Monday 16 March 2020

Lockdown - Brother Richard Hendrick

With thanks to Fr. Michael Surufka OFM: A sharing of my poem Lockdown that took place in the US yesterday... How wonderful that we can share our community even in the midst of the difficulties of this time: The text of the poem follows:


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,

March 13th 2020


  1. Lock down (Confinement) par frère Richard Hendrick (moine capucin irlandais)

    Oui, il y a de la peur.
    Oui, il y a de l'isolement.
    Oui, il y a des achats-panique.
    Oui, il y a la maladie.
    Oui, il y a même la mort.
    Ils disent qu'à Wuhan après tant d'années de bruit
    Vous pouvez à nouveau entendre les oiseaux.
    Ils disent qu'après seulement quelques semaines de calme
    Le ciel n'est plus épais de fumées
    Mais bleu et gris et clair.
    Ils disent que dans les rues d'Assise
    Les gens chantent l’un vers l'autre
    à travers les places vides,
    gardant leurs fenêtres ouvertes
    pour que ceux qui sont seuls
    puissent entendre les bruits de familles autour d'eux.
    Ils disent qu'un hôtel dans l'ouest de l'Irlande
    Offre des repas gratuits et la livraison aux confinés.
    Aujourd'hui une jeune femme que je connais
    diffuse des dépliants avec son numéro
    à travers le quartier
    Pour que les anciens aient quelqu'un à appeler.
    Aujourd'hui Églises, synagogues, mosquées et temples
    se préparent à accueillir
    et abriter les sans-abris, les malades, les fatigués
    Partout dans le monde, les gens ralentissent et réfléchissent
    Partout dans le monde, les gens regardent leurs voisins différemment
    Partout dans le monde, les gens s'éveillent à une nouvelle réalité
    À notre réelle grandeur.
    À quel point nous avons peu de contrôle.
    À ce qui compte vraiment.
    Alors nous prions et nous nous souvenons que
    Oui, il y a de la peur.
    Mais que la haine n’est pas nécessaire.
    Oui, il y a de l'isolement.
    Mais que la solitude n’est pas nécessaire.
    Oui, il y a des achats-panique.
    Mais la méchanceté n’est pas nécessaire.
    Oui, il y a la maladie.
    Mais que la maladie de l'âme n’est pas nécessaire.
    Oui, il y a même la mort.
    Mais une renaissance de l’amour est toujours possible.
    Eveillez-vous aux choix que vous faites sur votre façon de vivre maintenant.
    Aujourd'hui, respirez.
    Écoutez, derrière les bruits d'usine de votre panique
    Les oiseaux chantent à nouveau
    Le ciel se dégage,
    Le printemps arrive,
    Et nous sommes toujours entourés d'Amour.
    Ouvre les fenêtres de ton âme
    Et bien que vous ne puissiez pas
    vous toucher sur la place vide,

    13 mars 2020

  2. Wow. Thanks. I am in Indiana. I live in a monastery—Benedictine. Good encouragement to make a difference.

  3. Beautiful silver lining that warms the heart. How can anyone not be touched by these sentiments?

  4. Thank you for this beautiful, uplifting message. I have shared this inspiration with all of my patients.
    Dr Guarneri

  5. Beautiful prayer. Let us become more Christ-centered as we realize and act upon the reality that we are all truly in this together. Sing.

  6. So beautiful, and exactly the spirit we need to get through this. Thank you!!!!

  7. Anderson Cooper read this in CNN. Beautiful!
    Thank you Br. Richard.

  8. Dear Brother Richard,

    Thank you so much for writing this touching poem! I have been sharing it and wanted you to know that many people have thanked me.

    Warmest wishes,

  9. Dear Brother Richard,

    Thank you so much for writing this touching poem! I have been sharing it and wanted you to know that many people have thanked me.

    Warmest wishes,

  10. Dearest Brother Richard,

    Thank you for writing this powerful poem! I shared this with many last week and the response was an overwhelming thank you from all. Just wanted you to know.

    Warmest wishes,

  11. thank you, my heart sings with hope.

  12. Brother Richard, thank you! Ed H., Prince Rupert Canada

  13. Brother-Your comments are soothing and cross all faiths.
    May God bless us all with the humanity and spirit that you express so well here.

  14. Spiritual, intuitive and integrated perspectives are what we need NOW, more than ever. When I was in China years ago the locals seemed somewhat happier in public outside of the over populated polluted cities. Hiking up the ten thousand stone steps of Hua Shan mountains, or in the far East of Yunnan province where blue sky is more common, I found that people would be singing in public, something we rarely hear here even before. May all the goodness in this poem continue FOREVER: as when the veils are lifted,
    we find simply more,
    of what was always
    already there.

  15. Beautiful expression of hope and gratitude! Praise the Lord!

  16. T. Pax et Bonum.
    Dear Br. Richard,
    I'm Anastasia H. Kim, a postulant living in the monastery of Poor Clare in Yang-yang, South Korea. My Sisters read your beautiful and meaningful poem “Lockdown”. It touched our hearts so deeply, and we hope to share your poem with all the Poor Clare Sisters in Korea, our friends and benefactors. So we are humbly asking your kind permission for this. (Of course, there would be no commercial use, we promise.) I translated your poem into Korean (Thanks to God, I’m much better at translating than writing in English. I translated and published a book written by Sr. Ilia Delio “Clare of Assisi” and got great review), and if you kindly let us do, we’re going to print it in our Easter cards, which will be sent to our Sisters, friends, and benefactors in Korea.
    Dear Br. Richard, now could I have some personal talk?  Before I enter the monastery, I often used to visit Capuchin Brothers in Seoul, Korea. Br. Laurence J. Kettle is one of my best friend. And I remember the lovely Irish Br. Edward, a devout missionary. So I first heard about you and your poem, I was even more delighted. :)
    All the Sisters in South Korea will especially pray for you and Irish Capuchin Brothers, Irish people.
    I will wait for your reply. Thank you so much.

  17. I was so disturbed witnessing all those horrifying visuals when Covid-19 almost invaded Italy, after creating havoc in Wuhan. Then I got this poem. The words you composed were so soothing to heal the pain. Thanks.

  18. Thank you for this prayer of Peace for our overwhelmed souls. I will share it and cherish it, and keep you and yours in prayer as well. I believe this situation is intended, by our God, to bring us closer to Him in many ways, not the least of which are the cleansing of our local environments, worldwide. May our faces turn to Him for Eternity.