Animals and Angels

Rabid animals we
Sunk to the levels of our ancestors
As will our children sink.

We rage at the others
Frantically biting at their necks
Caged only by our primal bloodlust.

Clawing in the dark
Dependent on whatever strength we muster
To power over others, to push them into oblivion.

~ ~ ~ ~

Brooding angels we
Rising to the level of our ancestors
As will our children rise.

We carry the others
Putting pressure on their precious necks
Freed by our relentless pursuits.

Shining the small light
Dependent on the angels to our flanks
To power over darkness, and push it back for just another minute.

~ ~ ~ ~

All within a single heart.

15 comments on “Animals and Angels

  1. Over my head Luke, but I think I just read an incredible poem regarding the struggle between light and dark within all of us. Bravo.

    • Thanks! Yeah I added that line at the end to speak to the duality part. I didnt want it to appear to divide humanity into two sections: good guys and bad guys. I believe in the Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn outlook:
      “If only it were all so simple! If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?”

      • This reminds me of a poem Anne Bradstreet wrote in the mid-1600s, Flesh and Spirit. My classmates raked her across the coals for writing about a sanctimonious woman so judgmental about her “sister”… but my interpretation was that both sides of the argument represented the sincere internal struggle to become the better person she wanted to be, rather than caving in to weakness when life is sometimes (often) hard. It was a surprisingly honest look inward at a time when it would seem better to pretend to already be perfect.

      • shooten1st

        That’s excellent Luke. I’ve never read it before. I think it’s every decision we make in each moment that makes us good, evil, kind, indifferent, or good. Some are better at than others.

  2. Luke,

    Such perfect artwork to go along with such a deep poem.

    Truly, in that one heartbeat to the next we have the choice to decide don’t we? Freewill…a blessing and a curse for there is no one really to blame for our own decisions. Our associations, those may not always be our own, but our freewill…for we serve a God that choose not to want robots. On/off. Thump.

    Grace and mercy.

    For those beats that require a flashlight in the dark.



    • Like and agree, T3. You have your own way with words.

    • Thank you for the kind words. And I got lucky with the artwork — sometimes it’s hard to find stuff I can use, but I thought this was apt. I’m glad it struck a chord!

      Free will is such an interesting concept. Can a beast comprised of chemicals and electrical signals actually have free will? Or are they just the product of an incredibly long, but ultimately finite pinball machine effect — chemicals bouncing around in the universe and all on one path, theoretically predictable but not to us?

      Personally, I think that free will exists, and like morality it is transcendent of our physical existence. And this existence of free will is why most of us believe that people are accountable for their actions, even if they verbally say that free will cannot exist.

  3. Curiously Luke, in a recent book I read, if the author were to condense his meaning into a few paragraphs your poem would perfectly express his themes; what is mankind, humans capable of doing to survive? I could be totally off on this, it has been a long time since I have dissected poetry and interpreted the authors meaning. But, I liked it.

    • Thank you! May I ask what book?
      And yeah, it sort of speaks to mankind’s ability to do great good and great evil, and that ability lies within all of us. I think your dissection is correct!

      • Book is Love Thy Neighbor by Peter Maass, Journalist with Washington Post, war correspondent in Bosnia from 1991 – late 93 or 94.

  4. You’ve got mad prose skills, dawg…

  5. The power and consequences of choice captured uniquely. Thoroughly enjoyed it, Luke. You have a talent for poetic imagery.

    I like that you sourced Solzhenitsyn in your comments. He, along with Tolstoy and Dostoevsky have informed a lot of my thinking over the years. They certainly lived the darkness that could be found in the human soul.

    • War and Peace is actually my brother’s favorite book, but I haven’t read it myself! I’m trying to get through The Gulag Archipelago by Solzhenitsyn right now, but I admittedly haven’t gotten far haha. More focusing on the Old Man and the Sea right now, which I have never read.

      • W & P is a slog but worth it once you get through it. lol The Gulag was a hard read just for man’s inhumanity to man. One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich might be a shorter read for you than Gulag but just as meaty. There are so many great books out there. You will need another few lifetimes to read them all. lol

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