Lent 31 – Life Goes On and Life Wins

Posted: March 16, 2016 by leighannegreenwood in Lent

Below is an extract from a poem called The Cure at Troy by Seamus Heaney. I first came across it in the preface to a book called This Was Not Our War, which tells the stories of twenty two Bosnian women seeking to reclaim peace in their country.

Their words are utterly heartbreaking, but there is also great encouragement in them. The main part of the book ends with Mediha Filipovic, the only female member of parliament in the first Bosnian national assembly, a woman who lived through the siege of Sarajevo, saying “In the end, good will prevail. Life goes on, and life wins”. I hold onto that, and I think these verses capture something of her defiant hope.

(Today’s image is taken from the front cover of the book, and shows a girl holding a dove in a camp for refugees from Srebrenica, where around eight thousand Bosniak men and boys were killed over the course of a few days in July 1995. Copyright Tarik Samarah.)

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.


40thoughts: make pancakes

40acts: beeline

Leeds Prayer Diary: Festival Angels


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