And the people stayed home. And read books, and listened, and rested, and exercised, and made art, and played games, and learned new ways of being, and were still. And listened more deeply. Some meditated, some prayed, some danced. Some met their shadows. And the people began to think differently.
And the people healed. And, in the absence of people living in ignorant, dangerous, mindless, and heartless ways, the earth began to heal.
And when the danger passed, and the people joined together again, they grieved their losses, and made new choices, and dreamed new images, and created new ways to live and heal the earth fully, as they had been healed.
– Kitty O'Meara
This prose poem has gone viral. It's all over the Internet. Hooray! We need a great poem that helps people. Thank you, Kitty O’Meara.
You may have seen her poem online in free verse format (most often with punctuation and a few words changed) with a photo supposedly taken during the pandemic of 1918-1920 of two women wearing masks. Some memes and reports said the poem had been written in 1869. I saw this too, on Facebook. Eye-catching.
But once I decided to share it on my blog, I knew to research it. I am so glad I did that. Amazing what people can do with other people’s work. Technology is incredible.
The alterations were not needed. It’s lovely, just as it stands.
Anyway, the research led me to the real poem, the prose poem at the beginning of my blog. Thank you, Alathea Daniels, for teaching me to research whatever I’m working on!
I read several articles regarding the poem and how it came into being.
According to one article, O’Meara said she’d been feeling sad as she’d watched the news. She had recently worked in palliative care, and she knew there was nothing she could actually do to help her friends in the medical field who are on the frontlines. Her husband, who was aware of her anxiety, told her to do what she does well: write.
She sat down and wrote the poem above.
According to another article, O'Meara credits "spirit" with her process. “I saw the maps of the receding pollution over China and Europe. I thought, ‘There you go. There’s something of blessing in all suffering.’ And I thought with my passionate love for the Earth, maybe that’s one good thing.”
Following the writing of the poem, O’Meara said she shared it with her friends on Facebook. She added, “I post stuff like that all the time. I usually don’t get a lot of response, but this found its niche.”
She’s right. It certainly did find its niche.
There are many treatments of the poem out there. Here's one that is made up of other social media posts that seem to be going viral.
This month is National Poetry Month.
Actually, I was planning on going to two poetry conferences in April. Not happening. Instead, I’m staying home like many of you.
I’m okay about being home. I’m like a bird in her cozy nest.
Instead of going anywhere to hear others read poetry or get a little more educated on writing poetry or get my poetry critiqued, I’m writing poetry and looking to see what poetry I can find in books and on the Internet.
When you get tired and don’t want to deal with a book or a screen, just look outside. April is breathtaking. So are its sounds. Poetry. It’s marvelous, and it’s everywhere.
And Easter is coming!
God bless you,
P.S. This poem and blog can be shared. Help yourself! And if you're interested in any of my books, for reading or gifting, the icons below will take you to their Amazon pages.
Pat's home, where she is staying quiet.
Photographed by Pat Durmon on a foggy morning, April 6, 2020.