When she sat down at her computer one morning this spring, Kitty O’Meara didn’t intend to write an iconic poem, a children’s book or an opera. But in roughly 20 minutes, she did all three.

It all began rather innocently on Friday, March 13. “I sat down in my living room with a cup of tea next to me, my Chromebook on my lap and typed a Facebook post,” O’Meara said by phone from her home outside Madison, Wis. “It was no big deal.”

Oh, but it was. Very quickly O’Meara’s 113-word prose poem became a communal beacon of hope, attracting the attention of Oprah and opera and thousands more…