Mirror, Mirror on the Wall


Buddhists believe that many animals can be kind.
But scientists say that kindnesss is rarely, if ever, seen in animals.

The words of the documentary’s narrator
haunt me as I try to make sense of a photo
that flashes on my screen the next morning:
a 13 years-old with a pump-action shot gun, smiling.

Is the opinion of these noted scientists then
that kindness is only seen in humans?
In this child-man voguing aim – fire – kill, for example?

Should we put this out for a vote?

Ask the doe who nuzzles her fawn,
the chimpanzee who mourns a fallen brother.
the elephant rejoicing at the sight of a long lost friend.

Ask the hunter, the marksman,
the ones who hang severed heads on walls,
ask ourselves……….who is the kindest of them all?

Poem ©2016, Jen Payne, National Poetry Month, 7. Quote from “Mystery Monkeys of Shangri-La,” PBS Nature.

6 thoughts on “Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

Add yours

  1. I’m with you Jen. Any culture that teaches it’s young to kill for fun- not for food- isn’t very kind and yet a group of elephant mothers babysitting the young on the move can show extreme kindness and tenderness.
    xxx Massive Hugs xxx

  2. One of my brother-in-laws has a family room full of stuffed animals heads. He once told me that he wants a cluster of deer heads in one section, each with a different expression on its face. One of my older nephews, during a Christmas party, showed me photos of geese he killed in Canada. Geese often mate for life and are very intelligent. I have a pet parrot that tells me she loves me (and she understands what she says). Once i spread my fingers in front of her and said that we are all, in life, like the fingers, different… yet all of one thing; not separate things really. She, upon hearing this, said, “You are right!” I’m a vegetarian.

    1. I’ve always been a cat person, and over the years have watched them play and explore, learn and discover, hurt and take care of each other (and me). I’ve watched them learn how to trust, and age. I’ve watched them in pain, and die. I’ve watched them express joy, fear, worry, love. Indeed all of one thing. You are right. Thank you for sharing!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

<span>%d</span> bloggers like this: