1 EAGLETON NOTES: Human Family

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Saturday, 6 August 2016

Human Family

I heard this poem on the television this evening.  I'm not sure of the significance because I wasn't actually watching the television but just heard the words and Googled them. I had to share them.

Human Family

I note the obvious differences
in the human family.
Some of us are serious,
some thrive on comedy.

Some declare their lives are lived
as true profundity,
and others claim they really live
the real reality.

The variety of our skin tones
can confuse, bemuse, delight,
brown and pink and beige and purple,
tan and blue and white.

I've sailed upon the seven seas
and stopped in every land,
I've seen the wonders of the world
not yet one common man.

I know ten thousand women
called Jane and Mary Jane,
but I've not seen any two
who really were the same.

Mirror twins are different
although their features jibe,
and lovers think quite different thoughts
while lying side by side.

We love and lose in China,
we weep on England's moors,
and laugh and moan in Guinea,
and thrive on Spanish shores.

We seek success in Finland,
are born and die in Maine.
In minor ways we differ,
in major we're the same.

I note the obvious differences
between each sort and type,
but we are more alike, my friends,
than we are unalike.

We are more alike, my friends,
than we are unalike.

We are more alike, my friends,
than we are unalike.


You can listen to her reading this poem here.

  © by owner. provided at no charge for educational purposes

19 comments:

  1. That is an interesting poem, thank you for sharing it. And I concur GB. We forget that we have more in common than we would think. If only we could dispense with the judgment.

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  2. Wonderful, Graham....it's a pity the sentiments aren't shared by humans throughout the world...if they were it just could end up being a harmonious place. Wouldn't that be a dream come true?

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    1. Wouldn't it indeed Lee. Mind you I can think of some families which would be happier if they applied it within the family too.

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  3. Thanks, Graham. I have just today shared a wonderful moment with a total stranger I was sitting beside at a funeral. As I looked down into my lap to swallow my emotion I saw a tear drop from his eye onto his lap and when his fossick around in his pocket came up empty, I handed him my tissue. He used it to swipe at his face, then took my hand and held it. You don't have to know people to have a common grief. If only we could join so easily with people at other times.

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    1. Another example of your natural empathy with your fellow man Pauline.

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  4. I like and enjoy the sentiments expressed here.
    In real life I can be a horror. The folk here give as good as they get as I'm about to find out in a while when I set about patching the grain auger tube. The grief and criticism I will be exposed to. I love it the crack helps the job along.

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    1. PS. I am safe as Andrew has cuckooed replacing an injector in the gen set. What a plonker and he a time served diesel fitter.

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  5. We do indeed have plenty in common, but for some, what divides us seems unsurmountable. To be honest, I sometimes think that, too - when I hear or read about cruelty to other humans and to animals, I wonder whether these people are really of the same species as I am.
    The poem is wonderful and it should become compulsive reading in schools. On the other hand, that could have the opposite effect... such things at school are often rejected by the students, simply because they HAVE to read it or learn it.

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    1. Librarian. You as a country are the last people to state such opinions. You as person are entitled to hold them but when Germany collapses as it surely will under Merkel then we will all have to start again, fight fight and fight again. Forget the damn country think of it's people. You can't undo history but you need the labour and you need it cheap to maintain your lifestyle. We are out of the EU mess but it will effect us.

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    2. Meike, I agree. Adrian, whaaaaat?

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    3. I don't quite get it, either, Frances. What's Germany got to do with it?

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    4. Maybe I should specify again, in case I wrote my first ocmment in a way that can be misunderstood:
      When I hear about people who are cruel (I mean really nasty and cruel) to other humans and/or to animals, I sometimes can not help but wonder whether these cruel people are of the same species as I. What they do (kill someone with a machete - or kill someone at all; torture an animal or a child etc.) is so completely alien to me that it feels as if we have nothing in common.
      Now, how could that personal opinion of mine be one that "we as a country" (= Germany) are not entitled to have? I honestly don't get it, Adrian.

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    5. Don't be concerned Meike. It's not you or the possible misunderstanding of your original comment. I read the comments when travelling home from Edinburgh to Glasgow and my immediate reaction was to do something I've not done before and delete a valid comment. However I decided against it because you, Meike, made a perfectly valid original point and a good defence against Adrian's eccentric comment. After all the English (and Scots) as part of Britain, managed historic cruelty around the globe (never mind within the country) but we (the current generations) are not part of that history but simply beneficiaries of empirically acquired wealth and successors to those generations who built the empire. In any case Adrian is noted for his eccentric comments.

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    6. I didn't mean to be offensive but nothing I've read doesn't mean we haven't a serious disagreement and a much more serious problem.
      The Germans having lost the last war were spared reparation. Fine by me as reparation after the first war was at best a silly idea. It caused the country to be eventually ruled by an Austrian. Was it an Australian. No matter, he had a silly moustache. I bet he thought Benny Hill was funny. Through the reunification we got Merkel. Not as bad as Hitler, all she wants is supremacy. It will end in tears and death.
      We are not much better but generally much harder.

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  6. I think we should recognise the author of this poem - Maya Angelou. She did so much to advance civil rights in America - making a case for people of colour that was intelligent, forgiving and warm-hearted. She knew why the caged bird sings.

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    1. Thank you YP. You are absolutely correct. That was a bad oversight on my part.

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  7. It's often struck me when reading really ancient texts as well - that even through centuries, and all of the history that has passed, there is still a lot of truth in that (humans still being more alike than unalike - for better and for worse, if you will)

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    1. Yes, Monica, and it would be wonderful if we could realise that.

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