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.
This poem recently went viral so many have already read this untitled prose pandemic poem. I think the strong appeal is the positive optimism expressed, and seeing an eventual outcome in terms of a world healing – eventually a better place to live.
Staying at home has many positives outlined in the first stanza; a time for the world to stop and smell the roses. I like the thought of people meeting their shadows. To me this implied coming to terms with oneself, and a time for self-discovery, reflection and prayer.
The staying at home lifestyle could enable a change in thinking, and the world could start to be healed and the world could begin to progress in a healthier direction. In contrast perhaps by those who view the current status quo as a 24 by 7 all-expenses economic road to ruin?
But let it be known that the ‘old-world’, for all its people faults, was a beautiful place with marvelous people. And that the interim change despite world turmoil still emanates much beauty. And that the ‘new-post-pandemic world’ will be equally amazing. I hope you will be around to participate in that creation! I hope to join you!
Kitty O’Meara of Madison, WI … is the poet laureate of the pandemic. 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.”
Fittingly, the poem is proof of what O’Meara has chosen to do with herself while social distancing: Write. “And the people stayed home” was written in one sitting, the by-product of months of built-up anxiety while watching the pandemic brew on the news.
“I was anxious for the past few months. I knew this was coming and I couldn’t be of service,” O’Meara tells OprahMag.com. After years working in palliative care, O’Meara is especially concerned for her friends who still work in the health care profession and are on the frontlines of battling the virus.
“I was getting kind of sad. There was nothing I could do. I couldn’t help my friends. I was very worried about them. My husband said: ‘Write. Just write again,’” O’Meara recalls.
So, she did. “I just kind of sat down and wrote it,” O’Meara says matter-of-factly, crediting “spirit” with the 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.”
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.”
That’s an understatement; the poem resonated with people instantly. Soon, a Facebook friend asked to share the poem with her own followers, and within three days of posting, her husband, encountered the poem elsewhere on the Internet. Kitty O’Meara had officially gone viral.
The top image – Autumn roses from our Garden