Monday, 3 August 2020

Poetry Monday: Masks . . . And Funnies

It's Poetry Monday, and this week's topic is ..... MASKS.

Join Diane, MotherOwl, Mimi, contributors in the comments, and me, as we cover this topic. (Cover. Get it? Okay, okay! I'll move along.)

You can leave your poem in the comments, or post on your own blog. If you do the latter, please leave a comment so we can find you and your poem.

Use the topic, or choose another. You may also share a poem by another author if you wish. Have fun and exercise your brain cells :)


Are masks mandatory yet where you live?

In my home province of Nova Scotia, last Friday was the first day they were required in indoor public spaces.

Confession:  I've had a bit of difficulty getting used to wearing one.

It came as a surprise, actually. I'd worn disposable paper masks when my dad was hospitalized for pneumonia in the last weeks of his life. It wasn't what I'd call fun, but it wasn't terrible, either.

But the first time I tried to wear a cloth mask, I felt short of breath after just a few minutes, and after twenty minutes I finally had to remove it. (Don't worry, I was at home, just checking to see how it would go.) The light-headed feeling stayed with me for about a half an hour afterward.

There were several reasons why this might have happened. It was a hot, humid day. Even with the air conditioning, it was just barely comfortable inside our house. The mask was two layers of soft cotton (rather than smooth quilting cotton, which is recommended) so it seemed to trap the moisture in my breath. Also, I have asthma, which makes it harder to breathe in humid conditions.

So I made a second mask, of quilting cotton, with only one layer. That might be cheating; I don't know. But I'm slowly getting used to it. And I figured it was better than not wearing a mask at all. And soon I will try a two-layer mask again. The weather will be cooling off here a month from now, and that should also help.

In the meantime, I go out as little as possible. I keep six feet away from others as much as possible. And I am thankful our province brought in the mask rule.

Here's my entirely predictable take on "masks".


Not To Put Too Fine A Point On It

Wearing a mask is
The right thing to do
It saves you from me
It saves me from you
Cover your air holes
Prevent the germ's spread
Working together
Will mean fewer dead


Whoa! Kind of blunt at the end there, huh?

Time has been short here. I bet you can just tell.

But there has still been time to look at lolcat memes.

There's always time to look at lolcat memes.


I hope you all have a safe and happy week.

Next week's topic will be ...... DREAMS.

Thank  you for the great topic, Diane, and good luck everyone :)


Elephant's Child said...

Love your funnies.
Masks are not (yet) compulsory here, though some stores/businesses demand them. I have trouble with them. They make me claustrophobic and I often fog my glasses. Small price to pay.

dinthebeast said...

I have a package of N95s that I haven't opened yet, and will use for things like the upcoming trip to the doctor down in the valley where there is quite a bit more covid than up in these hills. For trips to the grocery store I wear a bandanna that makes me look a little like a bank robber.
So let's see...

That afternoon at the college
When Marcel Marceau without using props
Put on hundreds of masks one after another
The last a wordless exploration
Of metaphorical death
I never thought we might one day
Rely on those props he didn't use
To try and stave off actual death.

-Doug in Sugar Pine

Charlotte (MotherOwl) said...

Short and to the point.

Yorkshire Pudding said...


Like The Lone Ranger
I represent the danger
Of failing to discover
The essence of the other
Peeping out through eyeholes
Little more than spyholes
On a world
In which
I never quite
You only had to ask -
I’m the man behind the mask.

Andrew said...

That was a severe ending, but why not. It is true. The third cartoon really got me. Indeed the ship has sailed already.

37paddington said...

I had to experiment with different masks to find the one that felt bearable. Yes, we are still wearing them in NYC except if we eat or drink in public, which is happening more and more, with restaurants turning their entire dining rooms onto the sidewalks and even into the street. Such strange times.

Red said...

I can not get used to masks but wear them. They fog up my glasses and when I take them off the hearing aids go flying. Masks are not mandatory here. They are mandatory in Edmonton and Calgary.

Steve Reed said...

Masks do take some getting used to. Our house is on a hill, and when I'm walking home from the grocery store I always have to take my mask off, because climbing the hill carrying groceries is IMPOSSIBLE with a mask! (By then I'm outside anyway so no big deal.)

Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe said...

No one wants to wear a mask, but, unfortuantely,it is necessary if we want to stop the spread.

I have all kinds of masks, including one with a picture of Fauci that says,"BACK OFF". I seldom leave my house and yard so I have not had to wear one on a regular basis. When I have, it is uncomfortable, especially in this summer heat. Wearing a filter inside it, for some reason, seems better to me. However, to save lives, mine included, I think everyone should wear one in public, even if you are distancing.

Marie Smith said...

I hate masks
But what can I say
We’re stuck with them.
‘Til Covid goes away.

SpikesBestMate said...

A great little poem, Jenny. Here in the UK we now have to wear masks in all shops - a heavy fine if you are caught without! However, in my town this afternoon most people were only putting on their masks when entering a shop; in the streets - forget it! Over here it seems that confusion is the current byword and everyone is interpreting 'the rules' as they see fit. So of course, the R rate is on the increase again. Our Library re-opened to the public today for '20 minutes browsing time'. The public had to sanitise on entering the buiding, wear masks, and were recorded in and out. The staff were handing out reserved books with no gloves and no sanitising, and no masks. ???? Our PM is slowing down the easing of restrictions and 'the elderly' "may be asked to remain at home again". I'm sure that by next Monday everything will have changed again.

SpikesBestMate said...

Following recent references to haikus on this blog I mentioned writing haikus to a friend, and she introduced me the clerihew - a form of short nonsense verse. You can find out what a clerihew is and how to write one at the following two sources:

So here is my contribution to the Mask challenge - a ‘doggy clerihew’:

I’ve had to speak sharply to my dog, Buster
He won’t wear his new mask, he gets all in a fluster.
As a robber, he’s proving worse than useless
And our burglary nights are now quite a few less.

Susan said...

No mandatory mask wearing in BC although it is recommended. I wear masks in indoor public places. More as an example than anything because few people seem to be wearing them around here. I think we need a feisty cat to get the message out.

jenny_o said...

I agree about the claustrophobia and the foggy glasses. It's worse when the air around us is cooler than the air we're breathing out (so, in winter or in air conditioning). I've found another issue as well - I have bi-focals and can't see through the close-up portion because it's at the very bottom of my lenses and my mask is in the way! But - in full agreement with you - it's a small price to pay.

jenny_o said...

It seems like a golden time now, doesn't it? Before the pandemic, I mean. It's one of those truly life-altering events, except it's happening to every person in the world. I like your poem very much - thanks for contributing.

jenny_o said...

I was short on time :)

jenny_o said...

Reference to the original Lone Ranger or Trump, given his assessment of himself in a mask? Hah.

Thanks for contributing, YP.

jenny_o said...

No use sugarcoating it, is there? That cartoon was my favourite too.

jenny_o said...

Strange, indeed. I fear the opening of restaurants and bars will bring a resurgence of cases - we emit secretions when we eat and drink just as we do when we talk. But being outside reduces the risk somewhat.

jenny_o said...

The foggy glasses - yes! And I hadn't thought about the difficulty with hearing aids, although I've caught my glasses a few times in the elastic upon removal of the mask. It's really bad to lose a hearing aid - they are small and expensive.

jenny_o said...

I'm glad it's not just me who finds it makes carrying stuff harder! I feel encouraged by this.

jenny_o said...

I'll have to try making a mask that uses a filter. I thought it would be just one more layer to breathe through but perhaps it cuts the humidity factor. Yes, we still have to social distance, even with the mask rule, and I will do whatever I can to stop this virus.

jenny_o said...

Indeed, Marie. I've read recently that other infections are down this year. I expect it's from the social distancing and masks. A silver lining, maybe? Perhaps we'll get used to masks and wear them in 'flu season from now on.

jenny_o said...

Strange that the library staff weren't taking precautions, especially since they were enforcing them. It's hard to imagine anything but an increase in cases as things open up. I guess the aim is not to eradicate the virus (impossible anyhow) but to strike a balance between livelihoods and health. It's hard, and I think you're right, the rules will have to be flexible and change on a dime.

jenny_o said...

Ha ha! Excellent :) Buster, just wear the mask!

I recently read up on the clerihew as well! I think I saw it mentioned in one of the posts by our Poetry Monday participants. There are so many kinds of poetry and I only know about a small number of them, so it's good to learn new stuff.

jenny_o said...

I wonder if the health departments have considered a fun approach to the topic?? I think it could help!

messymimi said...

Yes, we have to wear masks, and shields do the trick, too. Some studies seem to show they are better anyway.

Your poem was very direct, i like it. Loved the funnies, too.

Diane Stringam Tolley said...

Brilliant, SBM! I, too had to look up Clerihew. (I don't know why but the word makes me think of chewing gum...)

Diane Stringam Tolley said...

Short and superbly succinct, Marie!

Diane Stringam Tolley said...

Loved your poem, Jenny! And let's face it, the ending may be blunt. But so is death!
We are having a large difference of opinion on masks right here in my family. One DIL is vehemently opposed to them. Cites all sorts of 'experts'. Sigh. A normally reasonable person, I can't figure out where she is coming from. It seems so simple to me. When surgeons no longer wear them in surgeries, THEN I'll consider they really do nothing.

Bonnie said...

Your poem is great! It could be used as a public service announcement! Here in the U.S. the regulations are different everywhere and I think that is part of the reason we are seeing such a rise in cases now. My state (Missouri) does not have a state wide mask requirement even though we are one of the "red states". However, the county I live in does require masks and I am thankful for that. Yes, it is hard to wear a cloth mask all the time but I will do it in an attempt to help reduce the spread. I am so afraid this will be bad until some time after we get a vaccination. That's going to take a while!

jenny_o said...

We're on the same page on wearing masks, Mimi - as is everyone else here, I think!

jenny_o said...

Now that's a fantastic point to make to those who may be unconvinced - why would medical professionals wear them if they didn't do any good? I'm sorry about the brouhaha in your family. That's hard.

jenny_o said...

You're right, Bonnie. It's hard for many people to accept how long we're going to need to do this. Delayed gratification can be a big factor in whether folks decide to wear masks or not. I can understand children and teens finding it hard, but adults? They should be able to do this! In fact, I've seen lots of children just in our small town who are wearing them with no complaints at all. Maybe we need a different definition of adult, one that's not based on age :D

Joanne Noragon said...

Really, really good ones this week!

jenny_o said...

Glad you enjoyed them, Joanne - I just wish I'd had more :)

e said...

Same to You...

River said...

I bought my first ever masks today, just to be ready in case my state has the same flare-up as the ones just across the border, which is now a distinct possibility since several infected people have sneaked across the border and not gone straight into quarantine. One young woman actually came in and attended two separate senior colleges for classes. Those schools had to be closed for deep cleaning and all casual contacts now have to be found and quarantined.
I don't think I'll have too much trouble getting used to a mask, I already pull a bandana over my nose and mouth when handling potting mix in the garden.

LL Cool Joe said...

I like the poem, its message is very clear! I'm not in shops etc. long enough to have breathing issues with my mask. I have 2 black ones that I bought from aliexpress and I kinda like wearing them. I feel a bit gangsta in them. Haha.

jenny_o said...

Thank you, e.

jenny_o said...

Part of the process of getting used to a mask is just getting used to the feeling, I think, so you're ahead of the curve.

It's just frustrating that people don't follow the rules! (said the rule-follower :))

jenny_o said...

You have the right idea, Joey - find a mask to be happy about! Maybe I need to make one with a cat nose and mouth and whiskers :D

And we need a picture of you in your mask, pronto :)

Cherie said...

I just went shopping and what a surprise
The only thing visible were shoppers eyes
I understand that safety's the issue
But my nose is running I need a tissue
Am I allowed to blow my nose
Or even stop to smell a rose
And what if i'm feeling a little bit low
How on earth can you possible know
There's not a bit of my mouth on view
So how could I ever give you a clue.
I think I'll stay at home instead
And watch the TV from my bed

jenny_o said...

I have a feeling a lot of us are going to forsake all but the absolutely necessary outings, Cherie - and you've laid out the reasons why, very well :)

Thanks for contributing!

Diane Henders said...

Yep, that was a fairly blunt message, but sometimes "blunt" is the only message that gets through. We've been wearing 3-layer homemade masks when we're out, and I've found that I need to move more slowly than usual or I feel a bit breathless. But we're keeping our outings short (as long as it takes to get groceries) so it hasn't been a problem. So far, so good...

jenny_o said...

I find it a fine balance between moving more slowly to avoid using more oxygen, and moving fast enough to get finished quickly - lol

Three layers - you are a pro!