Ask the Oracle

The weight of remembrance.

In the days of constant violence and plagues, when the crops are dead with drought and fire and even the shade trees are gone, the citizens gather. The cry is help, and the answer calls to mind a riddle and a mirror, and who is the most mysterious of all?

––And the mirror answered back with a reflection, the face of the king and all behind him. But what does it take to read a body’s history? 

Ask the oracle, she’ll tell you again: not until there is justice, will you know peace in your homes and shade for your children. The old questions return: whose death continues to echo within the city walls; whose blood stains the soil of these charred acres? What severances between life and the living continue to bleed.

Bring in the blind prophet to remind the assembly of the weight of this knowledge and what it means to have it, where no gain can come except through the death of a timeworn dream. 

Nevertheless, they resisted.


I am inspired by the work of Brian Doerries and Theatre of War in placing Greek tragedies at the center of community discussions around central challenges of the moment. I jotted these notes while reviewing his translation of the Oedipus Trilogy and related notes.

Ends and Means

On the insistent impulse toward redemption.

Language, in its majestic tyranny, if it had its human origins around the time when Adam went around naming the creatures, might be blamed for the way that he then forgot to see them. And if the first visionary made fire, it’s hard not to wonder what moved her, in the moments when she crossed back from the word to the first spark.

A common scene: you’re on a bench somewhere and a parent is telling the child with the ice cream cone, Careful! Hold it up! when it is clearly only a matter of time. You watch the child, see the cone fall. Now everyone is paying attention. Oh well! is one response. Another is Too late now!

It is, as a matter of fact, too late for that once-perfect cone to be salvaged. And yet, show me a parent who is not at least gut-level moved to offer a reminder of the promise of salvation, by proving that even the fallen cone may be followed by another. Who, if there is enough money and ice cream to go around, does not want ––on some level–– to perform the promise in living form, to say, Here and See and It’s Okay? They might resist on principle or principled pathology, but still. Some inherited impulse to embody hope in renewal and redemption has a way of pushing. 

It is either too late or just beginning

or both