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Page 12


Poems about struggle and humanity are listed on the index of poems

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poems of humanity
Voraciously breeding
In dank and foul quarters
Hidden from the light
Not within ourselves
For we stand above reproach--
But lurking somewhere
Behind dark, alien eyes.

Fear not so much
The brute and unexpected
Razor bite--
But the slow infection
That drills down
Into our marrow.

See how in the name of Love
And Honor
And Truth
We selflessly sacrifice
To ferret out
The ungodly, slimy beast!

Have we not succeeded
The black milk stopped,
The barbed wire rotted--
How clean and bright
We shine
With our laurels gleaming
In the eye of the sacred

Yet, how far, my friends,
Have we really come?
A worm inhabits
Even the purest heart--

Reason still sycophant
To the untamed claw,
Self-righteous shrieks
From every direction--
Has our justice evolved
Higher than this:
More diabolical axes?

Oh, the sadness, the pain
Of humanity!
Will the cleansing
Of the mushroom
Take our grievance to the world

Perhaps if we dive
(Dare we try? We might not breath)
To fathom
The heretic cause:

In the cold eyes of
Our foe
Behind his savage mask
Is a vision
We must not meet--

The other part of ourselves.

poems of humanity
Once long, long ago
We awakened
To a transfiguring dawn
Strangely shifted
From our familiar
And on our shoulders
Handsomely bigger

In no time at all
We became quite obsessed
With fire,
There was no going back
After that, so
We vigorously sharpened
Our stone axes
And felt much satisfaction
Hunting down
And roasting
Fresh slabs of meat,
On occasion closely
Resembling our own;

Bellies full, we slept,
We multiplied,
One day falling into
We didn't have much
To fret about
Except being eaten
But even so
Something restless
Though not unpleasant
Inside our guts;

The Earth paid scant
Attention to
Our antics,
Obediently circling in
Its track
Another million times
Until one thunder
We were quite dazzled
To discover
Our skulls had bloomed
To still a larger size;

At the end that day,
Our knives and spears
Wiped clean
And darkness wrapping
Its secrets
Around our bare behinds,
We huddled together
At the mouth of a cave
And gazing upward
At the bright yellow
And glittering lights,
Without any warning
We were ambushed
By a strange thought
That sent a shiver
Up our hairy spines:

What happens to us
When our body stops?

We nursed the seeds of
What we faintly
Felt compelled to sketch
On cavern walls,
Covered our flesh
First with hides
And then with woven cloth;
The itch within us
To ascend
Above our two-legged selves
Squeezed and stretched
Our great aching brains
A marvelous realization
Gurgled up
And poured like honey
Out of our heads:
Behind every existing
Whether brook or tree
Was a powerful entity;

Catapulted toward
By our inspired ideals,
Our urge to rule every
Patch of dirt
And living thing
Irresistibly appealing,
We hammered and bent
The laws of nature,
We dug up our future
Out of the ground,
We reshaped the world
To fit
Our meanest desires
And greatest dreams,
And in the spirit of
Our monolithic ambition,
We traded in
Our lesser gods;

Though opinions would
Sometimes differ
On the finer points of right
And wrong,
When inventing rules
About pork and beef
Or the proper disposal
Of our beloved dead,
We were for the most
Part agreed
Our intentions were good,
And those who complied
Could pretty much count
On safe passage,
While those who took
An unsanctioned path
Were summarily damned;

On our magnificent voyage,
Always moving ahead
Of ourselves,
We tied together the curving
Ends of the sea
And made ourselves lighter
Than air,
We hurled ourselves toward
The Moon
And farther still,
We broke open the atom
And then the hidden codes
Within our cells--
There was absolutely nothing
That could hold us back;

And then it happened
One autumn afternoon,
Our routine rudely
When a hairless biped
With a certain magnetic appeal
And a skull more
And certainly not as large
As ours
Arrived from a distant
Or so he claimed,
Where hate and violence
And even greed
Supposedly were absent,
Where reason alone
Ruled supreme
On that incredibly bleak
And faithless desert;

On the six o'clock news
This stranger pontificated--
Rather sanctimoniously
It seemed--
That he had witnessed
This humanoid pattern
Of encouraged addictions
To untethered beliefs,
This intimate mixture
Of loving and killing
On a surprising number
Of other planets
Far less primitive than ours;

And then this alien thing,
Bankrupt of hope
And void of remedy,
His ugly nose pointed up,
Disrespectfully quipped:
Our measuring stick
Was not fixed at one end,
But bent like a hoop,
Our circuits and switches
Wired up wrong,
Our scintillating jelly
Beautifully evolved,
But intrinsically flawed;

It soon became apparent
This menace, this fiend
Was the very same beast
That rises within us,
Whenever we neglect
Our ancient laws;
Though a few sympathizers,
Whose brains were shaped
More narrow than the rest,
Foolishly objected,
The monster was promptly
Thrown into jail
And tried for treason
And a dozen other
Sound and practical reasons
And then unanimously voted
A one way trip
In the electric chair;

A few weeks later,
A decent fellow belonging to
Our tribe
Deciphered the deeper
Of the sign that had been
A rebirth he knew
Was sorely needed
To strengthen the bond
To our convictions
And so
Joyfully pushed a button
To jolt us all
From our devil's sleep;

A brilliant black-petalled
Gloriously unfolded
And before we could
Reappraise our situation,
Day imploded
Into night
And we went the way
Of the dinosaurs.

When the confusion
Eventually settled
And the stars again
Made their quiet entrance,
(Although regrettably
None of us
Had the presence of mind
To record the event),
A centipede casually
Crawled out
From under a fragment
Of man-made cement.

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