(RNS) — It’s a sign of the hardship Americans are experiencing right now that so many have turned to an ancient, little understood and often unappreciated art form in their time of need:

Poetry.

How else to explain the phenomenal success of two widely shared poems by little-known writers that have, appropriately enough for this crisis, gone viral?

“And the People Stayed Home,” by Kitty O’Meara and “Pandemic” by Lynn Ungar, both initially posted to Facebook, have become sensations online, reposted everywhere. The two poems address how to deal with the anxiety of the coronavirus outbreak and the imposition of stay-at-home orders.

Both address spirituality, if not religion, more broadly:

“What if you thought of it

as the Jews consider the Sabbath—

the most sacred

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