Saturday, November 12, 2011

Poem In Your Post Blog Hop: "Hope"


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.

- Seamus Heaney from The Cure at Troy

And here's another reason to love book blogging: everybody in your day to day life can get into the act too!  This one's courtesy of my mom, who's been following my Greek trend and offered it up from one of her favorite sources: "Inward/Outward" daily emails. 

And, of course, Seamus Heaney rocks.  If you haven't read his Beowulf translation or any of his multitudinous poems, perhaps you should! 

Share us a poem that landed on your doorstep or in your inbox today, or simply post whatever poem feels perfect right now...



LBC said...

Digging is my favorite Heaney poem, and I love the Beowulf translation (which is not something I thought I would say about Beowulf).

David said...


If I could be a poppy I think my life would change
I could honour all the fallen who fell where I remain
The souls would not be forgotten least not while I stand
The soldiers whose lives were given here on this bloody land

My petals would fall each evening to remind you of those we lose
Then renewed with each new morning as I cried the moist of the dew
My only fear is my petals I doubt there will be enough
To remember the lost and forgotten the generals send to the dust

Copyright David McDonald

Parrish Lantern said...

Vita Brevis - Durs Gr├╝nbein

In a rotten nutshell, I grew up amid the barrenness and confusion
That lie in wait for anything that mistakes itself. Among stoolies and spies,
I risked my neck on the empty parade ground, kept shtum in the silent masses,
A clown with seven tongues, a choirboy with an ear for cynical jokes.
Unasked, I spoke as others might spit, out of the side of my mouth,
And masked my own shocking helplessness with black humour.
History was no use to me, all it showed was human failings anyway.
Where I grew up, greatness was something you read about in saints’ lives.

Imbibed with my reading was hypocrisy. In a few infantile etudes,
I played doubting Thomas to the devout, Peter the Rock to heretics.
I saw the zero beribboned, and the colossus ground down by dwarves.
The born deserter: sooner die than take aim at the heart.
I puked out of tanks, cried myself to sleep in barracks.
Shaved my skewed grin over a bucket, under canvas.
I did in my knee at football, but my soul fared much worse.
How often I would come home with the lie on my lips: ‘All right. Nothing much.’
I stacked files to feed the shredder, applied green paint to trees,
Fantasized about everything under the sun, and a few things that aren’t.
Utopia, for instance... Ever since Thomas More, those isles have been bleak.
In the concrete wastes, I embraced my first scrawny body.
For want of lilies, I sniffed the garbage on the breeze, guzzled the aromas
Of canteen and abattoir, and the stench of overcrowded trains.
A palace in grey concrete was my Ecole des Beaux Arts,
Where the classrooms chorussed: Muse, excuse me if I lie...
I had all the time in the world for reflection, but there was nothing
To shake a stick at. The new bibles weren’t worth the paper
They were printed on, and the only lesson for living was: Do without.

A prison reglement. It was all a long time ago, and lo, I’m still here.
Where states melted away like sand castles, and illusion was at a premium,
It was second nature to me to turn the music up, and softly hum
The two or three lines that were sufficient to put the country
Under water. As I embarked on my sentimental journey
Through nettle fields and villages, the other way to the exodus,
The sergeant’s Russian bawl: ‘Dawai, dawai!’ was still ringing in my ear.
Nostalgia’s falsetto recommended something exotic before you hand in
Your dinner pail. What say the Hawaiian beaches?

(Trans: Michael Hofmann)

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