A thought-provoking free-verse poem about empathy.
|The human’s highly developed brain
confers upon Mankind the potential
to uniquely empathize with others –
to put oneself in others’ shoes,
to feel what they feel or have felt,
to truly experience their emotions.
Empathetic humans can read about
(more likely nowadays to see on TV
or in the movies) the plight of Black
slaves in pre-Civil War America
and deeply feel their pain, suffering,
and fear. They know their humiliation
at being raped, beaten, chained, and
sold away from their families forever.
They understand the injustice Blacks
have suffered at the hands of Whites
continuing to present day America.
Empathetic people can feel and know
the sorrow of America’s Native Peoples
as the White Man stole their lands,
decimated the bison herds and ended
their centuries-old way of life, broke treaty
after treaty the Native Americans made
in good faith, forcing upon them
the necessity to fight unwinnable wars
or live on lands so unfit as to be
undesirable for White Men’s use.
People with empathy still experience
anger today at the injustice Native Peoples
must endure at the hands of White officials
who mismanage reservation lands.
People capable of empathy feel the suffering
of the poor in America today. They understand
the hardships forced upon the poor who lack
proper nutrition, adequate health care, decent
education, and jobs that provide satisfactory
earnings to provide for their families.
They cry over the plight of the poor who endure
conditions one usually associates more
with some third-world nations than with America.
Empathetic people share the tragedy
of families worldwide who are trapped
in countries ripped asunder by war
and brutality. They suffer along with
refugees merely seeking safety in a new
home and a chance to know peace.
I consider myself most fortunate to have
lived in the time of three great examples
of men who showed true empathy for others …
and paid a dear price for their beliefs.
I still remember the ideals of JFK,
RFK, and MLK, who showed the way.
Whereas such empathetic people seek
to relieve the suffering of others, unfortunately
not all people seem capable of empathy.
These people appear as less human somehow …
and they certainly are not Christ-like.
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