“Yes, there is disease. Yes, there is sickness. Yes, there is even death. But…”
Fear over the ongoing pandemic is palpable. Governments across Europe have responded by curbing the movements of citizens and tightening borders, supermarkets have urged the public to be considerate to others and stop panic buying, and Boris Johnson has agreed to hold daily televised press conferences to update the public about the fight against coronavirus.
As any Harry Potter fan worth their salt will tell you, though, “happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, when one only remembers to turn on the light.”
Titled ‘Lockdown’, the poem begins by acknowledging the fact that the coronavirus headlines come hand-in-hand with disease, fear, panic and even death.
This caveat in place, Brother Richard continues: “But they say that in Wuhan, after so many years of noise, you can hear the birds again.
“They say that, after just a few weeks of quiet, the sky is no longer thick with fumes, but blue and grey and clear. They say that in the streets of Assisi people are singing to each other across the empty squares, keeping their windows open so that those who are alone may hear the sounds of family around them.”
Brother Richard goes on to pay tribute to a hotel in the West of Ireland which “is offering free meals and delivery to the housebound”, and the young woman he saw spreading fliers with her phone number on, so that the elderly people in her neighbourhood have someone to call on.
“All over the world people are slowing down and reflecting,” he says. All over the world people are looking at their neighbours in a new way.
“All over the world people are waking up to a new reality. To how big we really are. To how little control we really have. To what really matters.
You can read his poem in full below.
Brother Richard shared his poem in a Facebook post on Friday 13 March. Since then, his hopeful message has received more than 21K positive reactions and has been shared over 36K times.
“Thank you, I need to hear this,” commented one social media user. “What we all need now is love, care, and compassion.”
Another added: “Beautiful and so profound. Thank you!”
And still one more said: “This shows what we as human beings are capable of being. It’s a message for us all.”
If Brother Richard’s post has inspired you to embrace kindness, Stylist has compiled this list of the easy ways you can introduce kindness into your daily routine.
And remember: if you think you might have coronavirus, please don’t visit your local GP or A&E department, Instead, use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service to find out what to do.
You can find all the answers to your coronavirus questions here.
Main image: Alessio Lin/Unsplash