This being human

This being human is all about telling stories,
it’s travelling in a twisting caravan
across the desert, depending
on each other for flour,
for water, for a soft red blanket,
for bandages and apricots.

What currency do we have,
but stories? The story of “Good morning”
“How’s this for weather?”. The story of
“I love you”, the story of childhood,
the story of how to stay safe,
how to be eat well, how to survive
being lost, how to hold tight
to someone’s hand.

It’s whispering
our stories at night, the stories
of stars — of men, and beasts
and gods, and flaming suns.
It’s singing our stories as we wash our plates,
as we wait for tea to brew,
as we clean our shoes.

It’s shouting our stories in anger,
It’s crooning them in love. It’s sitting, silent,
round the campfire, listening.
We are stories, wrapped and tangled,
offered with love or fear or laughter.

This telling stories is all about being human.

For Kim at dVerse – a poem that begins “This being human is…”

30 thoughts on “This being human

  1. This is absolutely outstanding, Sarah! 💝 I resonate with the idea of telling stories, of sharing each other’s pain and celebrating happiness, these are the true signs of being human. I cannot imagine a world without it.

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  2. I love your circular poem, Sarah, and that is indeed what being human is – telling stories. What a way to live, trading stories from a twisting caravan! I can’t wait to trade some bedtime stories for a kiss and a cuddle from Lucas. That’s me, singing stories as I wash up (or listening to them on Radio 4 while I do the ironing!). So many stories and so many ways to tell them.

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  3. Oh how I loved this! I come from a long line of storytellers, and a campfire is sure to spawn stories often told an carried down through generations. So well-penned!

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  4. And this poem is like a story, carrying me away into the land of soft blankets and apricots, taking my erratic breath away and the returning it to me rhythmically restored – thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I love the caravan of story here, its winding, windy breath. St. Columba returned to Ireland in 573 AD for the Convention at Drumceatt to offer a defense of Ireland’s poets — their class was about to be eliminated by royal decree (for being such a costly royal pain in the keister). He said, “Humans of dust, you are nothing but a story.” It’s why we keep singing …

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  6. Your description of how our lives are stories is so rich–from the mundane of How Are You to the whispered magic of nighttime tales.

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