Featured Poem

Adrian Mitchell
Human Beings


(for the company of the truthful

and beautiful Red Red Shoes

by Charles Way, staged by the

Unicorn Theatre for Children)


  look at your hands

  your beautiful useful hands

       you're not an ape

    you're not a parrot

  you're not a slow loris

    or a smart missile

       you're human

       not british

    not american

      not israeli

  not palestinian

    you're human

     not catholic

  not protestant

    not muslim

       not hindu

  you're human

  we all start human

    we end up human

       human first

          human last

      we're human

    or we're nothing

  nothing but bombs

     and poison gas

  nothing but guns

     and torturers

  nothing but slaves

  of Greed and War

  if we're not human

           look at your body

  with its amazing systems

  of nerve-wires and blood canals

     think about your mind

   which can think about itself

  and the whole universe

           look at your face

   which can freeze into horror

           or melt into love

     look at all that life

           all that beauty

           you're human

     they are human

     we are human

  let's try to be human



©  Adrian Mitchell from The

Shadow Knows: Poems 2000-

2004 (Tarset: Bloodaxe,2004) -

this poem won the public poll of

the Poetry Society's National

Poetry Day 2005 favourite poem

to send into space, to best convey

a sense of humans today.   

Neil Astley writes that Adrian

Mitchell  had just completed a new

book, Tell Me Lies: Poems 2005-

2008, which Bloodaxe will publish

in June 2009.