Thursday, April 23, 2020

Poetry Month #23: "And the people stayed home " by Kitty O'Meara

More about Kitty O'Meara
Oprah Magazine calls Kitty O'Meara the poet laureate of the pandemic, saying:
Her untitled prose poem, which begins with the line, "And the people stayed home," has been shared countless times, on countless backgrounds, with countless fonts, since its first posting. It was most widely popularized by Deepak Chopra, and has since been shared by everyone from Bella Hadid to radio stations in Australia. The poem has become shorthand for a silver-linings perspective during the coronavirus outbreak—the hope that something good can come out of this collective state of "together, apart."
And who is Kitty O'meara? She lives in Madison, WI with her five rescue dogs and her husband. She is a retired chaplain and teacher and now writes as her way of serving in this time of crisis.

I love her description in the interview with O of how this piece went viral:
Immediately after writing, O'Meara shared this poem with her friends on Facebook. "I post stuff like that all the time. I usually don't get a lot of response," O'Meara says. "But this found its niche."
Kitty has given her poem to the world for any non-commercial use and is inspiring dozens of readings, videos and interpretations. Here's one:
Click here to listen to the reading by Heaher Arrington
And the people stayed home
by Kitty O'meara

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.

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