:::this is the way the world ends:::

My Very Own Shame

Following suit, here’s a poem of mine.

“They say not to anthropomorphize…”

It is the sin we all commit,
To make things in our image.
But how can I empathize
With you that have been shot,
Burned, poisoned, demonized,
Hunted, trapped, and hung for hides,
Born into this Manifest demise.

It is not human inclination
To leave things untouched;
But between us, I know,
There can be no suture.
For you are another nation,
Perfect in nature.

And maybe redemption will come
When it is enough
To love without sight
To love without touch
To succumb to the knowledge –
That freedom does not bend
For the hubris of men.


  1. Shotts

    Very nice, Ned. Great to see this poem. I like how the controlled nature of the poem–its use of ordered stanza, its line ends dictated by grammar and syntactical unit–enacts the kind of human control over others, over nature. The form itself makes the argument you are making, that humankind cannot help but control the wild.

    The poem also recalls for me my MFA workshop in poetry at Washington University, when much of the workshop seemed to agree that anthropomorphism should be avoided, or at least used sparingly.

    Great to see this poetry up on the HM site! That seems out of the true HM spirit.


  2. tobias

    “Born into this Manifest demise.”
    — my favorite line—

    Great job, Ned!

    By the way, is the title of the poem “My Very Own Shame” or “They say not to anthropomorphize…”?  If it’s “My Very Own Shame” (which I like better) is “They say not to anthropomorphize…” a citation from somewhere (other than from Jeff’s workshop)?

  3. Ned

    My very own shame was in reference to your blog title about your poem. I think you called it “more shameless poetry” or something. The title of the poem, sorry to say, is “They say not to anthropomorphize…” which is the very first line of Rick Bass’ book, The Ninemile Wolves. Throughout the book, he has to keep reminding himself that wolves are not people, not humans. I liked this obvious battle going on in his creative thought process, which I translated into my thoughts in the poem as a question. “Can we love something without wanting to see ourselves in it somehow? Can we empathize with something very different? Can we love something without molding it to our liking? I orginally had a different ending to the poem, but decided it was too much of a “statement”.

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