A stirring poem penned by a Capuchin Franciscan brother in Ireland is giving respite to millions of people worldwide who are in lockdown amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Richard Hendrick, a friar in the Roman Catholic order, shared the poem on Facebook on March 13, as Ireland announced stringent new measures to combat the spread of the virus. It acknowledges the “fear” and “isolation” of the global public health crisis that has now killed more than 10,000 people.
It goes on to remind readers, however, that there “does not have to be hate” or “loneliness.”
Check out the full poem here:
“I was inspired to write the poem by hearing of the incidents that I mention within it; the birds being heard in China and the sky clearing, the singing in Assisi and many other Italian towns, the young woman offering acts of kindness to her elderly neighbors,” Dublin-based Hendrick told HuffPost on Friday.
“Together they reminded me that no matter the restrictions or dangers that this pandemic may bring, it will never touch the human soul and that we always have the opportunity to see beauty, offer compassion and touch the Divine, no matter our circumstances,” he explained.
Hendrick, whose post has been shared more than 41,000 times, said he was “very happy to see the poem bring consolation to so many and also a little overwhelmed to see how far it has run.”
“I never thought it would be shared like this but I try and see the hand of providence in all things and I hope that there is grace flowing wherever the poem is going,” he added. On Facebook, he later called on people to “look after each other and rejoice that in this difficult time we can at least connect here and offer support to one another.”
Hendrick recited the poem on BBC Radio London on Tuesday:
Anderson Cooper also recited part of the poem on Thursday’s broadcast of his CNN show: