Friday, August 30, 2013

The Morning Reading: "So hope for a great sea-change on the far side of revenge"

Philoctetes, by James Berry

an excerpt from The Cure at Troy,
a translation of "The Philoctetes," by Sophocles.
-Seamus Heaney

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.

The innocent in gaols
Beat on their bars together.
A hunger-striker's father
Stands in the graveyard dumb.
The police widow in veils
Faints at the funeral home.

History says, don't hope
On this 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 further shore
Is reachable from here.
Believe in miracle
And cures and healing wells.

Call miracle self-healing:
The utter, self-revealing
Double-take of feeling.
If there's fire on the mountain
Or lightning 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.

March on Washington, Aug. 28, 1963

Seamus Heaney (April 3, 1939- August 30, 2013)

New York Times obituary here.



Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting this.

the other L

Anonymous said...

Between my finger and my thumb,
The squat pen rests; snug as a gun.

Love Heaney.


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