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A poem about forgiveness ​

It was unintentional. 


It was a kind of lack of judgment. 


It was a kind of thoughtlessness. Perfect thoughtlessness and yet so imperfect. 


We apologise for what we said. What we did. We apologise for what we didn’t do. 


We apologise for being at the right place at the right time, wrong place at the wrong time, right place at the wrong time and the wrong place at the right time. We never meant to. Never meant any of this, it wasn’t meant to be like this. We meant to be decent. Protective. Aggressive. We meant to foresee, persevere. We meant to be celebrated. 


But you have no sense of humour. Not about these things. 


We are men. We did not understand ourselves they way you understood us. You understood us and we misspoke and that is our fault. We never meant to hurt anyone. We’ll take the blame for this one. This failure to communicate. This lack of a sense of humour. We are the ones who aren’t funny. 


If our excuses ruffled anyone’s feathers then we apologise. We meant no harm. Didn’t mean to hurt anyone. We are sincere. Respectfully sincere. We ask for forgiveness and apologise and beg for pardon. 

Then we meet in court.  Meet in front of a judge. We deliberate in a smoke-filled back room somewhere and find a common solution. You forgive me despite your mother. I forgive you despite my mother. 


Now everyone is reconciled. 


We reconcile but our mothers do not speak. Our mothers reconcile despite us. Our fathers become mediators. Our brothers seek vengeance and our sisters cry on their pillow. Our children get bullied. Our spouses can’t find work. We get driven out of town. Driven out to the countryside. Out of the country and we publicly apologise. We have failed we say. It’s the generation. It’s the society. The small town and the multitudes. We learned it from the television. Read it in a book. Found it online. We have failed online. Failed on the television. 


Do we not know deep down inside that we are not evil? Do we not know? Deep down inside those who know us know that we are not evil. Do they not know? Deep down they say that we are not evil. We hear them. We do not particularly listen but we still hear them. It’s just that no one can be trusted anymore. 

We do not ask for forgiveness in order to have our honour restored. Will not have our honour restored. We never earned it. We ask for forgiveness because it is the right thing to do. Because we feel ashamed. Without honour. Most proper would be if we got the chance to confess our guilt in front of a district court judge, repeat our guilt in front of a supreme court judge and yet again in front of the almighty. No one forgives like the almighty. But it is not forgiveness we seek. That would be dishonest and we are not dishonest. We mean every word. Sincerely and respectfully. Mean them from the bottom of our hearts. Forgive us. You must forgive us. We cannot bear it if you don’t forgive us. We cannot bear not to ask for forgiveness. 


The shame is suffocating. The shaming is deafening. Don’t. Lump. 


We stand on our feet. We are men. We are human beings. We are humans. We beg your pardon. We are full of regret and we’re not sorry. That’s just the way it is. The fault is ours and we are not ashamed to admit it. Our bad. This will not repeat itself. Not if we have anything to say about it. 


This shame will not be returned, this is our shame. This shame won’t be returned to anyone else. We will take it. Returned. Recycled. Return the shame to us. We will take care of it. 


This is our shame. You know. 


Forgive us such as we. You know. 


Those that have trespassed. 


All settled now. :-(


No one shows as much humility in their shame and if anyone shows as much humility in their shame then we apologise. 


We were simply trying to be funny. This was our lack of judgment. 


Somehow we never thought anyone would get upset. That was totally our misunderstanding. Our lack of judgment. We apologise, or in any case I do, if you are not man enough. If I hurt anyone I never meant to. It wasn’t you, it was me. You have never done anything to deserve such a treatment. Never done anything that I can recall. Never said you’re sorry. I’m sorry. Unceremoniously. Unequivocally. Unconditionally. Despite my mother. Despite everyone present. I apologise even though you won’t forgive, even though you won’t ask for forgiveness. I will not defend myself. I am evil. That is simply how it is. There’s something wrong in me. Something wrong with me. A devil or two. The devil wrong with me. God damn. God damn it. 


I am clearly ready to forgive and you are not. But I will not wait for you to be ready to forgive, don’t need to, I forgive unconditionally. I forgive without you being ready to ask for forgiveness. You forgive without me asking for forgiveness. I forgive and you forgive but the law sees things differently. The law agrees to forgive but the public sees things differently. I am ostracised. You are ostracised. We meet on the mountain. Compare notes and face reckoning for our actions. Our mothers see things differently. 


One after another we ask for forgiveness. 


One after another. Do penance. Take reformation. Help out with the cleaning. One after another. Salvation must not end here. This is violence and violence concerns the law. The law is incapable of salvation and so we must intervene. One after another. Someone must defend the defenceless. If we plead for mercy, plead for forgiveness and get our honour restored there will be no one to see to it that justice is done. That nothing gets left over. No deviations. No wrinkles. 


No one to settle the books, no one to make sure that everything is as it should be. 


But us. 


And so on and so forth. 

Translation: EÖN

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