Reflecting Now – Words and Music in a Region of My Mind*

May 5th, 2013

In the midst of your learning, I hope your reflection continues.

I look for poetry in the ordinary and grace from the terrible.  The chorus at the end of The Cure at Troy in Seamus Heaney’s translation of Sophocles’ The Philoctetes keeps me hopeful:

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.

And, of course, music brings the tone for my active reflection.


* a shoutout to James Baldwin

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