April 16, 2020

The Viral Poem with a “Fake News” Backstory we all Need Right Now.

Read: Elephant’s Continually-updating Coronavirus Diary. ~ Waylon


Last week, my mom sent me a viral poem that’s been making the rounds.

It was supposedly written in 1919 during the Spanish flu pandemic. It’s a beautiful piece. I loved its message and sent it out to everyone on our (Fightmaster Yoga) email list.

Some of our readers responded to let me know that the poem was not written in 1919 during the Spanish flu but actually was written recently, on March 16th, by Catherine “Kitty” O’Meara.

Oh, Internet. Why must you “embellish” the truth?!?

That poem is perfect. It doesn’t need a flashy, fake backstory.

Is it me? Or have things become much more complicated than they need to be?

It seems that now, everything needs a “hook.” Everyone has an “angle.” You must “be the brand.” If someone is already “dominating” within the category you’re in, you should “create a new category and be #1 in it!”

Apparently, writing something beautiful isn’t enough anymore. It needs a provocative backstory.

I really don’t know why O’Meara’s beautiful poem has a bogus backstory. I may be projecting, but what comes to mind is something like, “Hey, let’s say that this poem was written one hundred years ago, during another terrible pandemic so people will be compelled to share it!”

I know that the “truth is often stranger than fiction,” but can’t the “truth” also be better? Or, at least just as good?

Have we lost so much of our natural awe, wonder, and mystery in life that we must invent stories to pass off as truth? Have our standards and ideals become so high that we’d rather create and consume products with compelling origin stories—even if those stories have been faked?

Or, maybe I’m just extra tired right now.

I suppose whatever the reason behind that fictional backstory story isn’t important. Maybe it just all happened the way it was meant to. The poem is beautiful. It’s “gone viral.”

It has an important message to share:

“…And the people healed. And, in the absence of people living in ignorant, dangerous, mindless, and heartless ways, the earth began to heal.

And when the danger passed, and the people joined together again, they grieved their losses, and made new choices, and dreamed new images, and created new ways to live and heal the earth fully, as they had been healed.” ~ Catherine “Kitty” O’Meara

O’Meara looks toward the future, resonating with our desire to control the uncontrollable. To heal what has been terribly neglected.

Seemingly insurmountable tasks.

Yet the human spirit is not easily broken. The fabric of hope is woven in and through every being. Even if it isn’t visible, it is there. Threads of hope connect us. Right now, they’re getting stronger and stronger.





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Lesley Fightmaster  |  Contribution: 2,080

author: Lesley Fightmaster

Image: Catherine “Kitty” O’Meara via @ahmedeldin

Editor: Naomi Boshari