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.