'Hoping it Might Be So', the title of this next poem, is a line from Hardy's wonderful poem 'The Oxen', the final line, where he's talking about the country superstition that on Christmas Eve the oxen would be kneeling in the stable, which he thinks an unlikely kind of thing to be true, but if anybody suggested that it might be the case, he would go with them, through the gloom, hoping it might be so. And my poem, really about, I suppose, the afterlife, is wondering if there might not be some sort of justification, some squaring of the account, for the terrible things that happen in life, and the six million here are the figures of the Holocaust.

Hoping It Might Be So


There must be a place where the whole of it all comes right,
Where the little boy buggered and strangled in the wood
Is comforted by his parents, and comforts his parents,
And everything horrible ever is understood,

I say:

For at least six million reasons or else no light,
No light in the day.

There must be somewhere it doesn’t happen like this,
Where reparation is made, a tous compris,
Where the drowned men rise, walk back from the boats in the evening,
And the lost child sings on her new-made father’s knee,

I say:

For at least six million reasons or else no reason
And nothing to be.

from Hoping it Might be So (Leviathan, 2000), copyright Kit Wright 2000, used by permission of the author.

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