I had never heard of Tomos Roberts before April 2020. Then I happened to hear his poem “The Great Realisation,” on YouTube and thought it was the most wonderful commentary on the pandemic I had heard. Little did I realize that millions of others thought the same or that, in a few short weeks, it had been translated into multiple languages, including Arabic, Hebrew, German, Spanish, French, Italian and Russian. Since the poem was released, Roberts has been flooded with requests, all urging Roberts to turn his virtual tale into a bound book that parents can read to their own children.
I transcribed it into My Covid Diary describing it as a simple rhyming bedtime story I hoped my grandchild would read to his children, a future commentary on our 2020 crisis. And I hope these little ones of the future will react as Roberts’ little brother, Cai, does on the YouTube presentation. “Tell me the one about the virus again”. “Why did it take a virus to bring people back together?” Cai asks toward the end. “Sometimes,” Roberts replies, “you have to get sick, my boy, before you get better.”
Although the poem deals with the heavy themes of corporate greed, familial alienation, the pandemic, it has a happy ending as a “great realisation” sparked by the scourge.
The stories I listened to as a child, and that later I read to my children were about kings and queens and witches. They told about a variety of miseries and misfortunes that befell children; however, they ended up ‘happy ever after’ and taught lessons of friendship and trust and bravery and resilience. So here is the modern day equivalent where we hear about corporate greed, familial alienation, the pandemic. And why shouldn’t this pandemic bring good as well as disruption. Instead of going back to ‘normal’ why can’t go somewhere even better than before?
There have been some incredibly dark times in human history, followed by times of light and hope: wars followed by peace, pandemics followed wellness. We go through difficult and dark times but they don’t last forever. The human spirit is so resilient and we rise again. Listen to this amazing poem and be lulled by the soft sleepy music in the background to high hopes and pleasant dreams.