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What holy rite
can halt this spreading pain?

What sort of ritual
could ease this throbbing, sap the venom from the sun
repair a broken time line
patch the soul of a broken society?

What ancient herb
could help us sleep at night?
Is there a magic drug that can endure our pain?
an acronym to make
a crib death less dead
a therapy that can make our suffering sweet?

Is there
some pagan festival
that can undo our mistakes
and make peace with the past?
sort of revolution
could give my father back
his childhood
my mother, her husband
or my children what they needed

Give an Indian his land
or a slave his dignity
Restore eleven million West Europeans
nine million Russians
twenty million Chinese
nine million medieval women

What bold new painting
can reflect this slow despair?
And if one should
what could it do
for anyone?

What mystic tune
could flow all this away?
Is there some sacred poem
stronger than the past
and our present vanities?
Stronger in its order than our instabilities
Can it purge me of this rage?
Can it cleanse me of these memories?
gift from the divine
Orphean tune
could restore your touch to me?
Is there nowhere I can turn?
Is there no ancient quest
than inevitability?

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