e-mail us

Paths to Peace -- POETRY

Gestures of Peace
The Japanese send two lions
by special jet
for Kabul children
for the orphaned children
while enemies unite for the day
in West Bank groves
to harvest olives.

As thousands tens of thousands of soldiers
for attack invasion victory defeat
a handful half a dozen three or four
mothers fathers
hold signs on street corners
PEACE, they say,
or NO WAR ...

Safe in your house
you wash windows
with the vigor
of some grand prayer some music
you cannot yet hear
as if dipping your hand in water
will make you think clearly
champion possibilities
bless someone.

-- Jean Colgan Gould
Natick, Mass.


Soon, I think
there will be a conflict
of terrible consequence

though today two roses
wave wands of palest pink
in the awful heat of last days.

I would pack them up
send their promise

if it mattered
if anyone would hear them
if indeed the roses pray.

-- Jean Colgan Gould
Natick, Mass.

Prepare for war
How to do that?
Stock up on food
Say your prayers
Pray for peace
Pray for love
Pray for harmony
Pray for forgiveness
Pray to not be frightened
Pray to be safe
Pray for hope
Pray for happiness
Pray to love the Lord, your God,
with all your
heart, soul, and mind
Pray to love your neighbor as

-- Marguerite Truxaw
Morro Bay, Calif.

Recipe for an Apocalypse
take 1 president
steeped in ambition

cream in 1 congress
and blend

stir into this mixture
chunks of a war machine

season heavily
with a propaganda mill

pour these together
into a cauldron

place on a peninsula
over oil

throw in a plump dictator
for flavor

bring to a boil

warm a planet
that you have prepared ahead

spoon the mixture over it


serve with the bread of affliction
and the full-bodied wine of death

-- Anne Heutte

‘Desert Storm’ Revisited
Scattered churchgoers
dot the cavernous cathedral
like jimmies on a store-bought cake
for a special service
at a time of war.

Amidst the bromides,
yet apart --
stolid and unobserved,
a statue of the Madonna
nestling her child
in perpetual embrace:
A rigor mortised version
of similar pairs gracing Baghdad
right now.

At the open markets,
behold shimmering dawns of oranges
and ordered pyramids of dates and
pomegranates --
all deliciously close.

Here, do handsome bronze toddlers
squeeze their mothers and wail
any less convincingly
than ours say at a supermarket?

By night,
are they any less terrified
of the howling jet sounds
and occasional incinerations?
And when American pilots
lock onto authorized targets
from remote heights,
can we be certain
only the evil ones below
will be entombed?

-- Jay Allain
Hyannis, Mass.

As in Orwell’s 1984
in which the Ministry of Peace
wages war,
the president claims
that our troops will be fighting
to bring peace
and liberate people.
There’s some truth here.
Iraqis bombed into the bosom
of Allah
will be liberated
from our campaign of terror,
and no people
are more peaceful
than the dead.

-- Sr. Patricia Schnapp, RSM
Adrian, Mich.

2003 New Year’s Day
At midnight
the seams of last year gave
and its heavy freight
spilled over
into this yet empty
And we who saw it happen
sang “Auld Lang Syne”
and shouted
and drank toasts.
Huddled together,
we were kids again
outside a haunted house
swallowing down fear
so we could enter
the darkened space
where I imagined hearing
bombs bursting in air
and the wailing of mothers
with dusky skin.

-- Sr. Patricia Schnapp, RSM
Adrian, Mich.

2003 in Poetry

2002 in Poetry

2001 in Poetry

2000 in Poetry

1999 in Poetry

Poems should be previously unpublished and limited to about 50 lines and preferably typed. Please send poems to NCR POETRY, 115 E. Armour Blvd., Kansas City MO 64111-1203. Or via e-mail to poetry@natcath.org or fax (816) 968-2280. Please include your street address, city, state, zip and daytime telephone number. NCR offers a small payment for poems we publish, so please include your Social Security number.

National Catholic Reporter, January 31, 2003