By Gregory Bablis
Written Tuesday 15 June 2021 at Tol Station, Sinivit LLG in the Pomio District of East New Britain Province whilst recovering from malaria and still under medications.
Malarial Death Games
I’ve battled you most of my life
In health, I am winning
But damn you give me so much strife
When your death zone I’m entering
Warmth leaves my body
Like a soul unmooring from its host
The flashes you give are hot yet chilly
I feel half human, half ghost.
Hot or cold, I cannot tell
In the night and in the day
I’m freezing my ass off in hell
No time for work or play
Oh such vivid, beautiful dreams you give
Of loved ones, joy and sorrow
Testing my will to live
Die now or live another tomorrow.
My head is in the clouds
Whole body writhes with aches and pains
The fever does Lucifer proud
Must make it quick to the clinic
To get on medications
There’s no time to panic
Health worker hurry with the bloody prescriptions!
Now I’m doing fieldwork in Tol, Pomio
At a WWII massacre site
I think of soldiers and others affected by the war
And how many back then suffered a similar plight
Did they have easy access to Chloroquin and Penicillin?
Medicines to stave off the delirium
Or were they left at the mercy of malaria’s chagrin
To rush them off to Elysium.
Tis already a paradise we live in
But some things I wish the tropics had not
Like the mistress of Satan
Yes, Anopheles, I wish you’d leave our lot
Try as I may to avoid thee
With long-sleeved clothes, nets and sprays
Your nocturnal games and puny size is your best strategy
To shorten my long-lived days.