Writing Through the Pandemic: Judith Viorst and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad President

The children's author, poet, and longtime Washingtonian has a thing or two on her mind.

We asked Washington writers to share stories, poems, drafts, musings, and other things they’ve been working on during the pandemic. Today, a verse from Judith Viorst, whose many books for children and adults include, most famously, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. A graduate of the Washington Psychoanalytic Institute, Viorst is the author of Necessary Losses: The Loves, Illusions, Dependencies, and Impossible Expectations That All of Us Have to Give Up in Order to Grow. Among her books of poetry is her latest, Nearing 90: And Other Comedies of Late Life.

“While most of the poems I’ve written have been about the changes each decade brings, a few have been political,” she says. “And I believe that the first political poem I ever had published was in Washingtonian. It’s nice to connect again with a magazine I first started writing for 50 years ago.”


What Are You Thinking?
Four or Five Questions for Donald Trump’s Republicans


You think if you dig deep enough

you’ll find, beneath the ugly stuff

(the smallness, meanness, soullessness, the vanity,

the bullying, cupidity,

the lying and stupidity),

some hint, some evidence of his humanity?


You think his negative reviews

come from purveyors of fake news,

those losers, low I.Q.-ers, Donald haters

who mock his genius, perfect call,

stability, and hairdo, all

the while conspiring with the deep-staters?


You think it’s other than grotesque

that he claims to be Lincoln-esque?

You think you’re seeing greatness, not demented?

And just how long can you ignore

that Donald’s Donald to the core,

unmitigated and unprecedented?