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Saturday, October 24, 2020

'I Want Them To Believe Me'

 “I use the language I use to my friends. They wouldn't believe me if I used some high-flown literary language. I want them to believe me.” – Adrian Mitchell

Born in London on this date in 1932, Mitchell was a poet, novelist, playwright and one-time journalist who was a leading voice in Britain’s anti-bomb movement.  During his lifetime (he died in 2008), his poems on nuclear war, Vietnam and racism were so well known that they were often read and sung at demonstrations and rallies. For Saturday’s Poem here (from the International Poetry Archives) is Mitchell’s,


                HUMAN BEINGS


                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






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