A complete reconciliation poem addresses these five challenges:

  1. What is going on?
  2. What bad advice do people offer up to justify staying stuck?
  3. What interruption occurs?
  4. What can happen as a result of this interruption?
  5. What advice do you have for people now?

Not all poems have to be complete reconciliation poems. Some can focus on just one part of the process (explaining the problem, lamenting the problem, examining what hope look like).

Here’s one of the best reconciliation poems:

Sophocles, 496-405 BCE trans. Seamus Heaney

THE CURE AT TROY, excerpt

Human beings suffer,
they torture one another,
they get hurt and get hard.

History says, Don’t hope
on this side of the grave.
But then, once in a lifetime
the longed for tidal wave
of justice can rise up,
and hope and history rhyme.

So hope for a great sea-change
on the far side of revenge.
Believe that a further shore
is reachable from here.
Believe in miracles
and cures and healing wells.