Another sestina- I just love the form!
(Job by Bonnat)
PAY BACK TIME
Vengeance is mine; I will repay,
says the Lord. But I don’t want revenge.
Maybe I did, at first, before I could forbear.
I wanted something – justice? Oh, to heal
took a lifetime of rejecting phantom pain,
after harsh amputation. So, patience
was prescribed. Job showed requisite patience,
but could mere multiplication repay?
Would extra flocks and wives reduce his pain?
I’ve heard it said the best revenge
is not to let the bastards get you down. Heal
yourself, physician! If you can, forbear.
Somehow that is deemed a triumph. To forbear
may achieve the moral high ground. Patience
can get you nowhere, but you might just heal
and maquillage might mask the scars. Repay?
Energy is depleted by revenge
and you need energy to cope with pain.
And what about the one who caused the pain?
You track their life’s ‘success’; try to forbear;
you learn to compartmentalise revenge,
like nuclear waste, sunk beneath fathoms of patience.
You trust there are no leaks. To repay
is not to incarnadine oceans. To heal
is to let the waves lave you; tides to heal:
the salt stings, crystalises initial pain.
There is a sea called Forgetfulness. Repay?
Cast your stale bread on the waters; forbear
and each minute accretion of patience
will erect a barrier reef to revenge.
Life’s rips then seem like crude revenge;
undertows from past strandings. But as we heal,
we tear down obelisks to our patience.
We feel no need to inflict, nor nourish pain.
The wounds of Christ teach us to forebear.
His private display was not to repay
Thomas. Patience with that disciple’s pain
showed He could forebear with doubt: no revenge
repaid human weakness. He chose to heal.