Into the Pandemic… rode the Responders

A Rewriting of Tennyson's The Charge of the Light Brigade.

For Angela in Nashville, and all the other Responders serving in harm’s way during the pandemic of 2020.


Half a league, half a league,

half a league onward,

into the dark of Pandemic,

rode the Responders.

“Forward, the Nurses & Doctors!

To help those in need!” they said.

Into the virus’s teeth…

rode the Responders.


“Forward, the EMTs and Police!”

Were any dissuade?

Not though they all knew

someone had blundered.

Theirs not to make reply,

theirs not to reason why,

theirs but to do and try.

Into the teeth of the virus…

rode the Responders.


Confusion to the right of them,

the unknown to the left of them,

the virus in front of them.

With lack of protection,

and inadequate testing,

bravely they labored and served.

Within the jaws of the virus,

inside the mouth of Hell…

rode the Responders.


There stood all the brave souls,

weary but unbroken, valiantly working

with worn out tools as people fell

and bodies piled.

All the world wondered.

Amid the sick and dying,

right down the line stood

Nurses and Doctors, all the Responders.

Reeling from the task before them…

but unshattered and unsundered as

some politicians, or would be leaders,

stumbled and postured,

stood the Responders.


Fear to right of them,

fear to left of them,

yet the example of others

to strengthen them.

Volleyed and thundered;

near buried by numbers,

while so many people fell.

Those that fought so well

prayed to come through,

back from the mouth of Hell,

to those that were left of them,

left of the Responders


When can their glory fade?

O the great effort they made!

All the world wondered.

Honor the sacrifice they made!

Honor the Responders,

the noble Responders!