Re{a}gression (or, Becoming A Beast)

by J. P. Davies

I rise to steam,
waking beyond.
Some say regret
equals foolishness;
I reply, "I am human".

Archaic separation
equals our anxiety.
Our own ancestors,
have shamed us.

is encapsulated in man,
where a beast would but
cast his shame,
'fore the next meal.

I feel my shame,
drink in regret,
and know:

Descending is for he,
who forgets his shame.
In doing so, not regretting.

Human interior has fled,
beyond recall. In Time.

Regression, a step away.
Ascension, so far to climb.
A man may become a beast,
but for a beast to return,
he must find shame in what
he has become.


Author's Note: "Man is the only creature who blushes, or needs to." ~ Mark Twain
I've been reading "East of Eden" by Steinbeck and he wrote a long passage about how humans judge their realities by their regrets and the shame passed on to them from as far back as Cain and Abel. Abel dies and we are all decended from Cain who slays his own brother out of jealousy. We feel this shame still. But I got to thinking if remorse or shame dictates that we are humans, then by that reasoning if a man were to lose remorse or shame he would cease to be human. Now if that's true the only way he would be able to reascend to "Human" would be to find the shame in what he has BECOME.

Posted on 03/29/2004
Copyright © 2022 J. P. Davies

Member Comments on this Poem
Posted by Leslie Ann Eisenberg on 03/29/04 at 05:21 AM

Shame... is encapsulated in man, where a beast would but cast his shame, 'fore the next meal. ....great stanza!..... great vertical energy throughout....your concept of the need for shame almost seems like a catch 22, if indeed this is true. but i don't know if i see shame alone as defining people as being human, although i appreciate your take on it. i find this to be quite a thought provoking piece because now i must go into a cave and contemplate this issue further.

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