Your Poems & Art
Here are some poems that have been created by YOU -- participants in some of our Poems for Peace events in different parts of the world. We don't have room for all, but here are a few we felt to share.
How Does One Name Peace?
Name it the silence that accompanied all creation
Name it the wordlessness of animals
Name it does not live by the sword
Name it does not hold a grudge
Name it the present, a state of forgiveness
Name it without longing
Name it the last thing one will ever see
Name it the Appalachians without strip mining
Name it the high summits of mountains
Name it Jasmine and Lavender upon an altar
Name it Red Plum tree aflame in the morning light
Name it the calling of a Red Tailed Hawk
Name it if one child survives, so will all
Name it victory, the one achieved over oneself
Name it the search that remembers itself
Name it the penitent
Name it our shared suffering
Name it in the face of solitude and anguish
Name it our shunned responsibilities
Name it knowing when it will all end
Name it Jacob kneeling for the seventh time before Esau
Name it like in the time of Abraham, yahkdau: victims together
Name it Job bowing his head and giving in
Name it one last time
The earth rising up
Like a fire in the belly
Of all who want to live.
© Rasunah Katz
Some of the poems created in SICA's Poems for Peace workshop for young people at the River of Grass Unitarian Church in Davie, Florida.
— Halimah Polk, workshop leader
Photo by Leo Horthy: Muir Woods, Northern California.
To My Refuge
Mom and Dad
I have run in
Closing my bedroom door
and take a deep breath.
Going to my window
Pulling up the blinds,
Raising the window
Feeling the breeze blow.
It's quiet here, so quiet.
I turn on my books,
Lie down on my bed.
Escape for a little while.
by Shaniqua Esparza (left)
VSA Texas (Shaniqua is blind)
Listening to Peace
Our relatives in the First Nations
Know that all created beings
have their spirits — inside and out.
When I was a little boy, I often felt
Lonely in my own family.
I was mismatched
To the world
I was the listening observer.
And in my listening, I heard the trees'
Wisdom, wind-caressed on whispered clouds and currents.
Sitting down at their feet
My body-mind felt their vibrant vibrations
In my spine, in my brain:
by Bear Beam. Created in SICA Poems for Peace Workshop at VSA Texas in Austin.
Kelsey Erin Shipman, workshop leader
L’appel de la Paix
Chercher la paix n’est pas une guerre,
Mais c’est un combat de lumière,
A la rencontre d’un miroir,
Qui vous reflète le noir.
Ouvrir les yeux à notre obscurité,
Affronter ses peurs et se pardonner,
Pour laisser filtrer cette lueur,
Présente à éclairer note coeur.
La paix a toujours été là,
Ouvrant nos âmes et nos bras,
Rien ne sert de la chercher,
Il suffit d’accepter.
Cet appel est en vous,
Cette paix est en nous,
Laisser la paraître,
Afin que la Terre puisse renaître
— Vinçange 2013
Poem and Poet at Poems for Peace celebration
at La Cimenterie in Forcalquier, France.
Tin soldiers, wooden sword
Boys‘ toys of the old days.
I have a natural talent for butchering
The odd scruple about taking a life wiped away:
"somebody has to do the dirty work. It’s a cruel world, and you’d better get used to it“
When cutting an animal’s throat I start taking pleasure in the detail. I find distraction in viewing the scene with an aesthetic eye.
Need someone to stir the blood for the blood sausage? My treat.
The awkward warmth and the thick, soft texture of the fluid make me enjoy the task.
Of course you will enlist. You will make your family proud. Serve your country, you will.
I will not. Make them proud, that is.
No escaping mother’s strong desire to see her son in a uniform.
And father? Sitting in a dark corner of the room, intoxicated, he waves at me with the old, shabby pocket book a veteran has given him for his 10th birthday in 1933.
Remember Owen, he warns me, forget about "dulce et decorum“ – no sense in the monstrosity called war. Words like that only rarely escape my father’s mouth.
Shushed by my mother, his eyes lose focus again, and he drifts back off into
Doctor claims it is more endurable for him to feel nothing than to be tortured by the memories of Stalingrad.
No chance for a workers‘ child and country boy to "object conscientiously“. Not in
No understanding for a simple mind to question the concept of war and the logic behind fighting to pacify.
Official post today. Sender: Federal Ministry of Defense.
1st day of service for my country: September 1st, 1967. So it is fixed.
Serves mother well to lose my strong helping hands in the potato harvest.
I turn around and see father. His face in despair, a hidden tear in his right eye, and his admonishing finger pointing at the radio. Some pirate station is playing Bob Dylan.
"When will they ever learn“ father echoes his favourite line.
— Written by a non-native English speaker at a Poems for Peace event at Raabe-Haus Literaturzenturm in Braunschweig, Germany. Lawrence Guntner, event coordinator.
Download other poems from this event.