To be human


we lived in caves
roughly grabbing each
coarse culinary opportunity
slowly, slowly picking up skills
shaping stones into weapons and tools
inventing instruments for ease and improvement
no longer in caves; our dwellings were of straw and clay
of wood cut and shaped, of weighted stone carried by slaves
comfort and pleasure, power and supremacy were our aims
though the torn bodies of our victims piled high
we decietfully described every act as civilized
we distanced ourselves from all instinct
brick by brick as sweat dripped
on land stolen from the weak
we built castles in sinking sand
now we struggle to keep them
but aside from the lucky
only the strong

©Jane Paterson Basil


6 thoughts on “To be human

    1. I had to rein myself in. It was meant to be a haiku: once we lived in caves / we learnt, we built, we struggled / not to lose it all.
      But that didn’t say what I wanted it to, so it became a tanka, but that wasn’t enough either. As a human race, we need to take account of our errors and crimes before it’s too late.
      Maybe we will…

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Collette.I’m pleased you noticed. It’s supposed to look like a flint spearhead. If I’d improved the shape any more it would have ruined the flow, but I think it works.
      The sand sculpture’s great, isn’t it? I’d love to lay claim to it, but I’m afraid I got it from Pixabay. I found it after writing the poem, and changed the words slightly to make it work better with the image. Originally I had castles in the sky, but I think sand works better.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Spearhead makes sense for the shape 🙂 I liked how it looked as though if you could slide it up over the lower part of the picture it might fit very neatly into that similar shape in view before the doorway. The shape of your poem also reminded of a fleur de lys type shape (my spelling maybe wrong!) Or generally those found in ancient carvings and architecture. It definitely echoes various historical potentials and enhances your poem. Even without the shape or the pic it’s excellent poetry 😀 real pleasure to read it.

        Liked by 1 person

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