This week I am sharing some much needed encouraging words from two sources. The first source is a remarkable blog by one Kitty O’Meara, The Daily Round, who posted a poem entitled “In the Time of Pandemic” in mid March. In just two short weeks, her poem has been translated into several languages; put to music in England and Spain and shared widely on the internet. I agree with one of her readers who called it “a beautiful vision for moving us through this time.”
The second source was last Friday’s New York Times (March 27) which printed a full page of poems describing these days as “Sacred Time, a Fearful Time, a Hopeful Time.” I chose ones that I felt were especially comforting and encouraging.
In the Time of Pandemic
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
What if you thought of it
as the Jews consider the Sabbath—
the most sacred of times?
Cease from travel.
Cease from buying and selling.
Give up, just for now,
on trying to make the world
different than it is.
Sing. Pray. Touch only those
to whom you commit your life.
And when your body has become still,
reach out with your heart.
Know that we are connected
in ways that are terrifying and beautiful.
(You could hardly deny it now.)
Know that our lives
are in one another’s hands.
(Surely, that has come clear.)
Do not reach out your hands.
Reach out your heart.
Reach out your words.
Reach out all the tendrils
of compassion that move, invisibly,
where we cannot touch.
Promise this world your love–
for better or for worse,
in sickness and in health,
so long as we all shall live.
~ Lynn Unger
My heart on lockdown
Is it broken
is it beating
It races in empathy
for those in need
It dreams nightmares
with news so grim
It longs for leadership
from the greatest generation
which it doubts
will be witnessed again
with life in the burbs
during daylight hours
But with schools closed
and work suspended
life has slowed
no longer driven
Beat on my heart
it is not over
Beat, beat, breathe
~ Susan Pike
A Blessing for Staying Inside
May you find happiness in the small spaces.
Joy in the staying put.
No highways. No office buildings. No crowded subways.
May you find peace in your own kitchen.
May your four walls feel like a sanctuary.
A haven from a noisy world.
May you take pleasure in a bad pun, a bowl of popcorn.
Laughing with the people closest to you.
Patting the grateful dog. The clever cat.
May you discover the delight of writing letters
on paper. In baking cookies.
In the birds visiting your early spring garden.
May you find yourself fully in the present moment.
Where all of life is happening right now.
And worries about the future don’t exist.
May you invent ways to help people who need you.
Because times like this were made to remind us
that we are all the same.
Even as you wrap yourself in a blanket of solitude,
may you discover the secrets of the universe
from your spot on the couch.
And… may you be so well loved that that others
will rejoice when you are finally able to run into
their arms again.
~ Joyce Bartlett
Is This the End
As this dark cloud spreads over the land
We run about bemoaning the disappearance of the Sun.
We dither and argue about what to do
While we fear the end.
Is this how the Earth will rise up against our transgressions?
Yet all I can think about
Is my son working in the NYU emergency room:
On the front lines of chaos.
I am afraid
But don’t want to cloud his concentration.
I am old and can stay at home.
I have had a good life.
But I mourn the
Loss of the future.
May that not come to pass.
My parents lived through the same fears.
They lived through five wars and one Great Depression.
How could they survive?
But they did for their children.
I am hopeful that reason returns.
That we can once again conquer all challenges.
That we can do that as one nation, one people.
~ Thomas Dourmashkin, MD
A Poem of Hope
Here where all seems lost
We witness selfless actions from
Brave doctors and nurses, grocery store cashiers, truck drivers, police and others
Spring feels close and trees bring
Hope of new beginnings where once
Bare limbs reminded us of Winters past
Nature reminds us all must pass and new life springs forth when all seems lost