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People turning to Irish poetry for solace

By Sarah Finnan

March 30, 2020 at 10:18am


People have been turning to Irish poetry for inspiration.

Faced with a global pandemic, people around the world have been looking to various sources for inspiration - with Irish poetry proving to be a comforting distraction. Poems by both Kitty O'Meara and the great Seamus Heaney have resurfaced online, heartening people to continue on.

United in the fight against Covid-19, people have been showing that tough times make for tougher people and have been sharing words of wisdom as we try to readjust to life during these uncertain times.

A poem entitled And People Stayed Home has been doing the rounds online. Written by Kathleen, or Kitty O'Meara, the poem has been shared by everyone from Oprah to Deepak Chopra to Ireland's own Kathryn Thomas.

There has been some confusion as to the origins of the poem though - with some claiming it dates back to the 1860s. However, And The People Stayed Home is, in fact, a modern creation.

Written in response to the current coronavirus pandemic, the poem has reassured thousands of people online, giving them some much-needed encouragement that better times are on their way.

It reads:

"And people stayed home and read books and

listened and rested and exercised

and made art and played and learned new

ways of being and stopped and listened


someone meditated, someone prayed

someone danced, someone met their shadow

and people began to think differently

and people healed and in the absence of

people who lived in ignorant ways,

dangerous, meaningless and heartless,

even the earth began to heal and when the

danger ended and people found each other

grieved for the dead people and they made

new choices and dreamed of new visions

and created new ways of life and healed the

earth completely just as they were healed


Speaking to The Oprah Magazine, Kitty said: "I saw the maps of the receding pollution over China and Europe. I thought, ‘There you go. There’s something of a blessing in all suffering.' And I thought with my passionate love for the Earth, maybe that’s one good thing."

Many have also turned to Seamus Heaney's poem Wintering Out at this time, with one poignant line in particular standing out:

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Le Chéile 💚🤍🧡 via @mr_moorcock

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Onwards and upwards.

READ NEXT: “Everything is going to be alright” – last night’s RTE News ended with a message of hope


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