Dear CTK community
I hope you are all keeping safe and well.
On the first day of lockdown all those weeks ago, I hesitantly ventured out of my house to take a walk. Normally congested roads were empty; shops, takeaways, factories & schools were closed, and the skies were clear of planes arriving or departing from Manchester airport. How the world has changed since then!
These rapid changes have presented all of us, both as individuals and as a society, with a great many challenges. However, I hope this situation has also provided us with a time to reflect and consider new opportunities which, in the future might make our world a better place to live for everyone.
You may have seen this poem by Tom Roberts which was released on YouTube shortly after the lockdown started. The poem takes the form of a bedtime story being told to a young child in the future. In it, Roberts describes pre-pandemic life as “a world of waste and wonder, of poverty and plenty” that comes to a halt when the virus hits. Although the mood is initially sombre, the poem ends with an uplifting message of optimism and a hope that the ‘Great Realisation’ will help us all see what’s really important in life.
The Great Realisation, by Tom Roberts
”Tell me the one about the virus again, then I’ll go to bed.
‘But my boy, you’re growing weary, sleepy thoughts about your head.
‘Please! That one’s my favourite. I promise just once more.
‘Okay, snuggle down my boy, though I know you know full well
The story starts before then, in a world I once would dwell
‘It was a world of waste and wonder, of poverty and plenty
Back before we understood why hindsight’s 2020
‘You see the people came up with companies to trade across all lands.
But they swelled and got bigger than we ever could have planned
‘We’d always had our wants, but now it got so quick.
You could have everything you dreamed of in a day and with a click.
‘We noticed families had stopped talking. That’s not to say they never spoke.
But the meaning must have melted and the work life balance broke.
‘And the children’s eyes got squarer and every toddler had a phone.
They filtered out the imperfections but amidst the noise, they felt alone.
‘And every day the sky grew thicker, til we couldn’t see the stars.
So, we flew in planes to find them while down below we filled our cars.
‘We’d drive around all day in circles. We’d forgotten how to run.
We swapped the grass for tarmac, shrunk the parks till there were none.
‘We filled the sea with plastic cause our waste was never capped.
Until each day when you went fishing, you’d pull them out already wrapped.
‘And while we drank and smoked and gambled, our leaders taught us why,
It’s best to not upset the lobbies, more convenient to die.
‘But then in 2020, a new virus came our way.
The government reacted and told us all to hide away.
‘But while we were all hidden, amidst the fear and all the while,
The people dusted off their instincts, they remembered how to smile.
‘They started clapping to say thank you and calling up their mums.
‘And while the cars keys were gathering dust, they would look forward to their runs.
‘And with the sky less full of planes, the earth began to breathe.
And the beaches brought new wildlife that scattered off into the seas.
‘Some people started dancing, some were singing, some were baking.
We’d grown so used to bad news, but some good news was in the making.
‘And so, when we found the cure and were allowed to go outside,
We all preferred the world we found to the one we’d left behind.
‘Old habits became extinct, and they made way for the new.
And every simple act of kindness was now given its due.
‘But why did it take a virus to bring the people back together?’
Well, sometimes, you got to get sick, my boy, before you start feeling better.
‘Now lie down, and dream of tomorrow, and all the things that we can do.
And who knows, if you dream hard enough, maybe some of them will come true.
‘We now call it the Great Realisation, and yes, since then there have been many.
‘But that’s the story of how it started, and why hindsight’s 2020.’
Today’s Cultural Challenge:
Read about the history of Stone Henge, possibly the world’s most famous pre-historic site: