Elizabeth Hancock Reveals Eyam Plague Village, poem by Jordan Trethewey at Spillwords.com

Elizabeth Hancock Reveals Eyam Plague Village

Elizabeth Hancock Reveals Eyam Plague Village

(the Original Case for Social Distancing)

written by: Jordan Trethewey



Reverend Mompesson is right.
It is easy to blame George Vicars,
for ordering the blighted bolt of fabric.
A silent curse on his freshly-filled grave.

Hands shovel, sweat, and blister—
Alone, I cover my sixth child of seven
this week behind a low, stone wall.
Husband no longer of Earthly use.

In death, as in life, he lead the way.
The first laid to rest
along modest memorial row
near Riley House Farm.

Villagers left standing—
now caregivers squeaking panic,
festering like rats
under command of the pulpit:

“Spare your fellow man!
Keep cloistered, dear Eyam,
this pestilence too, shall pass.
We will meet our neighbours again

on the other side.”
I spit on the tailor’s grave
daily at the designated hour
for pick-ups and drop-offs

at Mompesson’s Well.
Replenish vinegar
to cleanse payment coins,
retrieve food and medicine.

“Children! Bury your own
during these bubonic times,”
the new reverend pleads
during Cucklett Delf open-air worship.

“Do unto others…” the rector begs.
No one objects
isolationist orders from a man
who just entombed his wife.

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