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Man or Beast? by Hezekiah Louie Zaraspe

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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