Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Obligately Moral

Societies are what
All human groups create.

This is not to say men
Are special beings; this

Is not to say morals
Are unique to humans.

That doesn’t matter much.
Exceptional or not,

Humans are obligate
Moralists who can’t breathe,

Can’t find food for ourselves,
Can’t find nesting places,

Without judging others
And comparing ourselves.

We can’t. We can’t stop. We
Can’t not evaluate.

Humans can meditate,
Organize, remonstrate,

Coordinate, create.
But mere being is out,

Even for eremites,
Quietists, and loners,

While frontline activists
And the frontline soldiers

Facing off are alike
In agreeing we must

Confront disagreements,
Stand for truth and justice,

Or freedom, or fairness,
Or God, or the People,

Or purity, or peace,
Or our favorite tyrant,

But whatever we must,
We must. Noting this won’t

Transform us. Where humans
Gather, morals are there—

Although there’s a question
Whether being human

And therefore moral means
Being infestation

Or being infested,
And, in the thick of each

Bloody scrum, it’s unclear
What’s roadkill, what’s vulture.

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