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Camus The Plague

The Plague

Albert Camus wrote The Plague,
which I want to re-read this week
(now that the frogs, the lice,
and the locusts are upon us)
because his hypothesis is
that the bubonic plague
has broken out in Algeria,
in the coastal town of Oran,
in the 1940s. The plague
he has in mind is bubonic,
the Black Death of the fourteenth century,
which killed a third of Europe.
Fleas from infected rodents transmitted it.

In The Plague the bureaucrats muddy things,
it’s a false alarm, says one, and let’s not call it
a plague but an unusual type of fever.
Lots of plagues in history, yet each comes as a surprise.
The will — the competitive desire to live
while others are dying — is most intense in a calamity.
Nine months from now more babies will be born.

3 / 15 / 20

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