Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Human Being

Another poem by Adrian Mitchell, this time an insightful observation on the human condition through analysis of our differences and achievements (sic). This poem won the coveted "Poem for Space" poll held in 2005 by the Poetry Society for National Poetry Day; voted the favourite to be sent into space, in the hope that it would be read in the near and distant future as a statement of who we are. I think Adrian nailed it, enjoy:


look at your hands
your beautiful useful hands
you’re not an ape
you’re not a parrot
you’re not a slow loris
or a smart missile
you’re human

not british
not american
not israeli
not palestinian
you’re human

not catholic
not protestant
not muslim
not hindu
you’re human

we all start human
we end up human
human first
human last
we’re human
or we’re nothing

nothing but bombs
and poison gas
nothing but guns
and torturers
nothing but slaves
of Greed and War
if we’re not human

look at your body
with its amazing systems
of nerve-wires and blood canals
think about your mind
which can think about itself
and the whole universe
look at your face
which can freeze into horror
or melt into love
look at all that life
all that beauty
you’re human
they are human
we are human
let’s try to be human


© 2004, the estate of Adrian Mitchell
From: The Shadow Knows
Publisher: Bloodaxe Books, Tarset, 2004
ISBN: 9781852248000

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