On Man

On Man


Like tiny ants we scurry

Between skyscrapers of grass,

Peeping about - a human worker class.

Watching ourselves surpassing all limits,

Creators of structures, cultures, unimaginable wonders.

Finding God thriving within us.


Do we think the ant knows of it’s impending mortality?

Knows it’s destined to a life of sheer ephemerality?

Or knows it’s intricate colony

Could be squished with one move,

Finding its lifeless grave to be a boots’ deep groove?


With one deft move,

All could be crushed,

By a force so incomprehensible.

A giant that wreaks havoc

On beings unknowing, indefensible.


Do we think the ant knows of the giants above?

Knows the meaning of the boot

And its demise closing in?

Behind its minute eyes, does it panic?

Searching for reason for this underserved sin.


Or does it live blind?

Believing it to be king and a pinnacle,

While the giant hovers above

Like a force ineffable,

Permanently beyond its impaired understanding.


It is no fault of its own,

For its biology tells it it lives alone.

While forces hang ominously beyond a veil of perception,

Unable to be seen,

And so unable of conception.


The ant who calls itself God,

Conquering worm ends and soil clods,

Devising of exponential growth and unending expansion,

Knowing not it’s miniature scope

Or the fragility of its creation.


In skyscrapers we sit,

Glass glinting in the impossible.

Temples dedicated to the rational mind,

Subservient only to what it may find. 

Progress’ image.


And yet a question remains, one that cannot be silenced,

What will be the nature of humanity’s giant?


◄ A chink in the armour

Rule Britannia ►


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Jake Burke

Wed 24th Aug 2022 19:26

I think I agree Uilleam. Humanity thinking itself to be impossible of destruction may be the very reason for such a destruction. The failure to hold up a mirror to our vulnerabilities is a great sin (think some politicians definitely need to learn that!!)

Although I do enjoy the idea of a being or force existing right in front of our noses which we simply lack the sense organs / mental capacity to identify (like the ants with their ‘giant’ in the poem). That’s what I wanted to convey with the poem, I guess. Something like Hegel’s the cunning of reason maybe? Less plausible but certainly cooler!! Thanks for the chance for interesting discussion 😃

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Jake Burke

Wed 24th Aug 2022 19:18

Thank you all for your kind words really means a lot at such an early stage!

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Stephen Atkinson

Tue 23rd Aug 2022 20:10

Are you sure you're only 18, Jake? 😂
Deep & cleverly written 👏

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Uilleam Ó Ceallaigh

Tue 23rd Aug 2022 11:48

Wow, some deep philosophy going on there Jake.

"What will be the nature of humanity’s giant?"

Probably the pride that comes before our fall?

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Tue 23rd Aug 2022 06:22

This is amazing ❤️

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