CHARLOTTE, NC, April 14, 2020 – Just when you thought you had read everything you could ever want to know, or would like to forget, about the coronavirus, something new pops up to add to your growing knowledge of plagues and pandemics. One of those truths is that the internet often gets things wrong. One of those errors is the poem, In the time of Pandemic, which is being attributed to Kathleen O’Meara, an Irish-French Catholic writer and biographer during the late Victorian era.
However, the simple but ever so poignant poem about the subject to which each of us can relate was written much more recently.
A retired teacher living in Madison, Wisconsin, Kitty O’Meara, is using her poetic skills in an effort to curb her own anxiety amid the nerve-wracking news of the COVID-19 pandemic. The result, which she posted to her personal Facebook, has been widely read across the world offering hope that something good can come out of this collective state of “together, apart.”
In the time of Pandemic by Kitty O’Meara
And people stayed home
and read books and listened
and made art and played
and rested and exercised
and learned new ways of being
and were still
and listened more deeply
someone met their own shadow
and people started thinking differently—-
And people healed..
And in the absence of people who lived in ignorant ways
dangerous, mindless, and heartless….
The earth began to heal—
And when the danger ended
and people found themselves…
They grieved for the dead
and they made new choices
and dreamed of new visions
and created new ways to live
and heal the earth fully
just as they had been healed.
Kitty O’Mera is refreshing, until now relatively unknown poetic voice who speaks to us so beautifully about the struggles each of endures to survive this crisis. Both physically as well as economically.
Who was Kathleen O’Meara?
Born in Dublin, Ireland, Kathleen O’Meara, who the internet is wrongly identifying as the poet of In the time of Pandemic, lived most of her life in Paris. Ireland experienced more than its share of battling mass outbreaks of disease during the 19th century. Typhus, cholera, typhoid, and dysentery were the biggest killers along with a couple of bouts with smallpox were also part of the mix. So it is easy to see why the mistaken identity error is being made.
Writing was the 19th-century O’Meara’s passion, and she was so dedicated to her profession that she never married or had any children.
Though O’Meara did experience some minor success later in her life, it was her grandfather who became the most notable family member due to his position as Napoleon’s physician from 1815 – 1818 while he was exiled on St. Helena. It was the doctor’s denouncement of Great Britain’s treatment of the former emperor during his banishment that created great notoriety and controversy in 1822.
In the time of Pandemic
And so as we anxiously await the news of a time when we will be able to once again mix and mingle, celebrate New Year’s Eve in Times Square, see friends at church on Easter, fly to the far corners of the globe, buy toilet paper without being stampeded or any number of other routine activities, we should heed the words of the poets as we journey ahead into the future.
Read more of Kitty O’Meara’s modern-day prose at THE DAILY ROUND, Living From the Spirit Level
About the Author:
Bob Taylor is a veteran writer who has traveled throughout the world. Taylor was an award-winning television producer/reporter/anchor before focusing on writing about international events, people and cultures around the globe.
He is founder of The Magellan Travel Club (www.MagellanTravelClub.com)
His goal is to visit 100 countries or more during his lifetime.