May 12, 2016

Poetic interlude

I haven't read much of Seamus Heaney (aside from his Beowulf, which was great), but I think I need to read more. By accident yesterday I came upon this selection from his Cure at Troy, which is his rendering of Sophocles' tragedy Philoctetes.


Human beings suffer.
They torture one another.
They get hurt and get hard.
No poem or play or song
Can fully right a wrong
Inflicted and endured.

History says, Don’t hope
On the side of the grave,’
 But then, once in a lifetime
 The longed for tidal wave
Of justice can rise up
And hope and history rhyme.

So hope for a great sea- change
On the far side of revenge.
Believe that a further shore
Is reachable from here.
Believe in miracles.
And cures and healing wells.

Call miracle self-healing,
The utter self revealing
Double-take of feeling.
If there’s fire on the mountain
And lightening and storm
And a god speaks from the sky

That means someone is hearing
The outcry and the birth-cry
Of new life at its term.
It means once in a lifetime
That justice can rise up
And hope and history rhyme.

Obviously, we're not there yet, but it's good to recall that such moments sometimes exist.

No comments: