November 12 – once in a lifetime

once in a lifetime
wave of justice can rise up
hope and history rhyme

Inspired by the excerpt below from The Cure at Troy by 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.

The Cure at Troy: A Version of Sophocles’ Philoctetes is a verse adaptation by Seamus Heaney of Sophocles’ play Philoctetes. It was first published in 1991. The story comes from one of the myths relating to the Trojan War. It is dedicated in memory of poet and translator Robert Fitzgerald. (wikipedia)

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