The Shadow Within

Toddlers are a menace:
To property and to their own limbs and lives –

Why don’t we instinctively know what will hurt us?

Humanity lacks many instincts
One might think necessary to maintain
Survival of the species

Adolescents and young adults
Wander into inebriate and sexual situations
Fraught with genuine danger –

Why don’t we instinctively recognize
Situations that will harm us?

Humanity lacks so many instincts
One would think necessary
To maintain the survival of the species

And too often
We learn things the hard way

Then, we long for release from restriction
To prove we belong in the next stage of our life
And rites of passage
Often involve killing the residual morality within us

We feel to become greater
We must become a greater danger to ourselves and others

And we become the evil that harmed us,
And we trade power for love,
And we turn our backs on ourselves,

And the shadow wins out,

And we hear a voice crying out,
Pleading for mercy –

And it is us