In his speech accepting the Democratic nomination for president last Thursday, Vice-President Biden quoted from a work by the great Irish poet Seamus Heaney. I was not familiar with the poem and so I had to look it up. It is from a work entitled The Cure at Troy which was an adaptation by Heaney, written in verse, of Sophocles' play, Philoctetes . Philoctetes was a Greek master archer who was abandoned on a desert island by his fellow soldiers and countrymen and was later asked by the Greeks to return to fight in the Trojan War. The work was published in 1991 and in writing it, Heaney evidently was thinking of "The Troubles" in Northern Ireland. It seems to fit equally well our own troubles of today. It is a poem for all times. Verses from The Cure at Troy by Seamus Heaney 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.
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