From Visit their website. These are just three from their wonderful collection.

Sometimes, along with the great poems in our literature,  other voices also reach us — that touch us in that place that longs to be truly human.  Here are a few —  known and not so known — that  we encountered doing Poems for Peace. 

Radical Innocence

If you have any doubt about the power of a POEM to remind us of what it means to be human, read this little poem written by a 13 year-old boy from India.  He was so happy to be studying in an English speaking school.  A few weeks after we received his poem, August 2012, he was killed in a rickshaw accident.

What is Important by Ligori J. (1998-2012)

A word is important

To construct a sentence.

A sentence is important

To frame a question.

A question is important

To get an answer.

An answer is important

To master a subject.

A subject is important

To acquire knowledge.

Knowledge is important

To understand the world.

The world is important

To lead a happy life.

Life is important

To save our soul.

Our soul is important

To reach our creator.

 Myra Margolin, volunteering for Susila Dharma International’s ANESHA project in India, knew the child and sent the poem on to us. The boy’s parents subsequently sent on his photo, and we use it with their permission.

Maya Angelou

In our joy, we think we hear a whisper.
At first it is too soft.   Then only half heard.
We listen carefully as it gathers strength.
We hear a sweetness.
The word is Peace.
It is loud now.
Louder than the explosion of bombs.

We tremble at the sound.
We are thrilled by its presence.
It is what we have hungered for.
Not just the absence of war. But true Peace.
A harmony of spirit, and comfort of courtesies.
Security for our beloveds and their beloveds.

We, Angels and Mortals, Believers and Nonbelievers,
Look heavenward and speak the word aloud.
Peace.  We look at each other, then into ourselves,
And we say without shyness or apology or hesitation:

Peace, My Brother.
Peace, My Sister.
Peace, My Soul.

Recipe for Peace by Devreaux Baker*

Bare your feet, roll up your sleeves oil the immigrant’s bowl

open the doors and windows of your house

invite in the neighbors, invite in strangers off the street

 roll out the dough, add the spices for a good life

cardamon and soul, cumin and tears

stir in sesame and sorrow, a dash of salt

pink as new hope

rub marjaram and thyme, lemon grass and holy basil

on your fingers and pat the dough

bless the table, bless the bread

bless your hands and feet

bless the neighbors and strangers off the street

 bake the bread for a century or more

on a moderate heat

 under the olive trees in your back yard

or on the sun filled stones of Syria

 in the white rocks of Beirut

or behind the walls of Jerusalem

 in the mountains of Afghanistan

and in the sky scrapers of New York

 feast with all the migrant tongues

until your mouth understands

the taste of many different homes

and your belly is full so you fall asleep

cradled in the skirts of the world

curled in the lap of peace.

California poet Devreaux Baker was awarded Honorable Mention in SICA’s 2012 Poem for Peace Competition.

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