A poet’s voice resonates from the depths of the pandemic01/31/2022 09:22PM ● By Steven Hoffman
In her new book of poetry, “Isolation and Revelation,” Marie-Louise Meyers offers an honest and thoughtful response to the pandemic and all its unwanted consequences.
This is her fourth book, and Meyers started working on it at the onset of the pandemic. She can vividly recall how she felt in those first days when the pandemic gripped the U.S.
“I felt like the air had a kind of deadness to it,” she explained. “I felt like our world changed overnight.”
She wasn’t alone in that feeling, of course.
Here’s how she began “The Tsunami,” which is included in the chapter called Rude Awakening:
It came like a giant tidal wave that overwhelms and inundates
everything in its wake with a silent deadly force
turning day into strangulated flight
where nothing could be counted on to turn out right.
Meyers said that she wrote the poems in “Isolation and Revelation” day by day as she reflected on the events and reacted to the hope and the fear that we all felt as the pandemic stretched out, month after month, and surge after surge. She explained the quest for normalcy this way:
In between it afforded doldrums with facts and figures gleaned,
ready to return to Normalcy when it crashed as numbers of cases
spiked once again and the spread was unprecedented
with a new kind of unfathomable dread.
The act of writing provided her comfort, and putting her thoughts and feelings into words also helped her deal with the circumstances that she was facing. Even though this is a book of poetry, Meyers is a natural storyteller, and she utilized those skills to capture the daily happenings of the pandemic. She wanted others to find comfort in her words, just as she was taking comfort by writing them.
“I had a mission to extract some meaning from the events that occurred,” she said.
“It was the last resort when everything we counted on
fell apart even the People’s House came tumbling down
with a Let Down, and for awhile, there was Mob Rule.
We needed the Earth to remember how it was,
and people to become reliant again on the Old
for their bottled-up wisdom, who remembered when——,
and we learned once again to get the good out of everything
Meyers, an 84-year-old resident of Lower Oxford Township, said that she drew upon many of her life experiences, including living through World War II and the polio outbreak, to try to put the pandemic in a proper perspective. She personally found hope in remembering that the country has been through tough times before, and the American people responded to those challenges with perseverance.
“Any time we are faced with this kind of situation, it strengthens our resolve,” she explained.
She also found comfort in nature, and nature is featured prominently in the book.
“I continued my walks around our pond,” she explained. “Nature definitely played a significant role.”
The book is divided into nine chapters. It starts with a chapter titled Rude Awakening. Another chapter is called Laughter is the Best Medicine. She tried to emphasize the importance of finding humor in small things, even during challenging times.
“People can be sullen and they can feel rage, but there is always the relief of the laughter,” she explained.
When she was finished, Meyers had a 450-page book of poetry that she was very proud of.
Meyers, a member of the Pennsylvania Poetry Society, wanted to provide support to a local nonprofit organization. She decided to dedicate proceeds from this book to Oaks Ministry, an all-volunteer organization that helps women who are experiencing homelessness. In the past, she has written books that benefitted the Oxford library, the ACE Anti-Human Trafficking group. Giving back to the community and helping others is very important to her.
The book is $20 and is available at the Oxford Library as well as on Amazon.
Meyers, who taught for many years in New Jersey, said that she is writing regularly on other projects. She has no desire to stop, so more books could be coming in the near future.
“I’m pretty determined to write,” she said. “I can’t not write.”