What Makes us Humans

Atoms in the bodies that we own

Make us matter like sand or stone.

Then we have proteins and also genes.

We’re life-forms, is what this means.

We feed our young with mother’s milk:,

This puts us in the mammals’ ilk.

“But what makes us human?” is what you ask.

Answering this is a difficult task.

But let me try to list a few

Items that we alone can do.

We feel happy and also sad,

Now and then we get quite mad.

All kinds of books we can read and write,

And talk for long on wrong and right.

We can look back, think of the past

We can feast with friends, and also fast.

We can look into the distant unborn future,

We can assault and also worship Nature.

We can believe this fleeting world is real,

And imagine things immaterial.

We can affect the world that is around,

Make pleasing and also painful sound.

We can enjoy physics and calculus,

(Like all else, not true for all of us!).

We can take a topic and argue

With friends or foes, no matter who.

With primes and patterns we can play,

To unseen gods we can pray.

We can kill in the name of God

And not know that this is rather odd.

Tasty food we can cook and eat,

Love animals and enjoy meat.

We can weave thick cloth with very thin thread,

And hold places and books as holy and sacred.

Pride and shame we can feel,

Drink wine or beer with every meal.

We can be wake up early and yet be late,

We can believe in free-will and also fate.

We can with success cure many a disease

Solve many a problem with effort or ease.

Glorious music we sure can write,

With a variety of weapons we sure can fight.

With a joyful heart we can deeply love,

We can study the stars in the sky above.

We can cause much pain and give great pleasure,

Things in the world, we can very well measure.

We can blindly believe and also doubt,

Be silent for long, and also shout.

We can keep our minds, chained or free,

We can agree with others and disagree.

Very well we can many things explain,

Though sometimes we do this just in vain.

We can climb many mountains far and high,

We can run to the store, sale-items to buy.

Principles noble and great, we can enunciate,

For which we can fight and heartily hate.

We can be sure that our minds can

Figure out how the whole world began.

We can be fooled into believing we do

Have all the answers right and true.

We can laugh aloud, we can also cry,

When we fail in something, we again can try.

We can make jokes, want Truth to find,

We can be harsh, and also kind.

We can track the passage of time,

We can reason out things, and say them in rhyme.

We can care for creatures, and parents ignore,

All this we can do, and a lot, lot more.

We can be ascetic, and indulge in lust,

We can do things we mustn’t and we must.

One thing in common which all of us have got,

Which, I am sorry, I almost forgot:

The twenty three pairs of chromosomes too,

Are what make humans like myself and you.


About Varadaraja V. Raman

Physicist, philosopher, explorer of ideas, bridge-builder, devotee of Modern Science and Enlightenment, respecter of whatever is good and noble in religious traditions as well as in secular humanism,versifier and humorist, public speaker, dreamer of inter-cultural,international,inter-religious peace.
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