I have wanted to post the following for over a year, but have also been very reluctant to do so. The author of the following, French playwright and poet Paul Claudel was a misogynist, an anti-Semite, a misanthrope, a reactionary, and a bureaucrat. I have been reminded by many people that I cannot pick up on any but the most blunt expressions of arrogance, sexism, racism, etc. Since I know of this man's darkness, I cannot imagine tbat it does not creep into his writing. At the same time this little essay/poem impressed me so much that I can remember where I was and what I was doing when I first heard it thirty years ago. I have rewritten the poem several times to better reflect my own interests and perceptions, but I'm giving it to you as raw as an English translation can be. Love, peace and joy.
There is not one of my brothers that I can do without. In the heart of the meanest miser, the most squalid prostitute, the most miserable drunkard there is an immortal soul with holy aspirations which, deprived of daylight, worships in the night. I hear them speaking when I speak; I hear them weeping when I go down on my knees. There is not one of them that I can do without. Just as there are many stars in the heavens and the power of their calculation is beyond my reckoning, so also there are many living souls, and they scarcely give forth their light. But I need them all in my praise of God. There are many living beings, but there is not one of them with whom I am not in communion in that sacred apex where we utter together the 'Our Father."