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Ideas for writing poems about peace 

by Emmanuel Williams

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.


peace is the silence
music returns to


Photo:  Emmanuel Williams

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:


Peace may

Enter your heart at

Any time. When it

Comes, please

Embrace 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…




Peace Speaks

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.

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



Peace speaks


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.


Emmanuel Williams

Watercolor:  Midelti

Photo:  Ismanah Schulze-Vorberg,

Defining peace

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….

Skinny peace poems




    is a flock

    of soft

    white birds

    flying around

    in the high

    blue sky

    looking for

    a safe place

    to land

    & build

    their nests







Peace is


a baby

looks into

your eyes

and smiles.











is the feeling

you get

after a

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











is the feeling

you get

after a

really good fart.

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