“They Torture One Another”

annie-spratt-469167

“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.”

― Seamus Heaney

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