Nothing Human Can Be Alien To Me Poem by Nika McGuin

Nothing Human Can Be Alien To Me

Rating: 2.8

I woke up one morning, and I found
the world was full of addicts all around:
narcotic users
coffee drinkers
fumy smokers
sugar sprinklers
hypocritical posers
habitual liars
cheating spouses
murderous fiends
disingenuous thieves
slothy procrastinators

Then Maya Angelou told me about Terence's profound quote:
'Homo sum, humani nihil a me alienum puto.'
'I am a human being, I consider nothing that is human alien to me.'
It has stuck with me ever since, as its truth echos thunder.

It means that we can't ever say
'Oh, I would never do that.'
because we're all human beings
made of all the same ingredients:
sugar, spice, and things not so nice.
Any one of us could end up being
murderers, prostitutes, or addicts.

It is shameful for us to cast judgment
on others, when we aren't any better.
We should instead make a covenant
to make choices that are worthier

We don't know everyone's life story:

Life is like a meandering river
you never know what turns it will make.
It wanders hither and thither
you might wind up in an ox-bow lake.

When I say Maya Angelou told me, I'm referring to this video:
http: // v=ePodNjrVSsk
Daniel Brick 14 April 2015

In Terence's play that sentence is just tossed out, there is almost no resonance. It took Maya Angelou's sensitivity, not to say genius to realize it could serve as a centerpiece concept. Now you too draw from it moral lessons that are resonating beyond your poem in society at large. In our social order gobbled together by politics, TV and employment, you found in the quotation a moral center for us all to use for our bearings.

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Daniel Brick 03 June 2014

While I was searching for one of your recent poems on Maya Angelou's impact on your life I came across this one which certainly expresses that impact vividly. What a great list of human beings in all their variety opens the poem! always surprised that this ancient Roman poet expressed so perfectly one of the core values of our society, but it took Maya Angelou's insight into its relevance to bring those wise words into our contemporary awareness. The quotation certainly released a passionate poem from your heart. It makes me both humble and proud to be a human being, since it embraces both the good and the evil we are capable of.

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Daniel Brick 03 March 2014

This is another NECESSARY POEM. I too am impressed by the ancient Roman's statement, but you know in the play not much comes of it. Maya Angelou herself has done much more with the moral implications than Terence. And you have also in your poem by showing how it immediately affects your attitude and behavior. I like your long skinny list of various people who delude themselves but you don't judge them, just hold up a mirror so they can see for themselves where they fall short of their true humanity. And that's enough! They can save themselves when they are ready. BTW quoting Terence's line in the original Latin was an inspired idea: it vividly shows the antiquity of that sentiment which we still respond to centuries, and as I said above you draw much more meaning from it than Terence did.

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