When Hope and History Rhyme

arabic woman

From “The Cure at Troy”

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
Or lighting 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.

–Seamus Heaney

What has happened in Egypt is a beautiful thing. Tired of humiliation, the people found their courage and voice. They are inspiration to us all.

Through showing up and speaking up, everyone has led. They haven’t waited for an official leader to lead them in their revolution. They have owned it.

For many years, they had suffered, some by torture, others by the indignity of social injustice. And yet, they didn’t get “hard.” They were rightly angry but their protests were peaceful.

As Seamus Heaney says, “once in a lifetime/the longed-for tidal wave/of justice can rise up/and hope and history rhyme.”

A “great sea-change” has occurred. “A god has spoken from the sky.” The world has heard “the outcry and the birth-cry/of new life at its term.”

Justice has risen up, and hope and history have rhymed. Inshallah.

Image: Saafir