Vishnu S Rai (1951) was educated in India, Nepal, and The UK. He taught English at Tribhuvan University for three decades and retired as Professor of English Language Education. Rai writes both in English and Nepali. He has written stories, Martyrs, & Other Stories (English), play Realities (English), travelogues Nau Dandapari (Nepali), and a novel Paheli (Nepali). But above all, he is a poet and he has published Sudama (a semi epic in Nepali), Jeevan (a collection of poems in Nepali), Vagabond Verses (a collection of poems in English), and Tritiyaki Joon (a collection of songs and gazals in Nepali, and his English poems are taught in Nepal and abroad. Rai is known as a poet of human emotions. The poem, Corona Says, written on the theme of the present world crisis Corona and its devastating impact on human life is a subtle satire on man’s conduct and attitude. It views Covid 19 as the byproduct of man’s treatment of nature.
Summary of the Poem:
Since the title of the poem is clear, here we find Corona saying something to humans. The name Corona needs no introduction. Even a child has heard of it. This pandemic has claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands of people around the world.
This poem is the speaker’s outlook (point of view) of the whole event. The speaker (corona) rejects the blame and says that it is not, but the humans are responsible for such great destruction. It did not come alone but was brought here by humans.
In fact, it was invited. Corona, (like other pandemics), is the result of human behaviour and activities that are not responsible for nature.
Here the speaker shows a mirror to humans. Humans believe that they are the kings of creation and the rulers of the entire earth. They think that all creation and other aspects of nature are their slaves, which they can use as they please. But that’s not it.
Then the poet shows another side of the situation. In the long lockdown period, almost all human activities have stopped. Motherland rested a little. And nature has returned to its original state: blue skies and a pollution-free atmosphere. That is a positive aspect of the corona period. It also shows that if we (humans) don’t abuse nature, it will calm down again.
Earth does not belong to only humans. It must be shared equally by all living things.
In the end, the speaker warned humans. Without a doubt, Corona will come back one day if we don’t change our irresponsible attitudes and behaviour towards nature, more pandemics of this type will visit Earth.
Not only that, but such behaviour will eventually take us back to prehistoric times when people used to live in caves and had to hunt for food.