That Which is Human

I want to make a distinction

Between “human” and Homo sapiens

“Human” is my choice

Homo sapiens is my species

And I want to make a distinction

Between “animal” and “Animalia

“Animal” is not my choice

Animalia” is not a choice

And were an ocean exists

Between “human” and “animal”

A thin, grey boundary lies

Between “Homo sapiens

And the rest of “Animalia

Because gorillas reason

Bees work

Minnows build homes

Rats parent young

Dogs Compete

Baboons fight battles

Ants take slaves

Bed bugs rape

Snakes don’t rape by the way

Despite their vileness

Every snake you’ve ever seen

Is the product of consensual sex

More than you can say about us

And horses are racist

Hawks assassinate

Owls joy kill

Lions topple dictators

Dolphins have names

Cats play

Bears hug

Doves kiss

Sparrows sing

Wrasses heal

Lots of things have sex

Even some bacteria have a penis

Made of less than one cell

How does that make you feel about your masculinity?

Everything reproduces

Everything eats

Everything kills

Everything senses

Everything changes

And I am convinced

There are only four fundamental differences

Between humans and animals

One is spite

Two is faith

Three is wonder

And four is poetry

One.

We will hurt ourselves in order to hurt others.

Others of the same species,

Of the same family

You don’t see animals doing that.

Two.

We can choose to believe in God

Or to believe there is no God

And we don’t just believe

But we act

We strive so hard to gain

What will not reward us in life

For animals there are no gods

Or even voids

And the only rewards are concrete

Three.

Humans can ask why about anything

Squirrels are curious

But they don’t have science

Because they don’t have wonder

Some monkeys have language

But they don’t have stories

Because they don’t have wonder

Elephants remember the past

But they don’t have history

Because they don’t have wonder

Only humans have philosophy

Because we have wonder

Four.

Poetry is unique to humans

And by poetry, I mean by extension, art

If a picture is paint with poetry

If a song is sound with poetry

If a play is acting with poetry

If a sculpture is material with poetry

And I will not attempt to define poetry

But you know what it is

And you know that it is human.

Now these four things are absent in animals:

Spite, faith, wonder, and poetry

And by four fundamentals

I really mean one:

Humanity is the belief that there is more to life

Than life itself

Some people don’t believe that

You can be both animal and Homo sapiens

So when I was five

And my dad asked me

If I wanted to write a poem

I said yes

Because I am human

And I kept writing

Because I am human

And I wrote to God

Because I am human

And I wrote about nature

Because I am human

And yes, I have hurt myself to hurt others

Because I am human

And I am sorry about that

Because I am Homo sapiens

What is human and what is good

Are sometimes different

Poetry, my friends

Is one place where they are the same

This poem is about: 
Me
My family
Our world
Poetry Terms Demonstrated: 

Comments

SarahthePoet

Wow! This is very interesting. What an interesting thought process. I'm not sure I agree with everything, but your poem shows a deep human mind, which I like to read.

philosophythemes

Thank you! And yeah, it's not often two people have the same exact philosohpy.

Garrett Thomas

I'm not sure how long you looked for those four differences, but as near as I can tell, those are THE four differences. Good stuff, man, keep it up.

philosophythemes

Not long. Spite is contrasted to altruism, parasitism, and mutualism in biology class and I'm not the first one to propose that faith is unique to humans. Poetry is fairly obvious I think. It took a little while to consolidate science and the humanities into "wonder," but I had some free time.

Ty47

Seriously thought provoking and i really liked this. It flowed out of me as i read, as I'm sure it flowed out of you. Nice job. Your mind is great

philosophythemes

I'm glad you enjoyed it! Thank you!

Colorless

What powerful writing! All I can say is that it kept me hooked all the way through, and left me thinking after I finished :)

philosophythemes

Oh good, I like it when I make peopel think. Even better if those thoughts are self-reflection.

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