Hard Times


You thought you’d done it, a life of
dodging disaster, agile avoidance of
incoming shrapnel, feasible flattening,
historical losses, holocausts, hard times,
great wars, dust bowls…you’d lived
that one spared slice of the world’s story, oh charmed
tranche de vie! Oh pockets bulging with luck!
(Well there are always wars, but
you in the years between, untouched, only the
proud protests, marching out your anger,
cozy coalition crowds, well-fed, drinks in hand,
you fought from your armchair, through words
stinging and admired.)

Deaths, yes, heartaches, and the surprising grief they disperse–
we’re speaking of life on earth, after all–perhaps
you even heard the invitations to deepen, to be
grateful for the easy life unearned, enjoyed,
the shaded colors of loss
now a poignant part
of the design. Looking good
in black.

But nothing like this,
not the bobbing and weaving
dance with invisible
poison, hidden and clinging to
every bit of air you breathe, you
no longer young, unpracticed
in fleeing enemies, fearful,
searching for words.

You thought you’d done it,
finish line in sight, you’d
escaped, unscathed,
the cruel brutality of
life that everyone
who’s walked the earth
and lies beneath it
has suffered.

And even now:
fresh cream in your coffee
as you ponder
your life’s
hardest time.

15 thoughts on “Hard Times

    1. Thank you for writing, Nicky; it’s very kind of you and appreciated. I agree that facing a virus is confusing and its invisibility makes it more frightening and elusive. It is good that, unlike past times when pandemics threatened humanity, we know if we wear masks, wash our hands, keep distances, etc., we’re doing something positive. It helps me feel stronger and in power of even these few small ways I can protect myself and others.

      I hope you are well and safe, Nicky, and I wish you gentle peace.


  1. Thanks for reminding me so beautifully how I ,like you, am simultaneously always at risk and protected from imminent life-endangering circumstances during the pandemic. Others do not have the privilege of protection, but must struggle for food and other essentials.



    1. Thank you, Maureen; I so appreciate your visiting and writing. Yes, I feel we’re all in this together and yet the impact and threats from the pandemic are different for each of us as well…It really feels like a call to be more compassionate than ever since we really don’t know how others are suffering, how overwhelming their fears are, or how endangered their health is…what I tire of is complaining/whining, both in myself and in others. I recognize its source and function, and the ways it allows stress to be alleviated, but it also changes nothing and can dampen other people’s hope, which we need as much of as we can sustain.

      Here’s to you, Maureen: to your health and safety, and to your gentle peace.


  2. Fantastic!!!
    Oh…all that damn bobbing and weaving! And…the invisible poison! I’m beginning to relax my cleaning routines, I just can’t keep up with it all. I have this ridiculous notion that if I’m exposed to the plague, a little bit at a time it’ll either give me immunity or kill me…lol. I just applied a flea treatment to the dogs as they were scratching like hell, so couldn’t wipe them down after a walk in case that interfered with the treatment….sighs. The dogs always sleep on our bed……so fingers crossed! Love and hugs, Angel friend, to you, and one and all. xxxxx


    1. It’s tricky with pups, isn’t it? Phillip’s worked very hard to put up a rather hideous fence all around the front yard to give the dogs a place to run a bit, since, the trail is now off-limits. Ironically, the reason we moved here 24 years ago was because of the bike trail running alongside our driveway and now it’s so horribly crowded with unmasked/unprotected people seeking “fresh air” that we have to avoid it.

      I’m glad you’re relaxing a bit…I think if we’re home and in veritable lockdown, we should be safe…and we put any twice-monthly groceries and daily mail in 3-day lockdown as well, as I’m sure you do…it’s new habits and a dangerous time so we’re all anxious and scared…’tis what ’tis. Be safe, and know I send you my love, dear one. 🙂 To you and all your beloveds.


      1. What a shame about the trail! Everyone walks past our house too as it’s the way to the country lanes across the busy by-pass. I won’t be able to weed the border by the railings as so many people march past coughing and chatting. Ahhhh, glad you can let the dogs run, hopefully the fence can come down when this ends. Yes, parcels and mail are in lockdown and only perishable or frozen goods are brought in, they are washed in soapy water. It’s a right old pain, but we have do do it.xxx


    1. Thank you, Mary! Your kindness is always so lovely and appreciated. Gentle peace to you and your beautiful family. Be safe and well.


  3. Hard times come and go.
    Harder times may come or not…
    The future is unknown:
    Let’s take each day at a time.


  4. Hi Kitty, I work at Marquette University in the Office of Marketing and Communication, where I write and edit articles for alumni magazines. I know you’ve been bombarded by the press for your pandemic poem, but if you have the bandwidth for one more request, we’d love to talk with you about your work, this poem and how you think poems can help people through difficult times. My email is tracy.staedter@marquette.edu Thank you.


  5. What a wonderful poem, Kitty, I am delighted that you share your thoughts here with all of us. Thank you!

    As a big fan of your writings, your poem “And the people stayed home” really inspired us in a project we are working on with a Consumer Goods brand. We want to launch a new product based on sustainability inspired on your poem. It would help us to develop a project that we expect to some changes in the world to a better direction.

    To use it as our core idea we would need your permission, of course. We’re so excited because it would have a significant impact if we can make it real.

    We would be glad to give your more details about the project and anything you would need to make you feel comfortable. Could you please give me an email to be in touch and tell you a little bit more? Or if you prefer, you can write as an email to: natali.berta@gmail.com

    Thank you very much for your attention and your inspiring work.


    1. Hello, Natali, and thank you for writing. I’m afraid that I have to reserve all rights to the material for the time being. Using the poem to sell anything is also antithetical to its theme; I wrote it to inspire the creative artist and giver in all of us, not to prop up a corporate structure I believe has contributed to the destruction of humankind, the earth, and all living things.

      Thank you so much, again; I hope you are safe and well.

      Gentle Peace,
      Kitty O’Meara


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