Kathleen O’Meara, also known under her pen name Grace Ramsay (1839 – 1888), was an Irish-French Catholic writer and biographer during the late Victorian era. The original poem, taken from “Iza’s Story”, her second novel, appears to have been written recently. It was actually written in 1869 in Ireland and was about the struggle of Polish Patriots against the Russian occupation. This poem is as relevant today in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic as it was then. Let’s hope that when this storm passes, we will be better.
And people stayed home
And read books and listened
And rested and exercised
They created pieces of art and played
And learned new ways of being
They all stopped
and listened more deeply
and met their shadows
And people started to think differently and healed
And fewer people were living in meaningless, heartless and dangerous ignorance
The earth began to heal
And when the danger ended
people met again
They wept for the dead
And they made new decisions
They dreamed of new visions
And created new ways of life.
When the storm passed and the roads were tamed, the earth healed
The survivors of a collective shipwreck,
with a weeping heart
felt happy just for being alive.
And they hugged and rejoiced to keep a friend.
And they remembered all that was lost and at once learned
We will no longer be envious for all will have suffered.
We will no longer be lazy
We will be more compassionate.
What belongs to all is worth more
We will be more generous
And much more committed
We will understand what it means to be alive
We will sweat empathy
for who is here and who is gone.
We will miss the old man
who begged for a dollar in the market,
we didn’t know his name
although he was always by our side.
Maybe the poor old man
was your God in disguise.
You never asked his name,
because you were in a hurry.
Everything will be a miracle
and life will be respected.
When the storm passes
we will be better.