Paying Attention
Bill McDonald’s Website Newsletter
December 2020 - Volume 20, No. 12
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After the People Stayed Home

It seems we’ve tried everything…

Word is, now we’ve got a vaccine. And we all know to be thankful
 (or is it skeptical)
A savior who will take away our sins.
So now we’re free to sin more - not even to worry about the consequences.
And the toll of its victims will yet increase.
Now we hear more that our doctors and nurses suffer and even die - not to be replaced.
And the cries and sufferings of millions still arise from the earth to the observant skies.

Then I recall (from somewhere) an old admonition that when in doubt listen to the voices of the very young and the very old, the children and the elders.

These days the young learn to speak only carefully, and the old are ‘caged’ in ‘homes.’
I’ve heard it said (I don’t recall from where) that a culture will be judged by how well it cares for and honors its children and elderly.

Enter Kitty O’Meara of Madison Wisconsin

-whoever she is.

This past Summer, a house organ to which I subscribe, published an untitled poem, attributed to a “Kitty O’Meara of Madison, WI.”

It was about late last Spring, when so many of us had “sheltered in place” to protect ourselves and each other from this new virus which was beginning to devastate the land.

I contacted the editor and publisher of that house organ (organization newsletter) where I had found her words - so I could contact the author desiring permission to copy her work here. To my surprise neither of them really knew who she was or how to contact her. Nor have I myself been able to discover her identity elsewhere in order to ask permission to share her work. For once even the Internet itself has failed me.[1]

And now to Kitty’s poem

All I know about her is through her words. She is obviously a young person - perhaps still in her 20’s.  (Yes, from my age, that is young.) They share a youthful enthusiasm, that isn’t even popular these days, except perhaps for some self-serving politicians. Her words have a quality of ‘making it so by making it so without self-serving’. It’s so refreshing to not find any anger here.

I don’t find them naïve or innocent, though perhaps they are. I want these words to intermix with all the other words by which we’re struggling toward whatever new ‘reality’ (or “normal”) is emerging within our midst.  Her words keep a place for goodness to survive among us.         

And that’s why I have wanted to share them with you.

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 deeper

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 themselves.

May these words foretell goodness and a better life unfolding among each of us.

Pay Attention.


[1] If any of you know of her, or can find a way for me to contact her, I’d be most obliged; and will share that information, with her permission, in a subsequent copy of my Newsletter.

Comments (3)

  • This was nice Bill

    — Jeanne Thompson, 12/2/2020
  • Thank you Bill. I am grateful that you shared this simple, yet thoughtful poem. It touched me.

    — Michal Metcalfe, 12/2/2020
  • Nice and uplifting
    Happy Holidays!

    — Alice A, 12/3/2020

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Bill McDonald
Fenton, Michigan

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