A POEM FOR PEACE

An exploding roar
of power and might
echoes through the air.
It crushes and threatens,
alerting the whole world to
its presence
its force,
its desire to conquer.
Guns, bombs, mines and tortures
form its massive sound.
But,
within its power,
within its might
and within its fearful threats,
peace is not to be found.

The shout of a mighty voice,
echoing vanity and arrogance
rumbles across nations.
It claims sovereignty
over people's lives
over resources,
over justice.
Its arrogance covers
its own fears
and insecurities
by destroying others.
And within its titanic voice,
within its destructive vanity,
peace is not to be found.

And then,
the quiet sound of compassion,
like a temple bell
stirred in an evening breeze,
gently quietens the roar of power
and the shout of arrogance.
It holds in its tones
the victims of this world's violence
and gently soothes away
their pain
and their suffering.
Within that gentle sound of compassion,
peace is to be found.

A light flickers
from a small flame,
illuminating hope and love.
Its subdued halo,
holds high human dignity,
proclaims respect for the environment,
and caresses the world's resources
as though
touching pure and precious gems.
Within the light of that small flame,
peace is to be found.

A scarred and furrowed hand
reaches out,
palm facing forward
ordering the violence
to cease
ordering the hatred
to dissipate
challenging fear
to become hope.
It is the hand of those
who have already given their lives
so that peace can become deeply rooted
in the rich soil of sacrifice
and commitment.
It beckons us forward in courage,
giving us the example
of those who have already given all.
But,
while they have given their lives,
they still live,
and in their outstretched hands
peace is to be found.

Thich Nhat Hanh,
Vietnamese Buddhist monk
and poet,
has said,
AThe enemy is not a person.
If we kill people,
with whom will we live?
The enemy is not a person,
it lies within each of us.

When the sound of compassion
and the flame of love,
and the hand of sacrifice
effuses from each of us,
the enemies called
fear, defeat, over consumption,
chauvinism, love of power,
pride, lack of caring, busyness,
blindness to truth,
deafness to cries of pain,
and muteness caused by fear,
will fade away
along with the roar of power
and the shout of arrogance.
Then peace will flow
like a mighty and never ending
stream of justice
throughout our world

Perhaps,
just perhaps
it takes only one more person
to shake the temple bell of compassion
to light a candle of love,
and to hold up their hand
in courageous refusal to the enemies
lurking within each of us,
to finally break the grip of violence
over our world.
Then,
truly then,
peace will be found.

 

by Max Ediger.
April, 2000
Bangkok, Thailand