Emmanuel Williams has been reading and writing poems for almost as long as he can remember — and teaching kids how to write poems almost as long. He loves teaching and is currently on the roster of California Poets in Schools. He also loves reading and sharing his poems with others — in coffee bars, arts centers, classrooms. He's also quite a gifted photgrapher and an amazing riddler! Here is something he put together for us.
This is a relatively playful approach to writing a peace poem.
In the poem below another abstraction – love – is the subject. Notice how it begins with a list of whatlove is NOT. Notice also the way the poet brings the reader in – I’ll tell you what love is.
Love is not a kick in the face
Love is not a ball you can play with
Love is not always what it appears to be
Some love can be like bitter candy
Love is not a feeling that you can ignore
Love is not a banjo
Love is not mascara
But I’ll tell you what love is
Love is trust
Love is pain
Love is fresh-baked cookies coming out of the oven
Love is a Disneyland ride
spinning in your head
Love is crying at a movie
Love lifts you up where you belong
Love is all you need.
Emily - 6th grade
Write a peace poem using a similar, non-solemn approach:
Peace is not a cold cup of coffee in an empty motel room
Peace is not a silence full of unexpressed anger….
Ideas for writing poems about peace
by Emmanuel Williams
peace is the silence
music returns to
I like it when I cast a shadow
One that moves as I move
Stays still as I stay still
I like it when I have a flavor
Like an apple or an apricot
A warm fruit full of rain and sunlight
I like it when I live in your house
Even when there’s no one there
So that I can welcome you when you return
I do not like it when you say I am a dream
For then I have nowhere to live
I have no shape, no blood, no being
I do not like it when you lock the doors
and load your gun
And wait all night for what you fear
I like it when I am not a slogan or a word
I like it when I am in the smell of your breath
And the laughter of your children.
Peace is an abstract noun. The task of poetry is to make it concrete and bring it to life.
Ideas About Writing Peace Poems
Acrostic peace poems
This is the simplest poetry idea in this collection.
Write the word, PEACE, down the left side of the page and use the letters as starters for lines:
Enter your heart at
Any time. When it
You can use “peaceful” or “serenity” or any word with a similar meaning for this exercise.
Points of view:
When the blind man listens to peace
he hears children singing
When the soldier looks at peace
shadows leave his heart and disappear
When the old woman asked for peace
she smiled and died
When all the oceans sing of peace
the world will relax…
Any of these may be used as characters to explore their points of view, and of course you’re free to introduce your own:
Child… Dragon… Mother… Orphan… Politician… Poet… Rich man… Baby… Butterfly… Farmer… Politician… Clown… Hero… Pope… Ladybug… Shark… Snake… Homeless person… Ghost… Bride…
Write an “I” peace poem as though peace is speaking.
My name is peace
I am alive in your heart…
Speaking to Peace
Write a “you” poem as though you’re talking to peace
I often think of you. Often
I wish you were here
In the world…
My peace picture
Describe the picture of peace that you would like to paint.
I would like to wake up in the morning
and open my box of colors
and paint small birds singing to the sky.
I would paint their feathers and their songs
I would paint the lines of their flying between trees
I would paint an eagle
soaring high above its shadow
I would paint a blue butterfly
zigzagging across a field of yellow flowers
I would paint a cold wind
with coppery leaves in its hands
and white snow falling
from a dark sky
I would paint my dreams
and watch them come to life
I would paint an angel
flying across the sky
leaving a trail of light blue music.
Skinny peace poems
is a flock
in the high
a safe place
is the feeling
really good fart.
3 words or less per line
Look for a single image expressing peace.
You can make a display of skinny poems by composing then editing them, writing them on card, decorating them, and hanging them from the ceiling as a mobile.
If possible, include origami birds in the display
Metaphor peace poems
Write a poem using any of the word concepts listed below as metaphors or ideas. . .
Peace is the silence that music returns to
Peace is the shadow of a bird floating on the wind
Peace is the warm taste of a cherry fresh from the tree
Music * Place in Nature * Color * Taste * Weather * Musical Instrument * Animal * Story * Season * Part of the body * Car * Country * Island * Garden * *Building * Shape *Time of day
Photo: Emmanuel Williams
Photo: Ismanah Schulze-Vorberg, Poetry-of-light.net
Painting: Mary Michaela Murray
is the feeling
really good fart.