AND PEOPLE STAYED HOME

Poems have lives of their own.  Before we were connected to the electronic web, poems passed word of mouth, from generation to generation, country to country, continent to continent. Nowadays they fly across the internet, giving us the opportunity to experience anew the timelessness of their themes.

Kathleen O’Meara, an Irish – French Catholic author and biographer, included this poem in 1869 in a novel that she published in response to the wars and tensions that were everywhere in her world.  Fifty years went by and the poem surfaced in 1920 bringing solace during the Spanish influenza that ravaged Europe and North America, killing people in the tens of millions.  Now it is 2020. We are labouring yet again in crisis, separated from one another in the wake of another virus. Ms. O’Meara’s words are timely once more and point to a way out from the recurring horror…

And people stayed at home
And read books
And listened
And they rested
And did exercises
And made art and played
And learned new ways of being
And stopped and listened
More deeply
Someone meditated, someone prayed
Someone met their shadow
And people began to think differently
And people healed.
And in the absence of people who
Lived in ignorant ways
Dangerous, meaningless and heartless,
The earth also began to heal
And when the danger ended and
People found themselves
They grieved for the dead
And made new choices
And dreamed of new visions
And created new ways of living
And completely healed the earth
Just as they were healed.

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