Waging Peace Poems

Waging Peace Poems

September 21, 2009 will mark the International Day of Peace. At Voices we'd like to get a head start on collecting poems, quotes, pictures, capturing video and recording activities on how to Wage Peace.
 
Please lend your voice to our efforts! If you are an educator and you have a curriculum to share that speaks to building peace, please pass it along. You can go to My Voice and set-up your own page and post your offerings.
 
Here are 2 poems to start our collection. They are a part of our up-coming World War II poetry collection that will be available on our Resources page soon.
 
Untitled Poem
William Stafford
This is the field where the battle did not happen,
where the Unknown Soldier did not die.
This is the field where grass joined hands,
where no monument stands,
and the only heroic thing is the sky.
 
Birds fly here without any sound,
unfolding their wings across the open.
No people killed – or were killed – on this ground
hollowed by the neglect of an air so tame
that people celebrate it by forgetting its name.
 
 
The End and the Beginning
Wislawa Szymborska
 
After every war
someone has to clean up.
Things won't
straighten themselves up, after all.
Someone has to push the rubble
to the sides of the road,
so the corpse-laden wagons can pass.
 
Someone has to get mired
in scum and ashes,
sofa-springs,
splintered glass,
and bloody rags.
 
Someone must drag in a girder
to prop up a wall.
Someone must glaze a window,
rehang a door.
 
Photogenic it's not,
and takes years.
All the cameras have left
for another war.
 
Again we'll need bridges
and new railway stations.
 
Sleeves will go ragged
from rolling them up.
Someone, broom in hand,
still recalls how it was.
Someone listens
and nods with unsevered head.
Yet others milling about
already find it dull.
 
From behind the bush
sometimes someone still unearths
rust-eaten arguments
and carries them to the garbage pile.
 
Those who knew
what was going on here
must give way to
those who know little.
And less than little.
And finally as little as nothing.
 
In the grass which has overgrown
causes and effects,
someone must be stretched out,
blade of grass in his mouth,
gazing at the clouds.

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