you will eat

you will eat,
you will laugh at stupid things,
you will stay up all night just to see what it feels like,
you will fall painfully in love,
you will have babies of your own,
you will doubt and regret and yearn and keep a secret.
you will get old and decrepit,
and you will die,
exhausted from all that living.

that is when you get to die.

not now.

 

i wanted to skim over that night,
calcifying my shame into something blurry

and manageable,

like a rumor about a stranger.

let us all unite

i’m sorry, but i don’t want to be an emperor.
that’s not my business.
i don’t want to rule
or conquer
anyone.

i should like to help everyone–
if possible

jew,
gentile,
black man,
white.

we all want to help one another.

human beings are like that.

we want to live by each other’s happiness
not by each other’s misery.
we don’t want to hate and despise one another.

in this world there is room for everyone.
and the good earth is rich
and can provide for everyone.

the way of life can be free and beautiful,
but we have lost the way.

greed has poisoned men’s souls,
has barricaded the world with hate,
has goose-stepped us into misery and bloodshed.

we have developed speed,
but we have shut ourselves in.
machinery that gives abundance has left us in want.

our knowledge
has made us cynical.
our cleverness,
hard and unkind.

we think too much
and
feel too little.

more than machinery

we need humanity.

more than cleverness

we need kindness
and
gentleness.
let us all unite

compassion asks

compassion asks us to look into our own hearts,

discover what gives us pain,

» and then refuse «

under any circumstance whatsoever,

to inflict that pain on anybody else.

:: karen armstrong