Monday, January 28, 2008

The Cure at Troy - Seamus Heaney

In the New York Times several days ago, in a piece about Barack Obama and the politics of hope, the writer Dave Eggers quoted an excerpt from a poem titled "The Cure at Troy" by the Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney. The poem has stayed with me partly because in that very first reading it made me think about the situation in Pakistan where even though optimism seems to be in short supply there is still the lingering sense of hope exemplifed by the courageous lawyers and judges in their struggle for law and justice.

from "The Cure at Troy"

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 or 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 a further shore
is reachable from here.
Believe in miracles
and cures and healing wells.

Call the 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.


Anonymous said...

hey Fawad. Finally found your blog. Thanks for the pointer to the Dalyrimple article -- i plan to read it tonight.

Next time you go to see Dylan let me know! Cheers Ammar

Fawad Zakariya said...

Ammar, glad to see you here. I did take the opportunity to see Dylan in August when the rest of the family was visiting the East Coast. It was great to see him live. To be honest I had no idea he was still doing so many live gigs.

Anonymous said...

I ended up here in search of more Seamus Heaney stuff, but instead found a nice blog.

You are going on my GReader!

Anonymous said...

no feed or am I missing it?

Anonymous said...

Last night my wife and I were at the Southern Inaugural Ball, where the Bidens and Obamas appeared just after midnight. It was great of course to see Obama, but what stayed with me was Biden's extolling of Irish poetry and the excerpt he recited (the same as the one you bolded in your post) from Heaney's Cure at Troy.

Unknown said...

Selfishness must always be forgiven you know, because there is no hope of a cure. See the link below for more info.