Thinking Aloud: “On the Far Side of Revenge”

Mar. 17, 2014 by Darius 

While doing research on Northern Ireland, I re-discovered a passage from Irish poet Seamus Heaney’s book The Cure at TroyThe Cure at Troy is Heaney’s adaptation of Sophocles’s play Philoctetes and takes place during the Trojan War.  It is about the need for reconciliation in order to move forward.  Heaney wrote his adaptation with South Africa in mind, but many also see parallels to Northern Ireland.

To mark St. Patrick’s Day, I thought I’d share this passage from the end of The Cure at Troy:

“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.”
 
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