Quote - "So hope for a great sea-change On the far side of revenge"

Seamus Heaney On Suffering, Self-healing, and Hope for a Great Sea Change



To mark Joe Biden's President-elect status, RTE put together a piece on his history and voiced by him reading an excerpt from the Seamus Heaney poem “The Cure at Troy” written in 1991 - his version of Sophocles’ Philoctetes written in the fifth century BC. 

As though Heaney wrote it for this exact time as we navigate a mighty sea-change.

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.

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 farther shore
Is reachable from here.
Believe in miracles
And cures and healing wells.

Call miracle self-healing:
The utter, self-revealing
Double-take of feeling.
If there’s fire on the mountain
And 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.
It means once in a lifetime
That justice can rise up
And hope and history rhyme.


Here is Heaney’s reading:

The Cure at Troy by Seamus Heaney