Home » Essay » Poetic Essay: “On Mankind’s Bloody Resume”

Poetic Essay: “On Mankind’s Bloody Resume”

I tried to experiment again with form and shape, starting with a thought I had, born from a museum visit and discussions with my dad. Slowly but surely this piece flowed out on the page, going from dark to grey, to light in the end.


A chilly day in early fall I walk through rainy drizzle,

to seek out that museum that’s documenting war.

I pass into the history, of the violence of man,

even in our early days, we damaged each other.

A wall inside a simple room, was filled up to the brim,

of guns and swords and knives and things.

All things made to cause us harm.

The ingenuity of man, it’s nothing new to me,

but to see this dedication, this…

It chilled me to the bone.

I continued on my journey, in this old institution,

I learned about the trials of war in our ancient past.

Besides the kings and their crowns, their honor and their men,

the war also involved those, related to the soldiers.

Back in the years when Sweden was, a mighty super power,

a child could be born and live and die, in the throngs of a great army.

Even as the years went by, as kings they rose and fell,

as Sweden fell from her throne, and her armies began to rot,

the world around her kept it up, they continued their warfare.

And look at us now, our modern world, we still fight each other.

In Syria the government, they kill their very own,

in places down in Africa, warlords rule with guns.

And we the mighty western nations, we stand beside and gaze,

we cock our automatics, we target our smart bombs.

Though we seem to move away from, the atomic bomb,

we still have many weapons, that mutilate and hurt.

As I leave the museum, as I leave that history behind,

as I push aside the glorification of old warrior kings,

I think about humanity and of our world today.

How have we not moved beyond our old ancestors?

Why are there so many, so many in this world,

who still seem to feel like, that violence solves it all?

A conflict over land, a conflict over oil,

even a conflict all about slight differences in blood.

They all become excuses, to tear each other apart.

Even when we turn our eyes, to a much lower level,

yes even in our school yards, on our city streets…It’s there.

The violence between men, the cruelty we possess,

the ingenuity we have, to craft things that hurt.

A prisoner is restricted, from owning many things,

because the guards know how easily a weapon can be made.

Even when we’re unarmed, we have such crafty tongues.

Even with words we can do much, we can tear souls apart.

They say than man isn’t really a “Murdering Ape”,

that it’s only under some conditions, that violence erupts.

Yet when I look upon our world and how we treat each other,

I wonder about that assessment, there is so much that makes me sad.

But when I’m in my darkest mood, when I want to hide away,

that’s when I spot something, in the corner of my eye.

A man that reaches out to to help, the old woman that slipped on ice.

A group of people that assists, a young mother with a fallen pram.

A person that bravely jumps down, to pull someone up from the subway tracks.

Despite all that terror, despite the war and strife and pain,

despite all the horrific thing, mankind still has lots of good.

Sometimes it’s hard to notice, when our world seems especially dark,

but in our everyday lives, we live among the saints.

Those that reach out to help, without asking for a reward,

those that always have a smile to give, when we feel sad and slow.

So this is my thanks to you, to those that don’t give up.

That despite how cruel we can be, refuse to be like that.

Though my own insecurities, my own anxieties,

might make it hard for me to help, I might try to be like you.

I might not perform the grandest gestures; I might not risk my life.

But I will try to be helpful and contribute to all the goodness in our world.

And every time the news gives me, a reminder of the bad,

I will probe the internet, other channels for the good.

Because the worst that we can do, though faced with so much horror,

is to give up all of our hope, that it can’t get any better.

It is in our darkest moments that the light can shine brightly through.

When the efforts of our fellow men, can help bring forth a better world.


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