonight gather in large groups it’ll be alright
The US sarsCovid toll ain’t on the rise
Trump says fire doctor Faucci
who needs the voice of sanity
put a 100 monkeys in a Room with test tubes
they’ll eventually come up with a cure for everythin.
-Ferrell Tad

SARS-COV2-y (with apologies to Lewis Carroll)
Twas covid, and the aerosols
Did spread the virus far and wide:
Pandemic yielded high death tolls
As obese old-folks died.

“Beware the SARS-COV2, my son!
The spike proteins, the RBDs!
Beware Great Barrington, and shun
5-G conspiracies!”

He took his mobile phone in hand;
Downloaded contact tracing app.
And what is more, his mask he wore,
Held on by rubber strap.

The R-value is two point five,
We need to get it less than one.
What we must all do to survive
Is emulate Taiwan.

Attenuated, Subunit,
Vector, or RNA vaccine?
What drug to use? The wise don’t choose

“And hast thou slain the SARS-COV2?”
“Not yet, but we can do this task!
Test ev’ry day: lat’ral flow assay!”
He answered through his mask.

Twas covid, and the aerosols
Did spread the virus far and wide:
Pandemic yielded high death tolls
As obese old-folks died.

Alternative verse 2 (less political, more virological:)

“Beware the SARS-COV2, my son!
The spike protein, the RBD!
Beware Ebola, too, and shun
The influenza B!”
-Lawrence Greaves

Science Sails
And Prevails

Our seaworthy vessel
Piloted for profit
The captaincy-wrestle
Crew helm-less to stop it

Buccaneer amidship
Blustered into power
Pirate commands flagship
Morale begins to sour

Proud ship steering off course
Freebooter is the master
Tyranny with fake force
Corsair courts disaster

Floundering on the rocks
Covert night contagion
‘Captain’ denies and mocks
As crew fight invasion

Uninformed opinion
As truthful as a lie
Fear becomes a minion
To work against whats right

Here’s Science, worth its salt
Steps up and takes the helm
Repurposes revolt
Bringing sense to the realm

Science rigs the sail fast
Science becomes first mate
Science strengthens main mast
Of the ship of state

Science gives the order
Stand hard and come about
Unity from disorder
All crew raise a shout

Deep waters are unfurled
Stately ship sailing true
On course for a new world
Navigating the blue

And if the captain strays
And cannot stay true course
Shout “Do what science says!
It’s wisdoms one true source.”

Science coda…

Peer-reviewed for sanity,
P-hacking not a risk.
Beholden to no vanity,
No sacred cows persist.
-Barry Thomas

The Vyrus

Vyrus Vyrus, binding tight,
To our tissue day and night;
What immortal hand or eye,
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

And what bellows, & what wants,
Could twist thine host’s primed response?
A gentle furnace, why require
Such sight unkind, a storm of fire?

Whence thy bloom, pressed to select
A deathless force to infect?
What dread hand? & Who to blame?
As thou on parting, spark host to flame.

What the template? what dread grasp,
As breath gives way to final gasp?
Did she smile her work to see?
Did she who blew Spirit make thee?

Vyrus Vyrus spiking tight,
To our tissue day and night;
What immortal hand or eye,
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

(Adaptation of The Tyger, William Blake 1794, and limited to 18th century vocabulary.
cytokine storm => “sight unkind, a storm of fire”)
-Peter Brooks A musical piece written to this is in Bolcom’s Songs of Innocence & Experience (Grammy).

Dr Fauci, our hero, is he….
His wisdom, Mr Trump did not see…,
So here’s to a bat…
Wave good-bye MAGA hat!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Wear a mask and much safer we’ll be….!
-Rich Doering

The Dead Cabbie
They throw in Patient X, to rot
Uncoffined – from his gurney:
His landmark is a parking lot
Broken, unused, burning;
While Pfizer stocks are bought
Each night above his journey.

Cabbie X never did suspect –
Fresh green card in hand
That coughing passenger was to eject,
a virus from foreign land,
and why he caught from lungs’ reject
strange particles amid the bland.

Yet portion of that unmarked lot
Will Cabbie X for ever be;
His leaden chest and glasslike rot
Grow to some statuary,
And strange-eyed politicians plot
His economic benefit, eternally.

A poem by Barb Green with a nod to Thomas Hardy

In the year twenty twenty a pandemic occurred
It’s just like the flu. Our leader assured
But the virus, it traveled
Our plans all unraveled
Much like the TP we stocked

Entire countries shut down
Do not roam around town
Or you risk the exposure
To this deadly spillover
The experts, they were not shocked

It jumped from a bat
Then to humans – like that
COVID-19 was the name
Lung destruction the game
No cure, no vaccine, and no pill

For a moment,
the world,
stood still.

As the virus was spread
Doctor Fauci, he said,
“Bend the curve, do your part.
Wash your hands for a start.”
NPIs really do work

Please do us a favor
And be a lifesaver
Stay at home was the task
Social distance, wear a mask
Come on… don’t be a jerk

But some people began to get tired
Maybe the Deep State conspired
They cried out, “My autonomy!”
We must save the economy!
Spreading germs is my God-given right!

And as our leader continued to lie
Thousands and thousands continued to die
Pseudoscience was touted
The guidelines were flouted
We were all ill-prepared for this fight

Hydroxychloroquine, anti-maskers
Conspiracies, anti-vaxxers
We won’t listen to science!
Ignorance, non-compliance
The cases didn’t just climb, they soared

With bed capacity exceeding
And our leader misleading
The numbers are booming
A dark winter is looming
Please help us! The nurses implored

We must vote in the coming election
And defeat this fatal infection
We’re rounding the corner! Our leader, he said
Two hundred and fourty thousand Americans dead
Cast your ballot and fire the dope

So as Covid exploded
America voted
A new future, new day
And vaccines on the way
Now maybe there’s a glimmer of hope
— Chelsea Harem

There is a Columbia PhD
Whose podcasts are great as can be.
And his Racanyelling
And Giving-them-helling
Is delightful to TWIX-ers like me!
-Suellen Stockblower

Feeling ‘manic‘ during this pandemic
Sanity; fading
Happiness; deflating
Suffocated by stupidity
Herd-like rigidity

Whatever you do, just cover your face

For I am sick of this confounding place
-Kitty Kat

Million maskless march
Viral before it begins
Spreading so surely.
-Ferrell Tad

As Broad Crises Deepen,
Everyone Feels Good, Hopefully.
I’m Just, [Kindly Leave My Name Out Please].

Quarantine, Restrictions So Tire Us.
Viruses, Wildfires, Xenophobia, Yikes!
-Tuomas Karkkainen

A pandemic poem
In a galaxy called the milky way,
There is a planet in a special place,
Where the fragile building blocks of life,
Supported the existence of the human race,

In a perfect balance of give and take,
Humans evolved and thrived,
In an ecosystem with every other organism,
Small and big, dead and alive,

But their brains grew, and so did their greed,
Soon their natural enemies were few,
They invented weapons, machines and medicine,
Nothing could stop them, their numbers grew.

The balance was disrupted, the planet cried out,
Deafened by abundance, they couldn’t hear,
The giving was forgotten, faded in their minds,
Taking, driven by arrogance and fear,

Their intelligence was unprecedented, they thought,
But pride comes before the fall,
The irony of the story is, that the simplest creatures,
Were the downfall of them all,

And the balance was again restored,
A fragile equilibrium returned,
The human race was never to be seen again,
Their remnants buried and burned.
-Caroline V Knudsen

You lifeless multitudes of life, asleep
Inside protein packages, acid nucleic
With whom terror, discovery in creep
Borne to us on swift wings pandemic

Shall I rejoin the throng with near-spent quills
Describe the horrors of bats torn from caves –
Or maybe blame lay on poor pangolins?
Not I! Let me laud the rest of this maze:

Bacteria, archaea, eukaryotes, too
Their presence graces with infectious fray
And many a virus, seemingly through,
Within us shall harmlessly dormant lay

But less would we know, chaos would hold sway
If not that wondrous tool – plaque assay!
-Aleksandra Plaga

SARS-CoV-2 was taking a huge toll
Fauci said, wear a mask for control
Science denier Trump
Unlike Vinnie the Grump
Perfected the picture of a maskhole!
-Helen Ferry

The year of 2020 has been an odd one, if truth be told.
It has made us think, it has made us fear, and for some, it has made us old.
We try to play nice, we try to play fair, and heed advice with an open heart,
But misinformation, for many it seems, has become something of a special art.
Let’s twitter this and twitter that, propagate memes from me to you.
I liked and shared it, didn’t you see? Therefore it must be true.
The words that we dislike the most are the ones that end in –emic
Epi- soon turned into pan- and then, oh help me, came polemic!
Words are flying and tempers are roaring, all while the case rates soar,
Politics is taking over and, really, it’s become something of a bore.
It’s November now and look around – things still really aren’t that fun.
We haven’t conquered, we haven’t won, in fact we’ve only just begun!
So as the season closes in, let’s try to do our best –
Let’s be friendly, let’s be thankful, and be considerate of the rest.
Our planet with its communities is a truly beautiful place,
And I know I can protect it, because up my sleeve I hold the ace –
I’ll wear my mask, I’ll close my door, and keep myself locked behind.
It’s for your health, not just for mine, this is the truth, I think you’ll find.
~ Katy-Jane Shanak, 11/19/2020

Travelling’s over
no drinking in bars
Waiting for testing
while sitting in cars
It’s no longer safe
to be in the room
Visiting grandma,
so now it’s just Zoom

The pandemic curve
mounts wave after wave
With hospitals full
of patients to save
I must tell the kids
they can’t go to school
Very few people
know masks now are cool

There’s others who feel
the end could be soon
With ways to ensure
the herd is immune
It means just a bit
of COVID-19
Versus the waiting
until a vaccine

To wish for the virus,
that’s just insane
We don’t want it all,
just binding domain
It may take some months
til we get the news
Various options
from which we may choose

There’s one viral vector
that you may like
With a deletion
that makes room for spike
If not effective
there’s still plenty more
(Vaccine was saline
if you are not sore)
-Armand Sprecher

Covid-19 Pandemic Poem By Joseph Stukey
It appears originally from a bat Sometime in the not-to-distant past
A quasi-life form that
Jumped a new host That could spread it the most
Via all the world’s people, living mountains to coasts

Early data was fuzzy and uncertain at best People sick with pneumonia, and lacking breath
It’s identity assessed
A virus with crown The causative agent was found abound
Requiring everyone to hunker down

The virus was named SARS-CoV-2 Similar in shape and genetics to
First SARS but new
And with a disease Called differently Covid-19 you see
Was causing much illness and fatalities

We listened to doctors Fauci and Griffin Two smart scientists and ID physicians
With the mission
To keep people well
Told us directly, truthfully, didn’t try and sell An easy way out of this pandemic hell

But in America, big man, immune Proudly promised it’d be gone very soon
But at high noon
With cases increasing
His guidance was wrong, strange, or lacking
Left people confused between freedom and masking

A chatty but crack science-based team TWIV podcast experts in Virology
Implored all could be
Well and safe
Just mask, wash, maintain your space And together make the virus a trace

I seek now a ‘sweet deal’ with this submission My best effort in an alien competition
Writing in repetition
To win a prize
A Virology tome by that grumpy guy TWIV’s Racaniello and his author allies

In the dreary darkness of winter
As 2020 began,
A terrible pandemic
Spread throughout the land.

Caused by a tiny virus
Way too small to see,
It was the dreaded successor
To the vanquished SARS-CoV.

Cleverly named SARS-CoV-2
The only name that could inspire us,
It was the fifth member of the family
Of the human betacoronavirus.

They studied how it made us sick
And how it did its killin’
It enters our cells via the Ace-2 receptor
With the help of neuropilin.

Its symptoms are many and varied
Some people lose their hair,
While others lose their sense of smell
And struggle to just breathe air.

Soon conspiracies raged across the land
Some said the virus was made in a lab,
Others said a microchip
Would be present in the vaccine’s jab.

Where could we turn to hear the truth
To fight this conspiratorial stink?
The answer is we listen to TWIV
As they counter the antithink!

We learned a new vocabulary
Words strange to you and me,
Like “sequelae”, “ELISPOT”, and “IL6”
And “coagulopathy”.

We listen to TWIV’s weather reports
And the science they are tellin’
We enjoy the banter and the facts
And of course, the Racan-yellin’.

We learned antibody levels fade with time
A fact that had us worried,
But Brienne reassured us all
The memory B cells would not scurry.

We listen and learn from the interviews
And the answers to listener emails,
We listen to Dr. Daniel Griffin
Update us with clinical tales.

And so we wait for a vaccine to end this
And ask “Could it happen again?”,
Alas it’s not a matter of “If” or “Whether”
It’s only a question of “When?”.
-Robert Ach

Deer Mice!
I might need your advice,
We can go to the opera twice,
If you promise to not tell me lies…

Will you give me a sign, Deer mice,
If you happen to have in entrails
Something interesting pathogen-wise,
That will cause human T-cells to lyse?

Or perhaps you could drop me a hint,
What’s the next biggest thing
Life is going to bring
After this epidemic subsides?
-Alexander Tarkhov

And so it begins again,
The background lament of the ambulance wails
Breaks the peace of the night sky,
Once again.
It didn’t have to be this way.
We didn’t have to return to this place.
And yet, here we are again.
Leaving our doors ajar for the Grim Reaper
To make an unwelcome call.
It didn’t have to be this way,
Not after all that we endured to get here,
Yet again.
-Alessandro Rosa

Shall I compare thee to a new vaccine?
Thou art more timely and more desired:
Rough winds do shake this gloomy autumn scene,
And summer’s hope hath not yet transpired.
Sometime too sore the injection sites burn,
And often with some redness and swelling;
Head aches and joint pains will sometime return
With fever, fatigue (and “Racan-yelling!”)
But thy immune system works hard for thee!
Ev’ry B-cell and T-cell now is made
To save your life – so very dear to me –
That death not brag thou wander’st in his shade.
Embracing science and technology,
We’ll have vaccines, and these give life to thee.
-Mike Flanagan

For recording, editing and posting this week in virology, kudos to Vincent Dracon-yellow,
Some say he’s grumpy but i think he’s frustrated and upset, none can deny he’s a jolly good fellow.
He talks scientific sensibilities through the crisis of confusion,
He can make and take a joke and meets guests with inclusion.
Dixon is a fountain of knowledge but graciously admits when he is wrong,
This is a credible advantage of all the team and shows you are strong.
He has a silly insistence of sticking to old skool fahrenheit
Just because in Texas he can say it’s 100 degrees to give us a fright.
He loves to go phishing probably with spam as the bait,
But he will get caught up in his own line, just you wait.
At the moment this poem is not very long
With many more characters, one day I’ll make it a song.

–Danny Cool

Data do not lie
It is not “Racanyelling”
To think critically


My new friends at TWIV
You have helped me live
And experience a smart life
Every week during this pandemic

so lucky am I
and lots of others
to hear such
intelligent discussion

has this medium
made all of us somehow”
I do think that this is true.

 I am just a doc
A cancer doc
Who rarely thought about virus
Until the last months

I don’t still quite understand
The endemic EBV, HPV, and VZV
And probably many others 

I knew that I needed
to learn more about virus
and then I found TWIV

 lots of Comfort in hearing
thoughtfulness from all of you
very nice to be learning lots again

 So smart and inquisitive you are
Vincent is the leader

 He is a new-day Socrates
And with his questions
i hear his kind style
He brings out the best in all

The youngest of the group
A smile so sweet
and with deep interest insight and spirit
Drew,   .edu is a rhyme in itself

No need to smile
Never dour or sour
Lots of experience and perception
Of what really matters

 He understands that there is a difference
Between what we can do
versus what we should do

 Kathy is sometimes quiet
But when she speaks
Her ideas are profound
Each moment that I listen, I wait for her insight

 So here I am
In central Massachusetts

 New virtual friends and colleagues
I am very thankful for your TWIV project

 We will survive.


I guess I’m chopped liver
that thought makes me shiver


I’m also left out, how crass
Central once again forgets Western Mass


There once was a podcast called TWIV
They put papers and facts through a sieve
Is it true? Is it fake?
Is it oil of a snake?
If we listen, perhaps we will live!

— Ann

Since, in vitro, spike affects neuron cells,
And made rats not feel pain quite so well,
Might reducing pain in rat toes
be what’s going on in your nose?
Is this why folks with Covid can’t smell?


A tsunami of virus washes over the land…
Clinging to scientific truth some are saved!
Others drown holding on to rocks of ignorance.

–Wayne G

Informed Trump, Knew The Truth, Deadly Virus.
Miracle Hope, From A Dope, Lied To Us.
We Must Now, Remove The Dolt.
So Get Out, And Go Vote.
Do It Now, No Delay, Protect Us.


Alabama highcoo.
What’s the difference
Ignorance and apathy
I don’t know, don’t care.


There once was an anti-masker,
Who was also an anti-vaccer.
He got Covid-19 and was never more seen!
And nobody missed the damned bastard!


Rac-an-yell on, please!
Testify, TWiV, your beliefs;
The truth must have teeth


Couldn’t leave the bed.
I coughed, alone and so scared.
TWiV was my lifeline.

Masks are cool
Just wear one, don’t be a fool.

Before you speak of your rights
Just remember those who lost their fights.
Those who wake up drenched in sweat
From days of torture they can’t forget

They found forms to write their wills
In case they succumbed to all their ills.
Cried out for someone to be there
When they walked too far and gasped for air.
For those who qualify for financial benefits if infected
But false negative tests left them rejected.

They found forms to write their wills
In case they succumbed to all their ills.
Cried out for someone to be there
When they walked too far and gasped for air.
For those who qualify for financial benefits if infected
But false negative tests left them rejected.

For long hauler patients
Who long ago ran out of patience
Whose doctors denied that something was wrong
And they tired of hearing that same song.

Please wear the mask
It’s not just for me that I ask.
It’s for others not yet left with lasting ick
From a virus… the kind that can make you sick.


High sensitivity makes PCR tests seem the hero
But the accuracy of a test which you can’t get is zero!


So many false facts
Nowhere to turn, so confused
Then TWiV cleared the fog


New Zealand was virus free
It came back suddenly
This thing came from bats
Could it now be in cats?
Plausible hypothesisee?


There twice was a virus named SARS,
The second of which closed the bars,
Some said it’s just flu,
But the rest of us knew,
It’s a serious pain in the arse.


Fauci the Doctor
Won’t lie for the President
He deals with the facts


There Was Once A New Virus Plight,
That Proved Our Politicians Not Bright.
They Listened To Heads Phony,
Not To The Very Wise Tony.
And Now We Are In A Terrible Fight.


Sampling each other
Stochastic subunits form
Metastable cores

The virus
Scattered seeds dormant
Inert til host encountered
A life redefined


COVID-19 clouds
Can only be dispelled by
The sunlight of TWIV



Today I trembled
at the ways I touched, not yours
but my lips, eyes, nose.


We social distance
Vinny and the gang do too
To stop the ‘rona


There once was a Dr. called Fauci.
He deems America’s Covid response quite slouchy.
He advocates isolation and testing is the rule
While implying that Trump is a fool.
This makes our ‘emperor’ quite grouchy.


Ever since this pandemic occurred
Out from our own homes we have been lured
Symptoms are varied
Doctors are harried
This damn virus is one right bastard

Government choices
Poor black brown deaths more often
Is it genocide


The rain of truth,
leaves now shimmering…
Washed clean!


There once was an HSV virion
Who found home in a lady’s ganglion.
She was late to observe
And it got on her nerve
Now ’till death she will have a companion.


There once was a germ from Kinshasa
Who desired to be bigger than Lassa
He stayed south of Euphrates
Until came the 80s
Now he integrates here to Mombasa

‘Twas the night before tenure review, and all thro’ the city
Not a creature was stirring, not even Vinny
New papers were hung by the chimney with care
In hopes Science, Cell, or Nature would soon pick theirs
The postdocs were nestled, all snug in their beds
While visions of funding danc’d in their heads
Ma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap
Had settled our brains for a long winter’s nap
When out in the lab there arose such a clatter
I sprang from my bed to see what was th’ matter
Away to the NEIDL, I flew like a flash
Tore open vacuum locks, and threw on my mask
The moon on the breast of the new fallen snow
Gave a plaque assay’s lustre to objects below
When what to my wondering eyes should appear
But a miniature sleigh, pulled by eight viridae
With an old driver, so lively and quick
I knew in a moment, that it must be St. Dick
More rapid than a trout jumps, his followers they came
And he whistled and shouted, and call’d all by name
“Now! Picorna, now! Toga, now! Arena, and Flavi
“On! Bunya, on! Corona, on! Astro and Reo
“To the top of the sequencer, and the Great Polio Wall!
“Mutate! Mutate!, Mutate away all!”
As lab techs and postdocs, before tenured faculty fly
If they meet with an obstacle, they just want to cry
So to the bench-top, the coursers, together they flew
With the sleigh full of phages – and St. Dickson too
And then in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing, of each little hoof
As I drew in my head, and was turning around
Down the chimney, St. Dick — he came with a bound
He was dress’d all in fur, from his head to his foot
And his clothes were all tarnish’d with dye stains and soot
A bundle of Dick’s books, was strung on his back
And he look’d like a peddler, opening his pack
His eyes – how they twinkled! his dimples how merry
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry
His droll little mouth, was drawn up like a bow
And the beard of his chin, was as white as the snow
The stump of a pipette, he held tight in his teeth
And mist encircled his head like a viral capsid wreath
He had a broad face, and a little round belly
That shook when he laugh’d, like a bowl full of jelly
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf
And I laugh’d when I saw him, in spite of myself
A wink of his eye, and a twist of his head
Soon gave me to know, I had nothing to dread
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work
And fill’d the stockings with his sixth edition book
And laying his finger aside of his nose
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose
He sprung to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle
And away they all flew, like the down of a thistle
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight
Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night


There once was a virus name Vincent
Who appeared to all as innocent
But as it turned out
As it floated about
It mutated into something magnificent


Shares science knowledge for free
Help him with some funds


Cellular Reception

Out of my comfort zone
lifelong learning meets danger, even death,
I study Vincent Racaniello’s
Virology 2020, Lecture #2
The Infection Cycle.
Vince from NYC’s Columbia
outlines important definitions –
it will be on the exam, he warns.
But auditing the course on YouTube
makes me immune
from the exam ——- not the virus.
Resistant cells have no reception
Susceptible cells are necessary but not sufficient
Permissive cells are necessary but not sufficient
Infection troubles multiply
when susceptible is also permissive
and replication exceeds sufficiency
at human costs beyond my comprehension.
Disney World shut down but that doesn’t
our world from being
a small, small, world.


Non-living they are
All obligate parasite,


viruses are dead
(s)he said still nucleotides
to live make you sick


Vectors gently buzz
The standing water conceals
A hidden danger

The Zika virus
Supportive therapy sucks
We need a vaccine

Mosquito vector
Single stranded RNA

Coughing and sneezing
Even more offensive, the
Fecal oral route


Now that I’m inside,
Retroviral integrase,
Keeps me here to hide.

Boy, here comes Aedes aegypti,
Unfortunate vector flies by,
Fevers, yellow or dengue,
Chikungunya’s a bad way,
Now we watch as Zika draws nigh


All those interested in science
On Sunday they are in compliance
They wait for the show
That makes our minds glow
The world has a viral alliance


My virus of choice is phi-11.
I studied S. aureus U1 and their brethren
With this phage on your side,
you’ll transduce til you sigh
and say “cloning with phi is like heaven!”

A close second, though, would RESTV,
even though it gives me the creeps.
Cause I lived in Arlington
not so very far (ling-ton)
from this virus that threatened DC


A baby’s first virome can be very complex,
with a lot of vaccines to digest,
A sigh of delight
Then a sneeze at night,
And it’s off to the doctor we go


There once was a vet who loved cats,
As well as science, microbes, and rats,
A PhD she did start,
In virology (not Art!),
And now in third year she is going bats!


There once was a virus named Zika,
Whose effects we so rarely did speak of,
but she came to Miami
threw us into a clammy,
Now all Zika abstracts are “on fleek-a”.