Then and Now: what poets can teach us

I asked the question: was there a scholar who wrote about the 1918 pandemic with wisdom and guidance? I am ashamed that I looked in the wrong place, and should have been looking for a poet.

Kyrie by Ellen Bryant Voigt

From Blackbird Archive, read the curated content: https://blackbird.vcu.edu/v17n2/gallery/1918/intro_page.shtml

Soon it was a farmer in the field—

someone’s brother, someone’s father—

left the mule in its traces and went home.

Then the mason, the miller at his wheel,

from deep in the forest the hunter, the logger,

and the sun still up everywhere in the kingdom.

     ―Ellen Bryant Voigt, Kyrie

https://blackbird.vcu.edu/v17n2/gallery/1918/intro_page.shtml

It’s a hard thing to acknowledge, that the country’s current administration (executive branch) is killing us. This is not hyperbole. At every turn, the executive branch failed and exacerbated the crisis. We could be so much better. We could do so much better. My hope is hanging on by a thread. We need to fight this on so many fronts: the media must do better. We must rethink capitalism. We need to strengthen our communities and love for one another. I do not share Ms. O’Meara’s optimism at this writing, but you might:

In the Time of Pandemic

And the people stayed home.

And they read books, and listened, and rested, and exercised, and made art, and played games, and learned new ways of being, and were still.

And they 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

Other resources and readings:

“Invisible Bullets”

9 Ways Schools Will Look Different When (And If) They Reopen

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