(Is a spoiler warning necessary for a book as old as The War of the Worlds? I don’t think so, but you are warned, anyway!)

Thinking about the virus, I remembered the end of The War of the Worlds, where bacteria are our best friends, defeating the Martians. It’s a great passage which I thought I’d post, although I’m not so sure that there are no bacteria on Mars? ‘Our microscopic allies’ does seem a strange phrase in the current climate, but it makes total sense in terms of the novel.

And scattered about it, some in their overturned war-machines, some in the now rigid handling-machines, and a dozen of them stark and silent and laid in a row, were the Martians—dead!—slain by the putrefactive and disease bacteria against which their systems were unprepared; slain as the red weed was being slain; slain, after all man’s devices had failed, by the humblest things that God, in his wisdom, has put upon this earth.

For so it had come about, as indeed I and many men might have foreseen had not terror and disaster blinded our minds. These germs of disease have taken toll of humanity since the beginning of things—taken toll of our prehuman ancestors since life began here. But by virtue of this natural selection of our kind we have developed resisting power; to no germs do we succumb without a struggle, and to many—those that cause putrefaction in dead matter, for instance—our living frames are altogether immune. But there are no bacteria in Mars, and directly these invaders arrived, directly they drank and fed, our microscopic allies began to work their overthrow. Already when I watched them they were irrevocably doomed, dying and rotting even as they went to and fro. It was inevitable. By the toll of a billion deaths man has bought his birthright of the earth, and it is his against all comers; it would still be his were the Martians ten times as mighty as they are. For neither do men live nor die in vain.

HG Wells The War of the Worlds

War_of_the_worlds_illustration_pearson
Warwick Goble

Tiny quick lassos
flung out by coronaboys —
all virus wrangled

PS Cottier

wild-cow-boy

What is the appropriate attitude to this virus? Although it is obviously serious, humour is sometimes necessary as a survival mechanism, particularly as we’re not able to go out so much.

I had a dream about nanobots, and turned that into coronaboys. Like cowboys, but fully wee.

He’s alive!

April 12, 2020

Jeroni_Jacint_Espinosa,_maria_Magdalena

Coming back to normal civil society after the virus has made us all keep our distance will be a mini-resurrection, I think. Personally, I intend to frequent a great many establishments that serve whisky, and go to the gym. Because nothing says normality like dead-lifting with a hangover…

I stole that title from Wordsworth, of course. I was out for exercise yesterday, and noticed how many birds there are in Canberra, particularly sulphur-crested cockatoos and corellas, with lots of young birds begging to be fed.

corellas

The sun was out, and I found myself plainly happy, totally forgetting about coronavirus for a short while. Of course, just for a moment, and soon it was back to skirting around any other walkers and cyclists. I felt almost guilty for feeling so good, thinking about the many older people stuck inside, and the crew of the cruise ship Ruby Princess still confined aboard, and, of course, the people who have died from the virus.

The hundreds of dogs so delighted that their owners are home so much more now have no inkling as to the virus, and I envy them their lack of knowledge.

My mind wagged
my thoughts spaniels
licking the air

We are lucky that we can still get out and stroll around here in Canberra for necessary exercise, and even buy a takeaway coffee, and observe the natural world that reaches right into suburbia. Helps keep one relatively sane.

Tuesday poem and story

March 31, 2020

Both via link this time. One is to the Microflix festival, where my story ‘Makeover’ is one of the selected texts that someone may decide to make a film from: http://microflixfestival.com.au/2020/03/11/makeover-by-ps-cottier/ .

The other is to Not Very Quiet, where my poem ‘…scribbles, comments, glosses (annotations), critiques, doodles, or illuminations’ can be read. This one is about people standing (or sitting) at the side of history. https://not-very-quiet.com/2020/03/30/scribbles/ A recording of it may be posted too. Recordings are there in lieu of a launch, which was originally scheduled for last night, pre-virus.

artist at work