The Peace Series
The poems contained on this page speak to the futility of war, the shackles of hatred, and the ultimate foolishness inherent within them.
Castles are not necessarily of stone and mortar.
Some are built of only thoughts
Edifices to keep the wanted in and the unwanted out
Walls, in every sense real protecting and deflecting,
Sometimes becoming barriers, not for good.
Such are the walls of hatred
Constructed with bricks of intolerance and prejudice.
They do not fall easily, even to kindness and love.
Other false facades cloak that which is truly within.
Perhaps the castles we build
Should be open and airy,
Allowing love to pass through permeable walls
But strong enough to withstand the arrows of hate and distrust.
Such walls of mystical gold
Could be seen from afar.
Inviting all travelers to enter
Soldiers gather years after the war
To party and reminisce.
What was hell on earth now a memory.
Former enemies sometimes bond
Like old friends.
Toasts raised to the fallen
And those who could not attend.
To young lives never fully lived.
Seldom are the innocents who were
Caught in the crossfire remembered.
Here and there,
Limbs missing from the participants.
Warriors, now old men celebrate.
Why could not the parties be held first?
When all could attend.
Toasts lifted to the living.
Toasts lifted to life.
"Give peace a chance!"
Words often repeated but seldom heeded.
Instead the war drums keep sounding
Across the Land.
Our minds and hearts grow numb
As the devastation and slaughter
Dance across the screen
Between hucksters of aspirin and Rolaids.
Starving refugees moving like mindless cattle
Hoping to escape the slaughterhouse.
Only when our own died beneath the rumble
Did the pain become real.
Righteous anger and not too subtle fear
Interrupted PALM ordered lives.
"9-11" became America's battle cry.
Not just boys this times marching off to war.
"Give peace a chance" but a whisper heard against
The loud reverberations of the drums
In a far off land a baby is born.
The father dreaming too of the future.
He also hears the drums.
The sounds different but the beat the same.
"What a hero my son will become!
Victory over the Infidels!"
On and on the drums play.
Each beat more righteous than the other.
On and on to the dance of the drums
While stepping over the fallen.
Perhaps, one day when the brilliant light glows
Will peace be given a chance.
But one asks, "Who will be left to enjoy?"
My Christmas Carol
Peace on Earth and goodwill toward all
goes the Christmas Carol.
Noble words for times like these.
on this Eve of Hope.
Let’s dream for a moment
of a time when the young
no longer train for war.
Instead the very best
fight hunger and poverty.
Let’s dream of a time
when the greatest battles
are waged against disease
and not each other.
Let’ dream of a time
when Children of Peace
speak louder than the drums of war.
For now they're only dreams.
But perhaps some day,
when humankind truly understands,
these mere words of a carol
will be blazon across the planet.
Peace on Earth and good will toward all.
The sign-carrying Congregationalist,
well known in the community
stands on the city square,
feeling the discomfort and the piercing stares.
“How can you go against God’s word?”
screams the former friend.
Another, less familiar shaking fist in face
belligerently exclaims, ”You will receive your just reward!”
Others, heads bowed pray for this misguided soul
knowing God’s wrath will fall if such thinking continues to grow.
Tears momentarily well in the eyes of the sign holder
Feeling so alone.
Once a respected member of the community
now the receiver of this abuse.
Surely “I should have remained quiet,” are the bearer’s thoughts
“But if so, how could I sleep?”
Thus, despite the jeers and anger,
the sign is raised higher for all to see.
“Free the slaves for in God’s eyes all men are free.”
Comments: First Congregational United Church of Christ in Mt. Vernon, OH has quite a history of social activism. During the Abolitionist Movement of the early and mid 1800's many members took an unpopular public stand against slavery. Today, the church members take other stands on issues that may not be popular but are based upon spiritual principles. This poem speaks to all ages whether the 1800's or now.
A Holy Word
Why does the word ‘Peace’ conjure such debate?
....are sometimes heard.
Didn’t the Great Teacher once say,
...."Blessed are the peacemakers
....for they shall be called the children of God."
Peace should be known as a holy word.
For only with peace, can humankind
....evolve toward the Golden Age.
Let us dream of a time
....when peace is in the hearts and on the lips
....in every hamlet, village, and city.
Should that day come,
....we can truly proclaim,
...."We are the children of God."
Comments: The poem addresses a concept that has been debated since Viet Nam. If you argue for peace, you are often branded as unpatriotic, fostering the concept "My Country, right or wrong." Perhaps the peacemakers are the true patriots.
A momentary truce exists between the boys
Each wary of the other.
The fight started years ago
When one wronged the brother.
Each retaliated in his own way
Turning anger into hatred.
Perhaps someday, the boys now men
Will realize the useless energy spent
And the pain felt
That bettered no one
And fragmented others
Over something barely remembered.
Comments: Sadly, in life many allow rifts to grow and chasms to broaden in personal relationships because of some event or action between two individuals. Once the anger train gathers momentum, it is difficult to stop. This scenario is especially tragic within families. More than one person upon the death of the other protagonist regrets that peace was never made.
Turn a Blind Eye
So easy to sit and mind one’s own business
....never causing a ripple here or there.
Get up in the morning.
Do one's job.
Smile and hope all turns out all right.
For who am I but one person,
....I can't change a thing.
Besides, what will others say
....if I should declare what I think?
Yes, I know I should say more–
....take a stand against hurt and agony.
But I am only one.
What will others think?
Over the years
....as I lay in bed
....and thought about my silence,
....an inner voice told me to do more.
I wrestled a bit and changed my thoughts
....before drifting off to sleep.
Eventually, that soft whisper
....ceased its nightly visits.
Instead, I went on with my life
....not seeing and hearing
Now, I'm old and worn,
....having watched many come and go,
....my country no longer what I remember.
....my beliefs now middle of the road.
Perhaps I should have spoken up
....even though I was only one.
For this one thing I certainly know,
....things did not turn out all right.
Comments: Sociologists claim that Americans generally tend to be optimistic, believing that everything will turn out all right. Along with that characteristic often comes the trait of not speaking out on issues for fear of offending someone. As I thought over my life and the times I should have said more, this poem developed. The excuse "that I am only one" is a lame one. History, for better or worst, was often changed by one person. Even looking at the smaller cosmos around us, we can deeply impact by our example and willingness to stand tall while others quiver for lack of fortitude.
What untold stories lie beneath these flag draped coffins?
......“Repatriated” as the military says.
Is it a man or woman?
......For war is now an equal opportunity employer.
The shattered bodies lying within
......No longer dream of a future and growing old.
The parents mourn the baby
......They once held in their arms.
Instead, their worst nightmare lives.
Now they’re left with only their “might haves”
......And searing pain
......That will plague them until their passing.
Comments: The recent "forbidden" picture of flag-draped coffins triggered this poem. No wonder the government prohibits such pictures.
I lie rigid and still,
......the twinkle in my eyes extinguished,
......cold, lifeless waiting for my last flight.
The transport tube encases my remains,
......these nefarious containers
......called by varied names,
......body bagstransfer tubes
......human remains pouches.
......useless descriptors to me now.
I had observed rows upon rows
......of these sanitized coffins
......praying that I would never be so unlucky
......as to be transported in one.
My comrades soberly and
......reverently roll me to the plane
......aware that with a mere misstep
......they too could reside in a similar container
......on their way home.
Mom and Dad are surely shrieking
......at the loss of their only son,
......the last bearer of the family name.
Our daughter Michelle,
......will never know her dad
......nor will I watch her go off to the prom.
Oh, Sarah, my love, if I could just feel your lips
......one more time.
I can think no more!
The President in one of his speeches
......will call us patriots and heroes.
How I wish I was alive!
Comments: The poem provides sobering thoughts on military lingo used to distract from the harshness of reality. No matter what name you use, body bags carry the remains of our loved ones home.
Death of Soldier
Another scum gasps for breath
......before departing this earth.
Useless trash, the enemy!
Nineteen years to the day
......he was delivered into this world,
......gasping for air,
......kicking and then crying.
Parents and relatives smiled,
......proud and enthusiastic.
They celebrated this new life
......and dreamed of a happy future.
Comments:This poem is universal as it impacts soldiers everywhere. Once the enemy becomes less than human in the others eyes, the easier to kill