Poems

Arrogance

Wandered brood of Adam,
lost, bewildered people,
hear what I have to say.
 
Stop for a moment before the mountains
and for the simple sake of awe
be humbled, let your tears fall.
 
Look to, look through the air above,
be moved by the sight of stars,
watch their bodies wheel.
 
Ask the thunder, see what lightning says,
the rain-bearing wind which blows
the good grey cloud, ask them.
 
The camel's old keen for her calf,
be hushed and hear it, hear how
the birds' song weeps with it: weep with them too.
 
How the sea sounds out its old chorus,
what moves in its abyssal womb:
acknowledge these and what they mean.
 
Examine the earth at your feet,
the rush of the rivers,
raise your eyes to the clouds.
 
Glimpse what lies above
the auroral mist, the winds,
understand what these things have to say.
 
The scent of wild acacia -
inhale it, relish it, and
delight in the green of pastures.
 
Count up the lineage of all life,
mark the endless days and days:
this worthless arrogance of yours,
you have to let it go.
 
All nebulae and galaxies,
the Camel of the Southern Cross,
our own burning sun, who said these
were lit for humankind?
 
Before a man was made in this world
didn't Virgo blaze above?
Aren't all those gatherings of stars
far older than us?
Since when was their high light
kindled only for you?
 
Exactly when do you think the heavens
were told to carry out the order
‘Confine yourselves to the human race'?
If you simply ceased to be
wouldn't their light continue?
Wouldn't it be then as it is now?
 
Wandered brood of Adam,
your bluster is a lie.
You shared this womb with all
wild things that roam,
all roots that flourish,
you entered this world together.
 
All creation is your cousin,
each creature your equal
and you share an ancestor:
all living things are to you
as stick is to bark, bark to stick.
You and they are like two eyes -
when one sheds tears
the other weeps.
They were not made for you alone,
nor were they created to serve.
 
Of everything which is, half is secret -
however things appear
the meaning is always deeper.

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