“True affluence is not needing anything.”
What right have we to own more than we need
So long as someone else is going without?
This has to be the fundamental creed
Of our humanity, I cannot doubt.
True affluence, as Gary Snyder said,
Is needing nothing—lacking only need:
Shelter, clothing, rest, and daily bread,
Good health, companionship, we’re all agreed,
Are absolute human necessities,
Yet we need more than that to be humane,
For only justice with compassion frees
Our souls from avarice and leaves us sane.
We are a greedy breed who’ve still to learn
To make the needs of others our concern.