Poems on Peace

waltwhitmanThroughout most of my life, I’ve heard people calling for peace. I grew up during the 60s and 70s and heard all of the rhetoric about the ‘conflict’ in Vietnam. Before that was Korea and a few other smaller scurmishes. After ‘nam was all the mess in the Middle East. But the truth is, we have always wanted peace — at least the average run-of-the-mill member of society wants peace. We all want to have lives where we can pursue our dreams. While poverty and hunger certainly interfere with people achieving their dreams, nothing cancels a dream faster than war. We can struggle against poverty and hunger, but we, as individuals, can do little against war.

Poets have probably always been the stronger voices calling out to end war. Although poets are often referred to as dreamers, those dreams are sincere and heartfelt. Those poets plead for peace, for mercy and grace. They ask for peace, not only for themselves, but for all those around them: the elderly, the infirmed, the mother, the father, the child.

Of course, the call for peace isn’t always related to war. Sometimes it’s related to injustices caused by criminals or anyone who might take advantage of another human being. For the woman or girl or boy who is being used in the sex trade, forced, coerced and threatened to do things against their will, there is no peace. For those who are used as common slaves, who are denied simple human rights, the goal is to seek peace from their oppressors.

This list goes on. But instead of me doing the talking, let’s hear what some of the worlds poets have to offer us regarding the call for peace. Perhaps their words will have more impact, more sway than my awkward prose.

I. Peace
by Rupert Brooke

Where there is no ill, no grief. Certainly those words should help to define what peace can mean to many of the peoples of our world who currently are not able to experience it.

Prayers of Peace
by Raymond A. Foss

Raymond Foss is a both a lawyer and a poet. Born in Westfield, Massachusetts in 1960, he and his four siblings spent most of their early childhood in the rural New England countryside. When he was sixteen, his family relocated to Claremont, New Hampshire. He attended the University of New Hampshire to study Political Science, and later, in 1984, completed graduate school where he earned a master’s degree in Public Administration. Several years later, Foss discovered his gift for poetry when he was serving on the board of education of his local school. One of the teachers had requested that each administrator and board member write and present a piece of poetry to the April board meeting for National Poetry Month. It was with this assignment that Foss recognized his ability to write some truly impressive poetry.

And of course, who doesn’t already know the wonderful poetry of the celebrated poet, Walt Whitman. Here is one of his excellent pieces on the subject of peace.

O Sun of Real Peace
by Walt Whitman

I hope that these poems on peace have served as some inspiration for others to send out a clear message to our communities and our leaders, a call for peace throughout the world, so that everyone may begin the pursuit of their dreams.



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