Yes there is fear.
Yes there is isolation.
Yes there is panic buying.
Yes there is sickness.
Yes there is even death.
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.
They say that a hotel in the West of Ireland
Is offering free meals and delivery to the housebound.
Today a young woman I know
is busy spreading fliers with her number
through the neighbourhood
So that the elders may have someone to call on.
Today Churches, Synagogues, Mosques and Temples
are preparing to welcome
and shelter the homeless, the sick, the weary
All over the world people are slowing down and reflecting
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.
To Love.
So we pray and we remember that
Yes there is fear.
But there does not have to be hate.
Yes there is isolation.
But there does not have to be loneliness.
Yes there is panic buying.
But there does not have to be meanness.
Yes there is sickness.
But there does not have to be disease of the soul
Yes there is even death.
But there can always be a rebirth of love.
Wake to the choices you make as to how to live now.
Today, breathe.
Listen, behind the factory noises of your panic
The birds are singing again
The sky is clearing,
Spring is coming,
And we are always encompassed by Love.
Open the windows of your soul
And though you may not be able
to touch across the empty square,

By Brother Richard
Capuchine Franciscan Friar
(Source: Franciscan Seculars)

About the Author

On 13th March 2020, Brother Richard Hendrick, a Capuchin Friar, who regularly shares his poems on Facebook, penned some very thought-provoking words about the world’s struggle with CoronaVirus – Covid-19 – A poem called Lockdown.  Since then, his poem has been shared 39,000 times and read on BBC’s Radio London.

Yes there is fear, but there does not need to be hate.
Yes there is isolation, but there does not have to be loneliness.
Yes there is sickness, but there does not have to be disease of the soul.

Brother Richard

Brother Richard is a Franciscan Friar of the Irish Province and is currently the Provincial Director of Youth Ministry for the Capuchins in Ireland.

What is the Capuchin?

Capuchin was a member of the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin (O.F.M.Cap.), an autonomous branch of the first Franciscan order of religious men. began as a reform movement in 1525 by Matteo da Bascio. The lives of its early members were defined by extreme austerity, simplicity, and poverty, and though this has been to some extent mitigated, the order remains very strict.

In his reforms, Matteo da Bascio sought to return to a literal observance of the rule of St. Francis of Assisi and to introduce elements of the solitary life of hermits. Matteo was concerned that the habit (religious uniform) worn by the Franciscans was not one that St. Francis had worn; accordingly, he made himself a pointed hood (Italian cappuccino, from which the order takes its name), allowed his beard to grow, and went about barefooted. Matteo was soon joined by others.

The Capuchins are noted for their heroic ministry during the deadly epidemics that plagued Europe and elsewhere from the 16th to the 18th century.  The order remains actively engaged in missionary and social work. (Source Encylopedia Brittanica)

From My Point of View

While this poem was penned in 2020, Brother Richard’s message echos on.

Debora Buerk
The Write Stuff
Looking at life from a different point of view.

Featured image: Holy Trinity and Capuchin Monastery in Cork, Ireland, established 1889,