|In Peace Pilgrim Park, my own photo|
Peace is set in stone face and bare nipples
getting dressed or undressed in public
Peace sizzles, restless in parks and chapels
with mammals settling into her presence
aware (or not) of vacating struggle
Unframed, uncrowned with victories
unseen into water, air, games and feasts
Peace so loves community that she fills
its thirsty wells and she flowers wildly
in its beds, its borders and its walkways.
The International Peace Day Teach-In
is under-attended. I’m sorry, Peace.
I wrote poems to honor community
but didn't go to the Center. I shopped.
Went to the Farmer’s Market, hardware and
grocery stores and the new Goodwill.
This is not confession; it’s discussion.
What if all errand places closed for Peace?
You go to the Laundromat and find signs:
Closed for Peace Day
May there be many more!
You stash your clothes basket and join the crowd
rushing to the rally, ready to learn
or teach—whichever is needed. Peace found
you this day. She cannot live without you.
Fill us up and spill over, Peace.
Let us know you with all our senses.
Attract us, Peace.
Move us to wake, rest and broadcast you daily:
Peace has broken out of the sanctuary!
Peace is in Paris, Jerusalem, Baghdad and here!
Peace is arriving everywhere.
Let us spill into the streets
Let us be it.
Gandhi and India went outside
living the changes
though beaten and shot
and they made history
How do you, do we, step outside again?
without knowing the enemy
without sweeping everyone suspicious off their feet
Pretend we are not targets, but peace?
Step into a community of peace
Sweep terror off its feet with love and bravery
Look around at the stadiums
airports, shops, schools
Look at the Olympics
Step outside without fear
Step outside our own countries
Face down terror
Where it lives between battles
Step outside comfort zones
Witness peace's front lines
Witness peace in the front lines
then come home
to begin again with the heartless
plant ourselves outside corporate headquarters
seed ourselves on Wall Street
as if peace depended on it
Mine is beginning to at last
And I am finally asking
What is peace?
Who or what benefits from preventing peace?
Where do the profits go?
Who or what benefits from poverty?
Who is poor?
Who is rich?
You say we, though poor, are rich in spirit
I say maybe—
maybe some of us are rooted
and thriving in answers
but I had not been listening
seeing where profiteers contaminate the temple
asking what tablet will break the golden calf
seeking my burning bush
walking the walk
willing to be peace in the world
as if my life depended on it
Forgive me for complacency and for absence
Hold me accountable for action
as thee and we do, dear
Nature and God
Universe and Earth
Hemisphere and Country
Community and Family
Peace, I thee wed, until death do us …
Today is Blog4Peace 2013—the 10th launch for founder Mimi Lenox—a day dedicated to imagining peace in the Imaginary Garden for Real Toads where this poem is linked. Thank you for your previous comments as I was building this poem, especially for feedback from its latest posting in the POETS UNITED PANTRY. I removed section #6 and made a few other small changes.
Copyright © 2013 S.L.Chast