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Poetry: “Close relatives”

A poem inspired in part by a new movie.


Close relatives


This is

A planet of the apes

Not like in the movies

So do not get me wrong

I simply mean that

We are all of us

All of us humans


The third chimpanzee

Sharing so many genes

With our primate brethren

We may be distant cousins

But it is true

We shared a common ancestor

Way back in Africa

We left the safety of the forest

While they remained behind

Though separated

By space and time

There is a kinship there

If you only care to look

Or perhaps you cannot look

As the similarities are unsettling


Cannot stare a chimpanzee in the face

We see in them

Our own brutality

Our own temper tantrums

Our pecking orders

Safer then

To visit the bonobos

Making love not war

Gender does not matter

When it comes to sex

An embrace

A soft touch

Watch and learn


How distressing is it then

That in this version

Of the war of the planet of the apes

We are winning

The other primates

Slowly fading

The orangutans

Our most forest dwelling kin

Have almost no home left

Because of palm tree oil farms

Soon they might be gone

A limb on the family tree


Gorillas too

Need our help

All of the primates do


The third chimpanzee

The strongest of all the apes

We take what we want

Not caring about the consequences


Perhaps we would deserve it

If our cousins did rise up

And beat us back

They could, you know

Being so strong

Or we could just remember

That we are the smart ones

And see our own mistakes

See the errors of our ways

And change

Make this then a planet of the apes

Living together

In peace


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