POEM | Man or Beast?

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The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.

—George Orwell, “Animal Farm”

Every time I see them on TV,

with their dogged smile

and their dogged persistence,

smiling and swaying others

to their side of their so-called

justice and freedom,

I can’t help but wonder

if they are men pretending 

to be like beasts,

or beasts pretending 

to be like men.

Some are like pigs I see

in pens of my province,

hoarding what food

they can eat,

fattened to the excess,

smart but relishing

in the dirtiness of the pen,

spoiling the pristine.

Some are like chameleons,

latching onto the ceiling

or others,

taking their colors

for their own,

disguising the dullness

or ferociousness

they wish to hide,

which they reveal

in time.

But the deadliest of them all 

are the vultures who deal 

the coup de grâce

for those they prey on,

feasting on their flesh,

till what is left are bones

that shine and glisten

against the noonday sun.

Must I consider

what I should do

after a rapt contemplation?

I am certain that many

have pondered as I have

to butcher, skewer them,

to roast, broil them

as we please.

We must be careful,

lest we be questioned, examined, 

or thought to be 

as they are:

men pretending 

to be like beasts,

or beasts pretending 

to be like men.

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