Apes or Angels

Humans, some say, aren’t much more than an ape—
A reasoning beast, quintessence of dust.
Others believe we’re of angelic shape.

Hungry for morsels, we scrabble and scrape,
Leaving the tree to indulge termite lust.
Humans, some say, aren’t much more than an ape.

Yet not all dwell in this feral landscape—
Their minds are free to transcend what hearts must.
Others believe we’re of angelic shape.

We squat under shadows, covet and rape,
Then flaunt our filth like a Renaissance bust.
Humans, some say, aren’t much more than an ape.

Still, there are many whose spirits escape
The region where bodies settle for crust.
Others believe we’re of angelic shape.

Though such a question makes all skeptics jape,
How could our good rise from matter unjust?
Humans, some say, aren’t much more than an ape;
I must believe we’re of angelic shape.


The Hands of Creation (Decima Italiana)

For Michelangelo

Your paintbrush said more to this earth
Of truth than any mouth or book—
Save God’s—when you drew Adam’s birth.
There he reclines, languid, more brook
Than man, a loose, watery form
Awaiting God’s fervid blessing.
Even man’s finger is listless.
Yes, the hands reveal everything:
God is reaching His hand to us;
We, like Adam, hold back, lukewarm.


Ron L. Hodges is a long-time English teacher, having taught at Oxford Academy in Cypress, California, for the past ten years. About a year ago he started writing poetry, and has had three poems published so far in Ancient Paths Literary Magazine. He lives in Orange County, California with his wife and two sons.

Featured Image: “Creation of Adam” by Michelangelo.

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