The Furies

After seeing Hecuba at Stratford, I decided to read the Oresteia and was amazed by the invention of the Furies and their relevance. Hence having a go at several attempts to write about them:

Centuries ago the contract was struck –

To turn the Furies from savagery,

From the blind urge for violent reprisal.

The seething currents with all their richness,

Their deathly instincts, their fertility

And the rage of their rapids, no longer

To be let loose, to pull the innocent

Into nameless horrors. And in exchange

They were promised a part in the human

Drama – not a starring role but honoured

For their drive and passion. A tragedy

Of lies and deception, it has turned out.


We can’t bear their wildness, and seek to tame

Them in displays of imagined control,

In the veneer of civilisation.

They will not lie in quietness. They claw

Their path to recognition through closed doors

Of suburban houses, through bruised cheeks;

They leer on the shoulder of fame crushing

Innocence in their predatory fists;

They scrawl their bloody prints across our treasures

And spit with contempt on our ambition.


To walk our ways in justice and honour

We must embrace them, welcome them to sit

At our side – good can only come from good,

And their vicious energy can spark us

To life, hallowed by self doubt, but fertile

And generous in spirit, colourful,

Alive to our destructiveness, our need.


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