“as a child he never plucked the wings off flies
he didn’t tie tin cans to cats’ tails
or lock beetles in matchboxes
or stomp anthills
he grew up
and all those things were done to him
I was at his bedside when he died
he said read me a poem
about the sun and the sea
about nuclear reactors and satellites
about the greatness of humanity” — Nazim Hikmet




His words like blade

Cut the souls in halves-

The tyrant-

Her vengeful eyes

Promise eternal darkness-

The despot-

So perfect they are

In letting loose hell-

I leave them alone to rot-

Somewhere children are snatched away-

Somewhere medical students are fasting till death-

Gandhi walked this path,

So did Mandela-

And some others are doing it

Beyond our knowledge-

Humanity is greatness itself-

Posted for Susan’s Midweek Motif ~ Greatness (in honor of Nelson Mandela International Day) @ Poets United




8 thoughts on “Greatness

  1. i am caught in a loop, reading your poem over and over: Humans bring hell, but humanity is great–always it brings forth those with greatness to stand up! Such strength in affirmation!

  2. I am struck by the dying man’s words about the greatness of humanity after his hard life. There IS greatness in people. It shows in times of crisis, when all is forgotten except helping one another in our shared humanity. The way we were meant to live on this planet. Loved your poem, Sumana.

  3. Deep in his bones was a basic sense of fairness: he simply could not abide injustice…..His legacy is that he expanded human freedom. He deserves to rest in peace….Very moving poem, Sumana. Lovely!

  4. I have often thought the evolution of mankind was a terrible mistake, an error in calculation to produce such a malignant creature to despoil the Earth and all its inhabitants. Sadly this is coming to pass.

  5. Man has the dual potential for greatness and destruction,We choose our own path. Acts of generosity compassion and kindness go mainly unnoticed.This is where the greatness lies.

  6. Powerful piece, Sumana. Isn’t it irony that those who had suffered (Ghandi, Mandela and many more Giants, who lived in our midst) at the hands of humanity still believed in the greatness of humanity! If they could, what excuse do we have!

Thank You :)

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