Yassin's Poems


I was a child
Sitting in the first-grade class
When my teacher, along with teaching us the alphabet,
Defined “human being”:
“The animal who talks and thinks.”
And this is the real difference
That separates us from all other Creation.

I don’t know why, but surely
His words touched my heart,
Rooted deep in my mind,
After that never I forgot.

I grew up to read many definitions––
Philosophy with theories and religion, descriptions
Of who we are and what is a human being––
But I never read anything better
Than what my teacher said.

Since then, and now,
I believe the human being
Is God’s best Creation,
Special in these ways:

Feeling with the heart,
Thinking with the mind,
Talking truth and kindness,
Standing for what’s right
By shaping body and mind
With our hearts and mercy and feeling,
By shaping our brains with understanding and thought,
By shaping our tongues with communication and talking,
By loving and helping each other,
By building the earth together.

But today there is no theory
That fits our reality.
Philosophers and scientists
Are confused and baffled.
The way we are living,
There is no theory or religion
To approve or justify our actions,
Philosophers can’t find a definition
That fairly describes today's situation.

We have changed our planet to a jungle
We have left manners and principles behind
We have broken international law
We have overlooked the Geneva Conventions
We have disabled our own Constitution
And gone against God’s word
We have crossed all the limits of religion
We look nice, we speak well and hear well––
But can we see?
We are devils by the heart and wolves by deed,

And this is my answer
To why my hair is gray.

1992 by Yassin Aref

September 12, 2008

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