This I Believe

Robert - New York, New York
Entered on January 1, 2007

homo sum

i

homo sum:

humani nil a me alienum puto.

these words were first written

by the latin dramatist,

terentius, &

fifteen hundred years later,

montaigne had them carved

into the beam above his

bed.

i first encountered them

in translation:

I am a man: therefore there is

nothing human to which I am

a stranger.

over my life, they transformed

into:

i am a human being: i care

for all things human.

& later to:

i care.

ii

one time, long ago,

my friend, scott, scribbled a

note on a strip of yellow paper.

it was a zen note––the words

laughed at each other &

didn’t quite fit into this

world. my mind opened

& heart smiled, just to

know this was

possible.

iii

lao tzu was riding on an

imagined donkey

on his departure from

zhou. I met him

on the road &

he told me:

believe only what is

common sense for the

heart… & passed

on.

iv

i witnessed the falling

towers & survived the

terrible battle of wasting

sickness

within.

v

in a time of war,

i am honest as a

wind chime & my

song is

lovingkindness.

as a child,

my heart was

pierced with

wrath––

i learned from the

violence of the street

gangs & the bar fights &

the seething family

gatherings on

holidays. from the broken

glass & barbed wire of the

schoolyard, from the drug-

dealers with their razors &

guns. from the deaths of

john & robert kennedy &

luther king & lennon. from

the civil riots in newark &

harlem & d.c., how human

beings should not

be.

vi

so much infernal

rage in the world &

mutilating disaster

all sanctified by

reasons.

vii

wars & wars of

wars without

ceasing

war blithely

kills with suspended

conscience

& justice

drown in the rhetoric of

bombs.

viii

egyptian against

hittite––

assryian against

babylonian––

caesar against

saracen––

blue against

grey––

blades &

smoke––

fire &

blood––

eternal

irretrievable

tragedy

ix

buddha raised his

hand &

spears turned to

flowers.

x

with war everywhere

in the world & the

environment

crushed––

my life seems

stained, unholy––

still i possess the

freedom to imagine

& the need to

pray––

o, Great Mother-Father-

Power in this

universe––

forgive us the vast

unconscionable harm we

do.

if You made us in Your

likeness, save us from

ourselves––

forfend men from

hunting men.

save the children,

save the animals, the

fishes & the flowers &

the sky & the sea of Your

creation.

we are Your people, yet

our hearts are jealous &

empty.

breathe life once

more into this

clay &

protect us from

the evil in the

shadow of our

greed.

with great metal

factories we have

established hell on

earth

& we accept/allow the

suffering of others

in daily tabloid

color.

my heart is Your

Heart & it is in

pain.

i pray & i hope &

i believe You created us to

care.

homo sum.