Stupid Meditation on Peace
BY robert pinsky
“He does not come to coo.”
—Gerard Manley Hopkins
Insomniac monkey-mind ponders the Dove,
Symbol not only of Peace but sexual
Love, the couple nestled and brooding.
After coupling, the human animal needs
The woman safe for nine months and more.
But the man after his turbulent minute or two
Is expendable. Usefully rash, reckless
For defense, in his void of redundancy
Willing to death and destruction.
Monkey-mind envies the male Dove
Who equally with the female secretes
Pigeon milk for the young from his throat.
For peace, send all human males between
Fourteen and twenty-five to school
On the Moon, or better yet Mars.
But women too are capable of Unpeace,
Yes, and we older men too, venom-throats.
Here’s a great comic who says on our journey
We choose one of two tributaries: the River
Of Peace, or the River of Productivity.
The current of Art he says runs not between
Banks with birdsong in the fragrant shadows—
No, an artist must follow the stinks and rapids
Of the branch that drives the millstones and dynamos.
Is peace merely a vacuum, the negative
Of creation, or the absence of war?
The teaching says Peace is a positive energy.
Still something in me resists that sweet milk,
My mind resembles my restless, inferior cousin
Who fires his shit in handfuls from his cage.
REFLECTIVE MUSIC: Symphony No 7 (Adagio) by Dmitri Shostakovich
The Peace of Wild Things
BY wendell berry
When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
REFLECTIVE MUSIC: The Peace of Wild Things by Jake Runestead
The Season of Phantasmal Peace
BY derek walcott
Then all the nations of birds lifted together
the huge net of the shadows of this earth
in multitudinous dialects, twittering tongues,
stitching and crossing it. They lifted up
the shadows of long pines down trackless slopes,
the shadows of glass-faced towers down evening streets,
the shadow of a frail plant on a city sill—
the net rising soundless as night, the birds' cries soundless, until
there was no longer dusk, or season, decline, or weather,
only this passage of phantasmal light
that not the narrowest shadow dared to sever.
And men could not see, looking up, what the wild geese drew,
what the ospreys trailed behind them in silvery ropes
that flashed in the icy sunlight; they could not hear
battalions of starlings waging peaceful cries,
bearing the net higher, covering this world
like the vines of an orchard, or a mother drawing
the trembling gauze over the trembling eyes
of a child fluttering to sleep;
it was the light
that you will see at evening on the side of a hill
in yellow October, and no one hearing knew
what change had brought into the raven's cawing,
the killdeer's screech, the ember-circling chough
such an immense, soundless, and high concern
for the fields and cities where the birds belong,
except it was their seasonal passing, Love,
made seasonless, or, from the high privilege of their birth,
something brighter than pity for the wingless ones
below them who shared dark holes in windows and in houses,
and higher they lifted the net with soundless voices
above all change, betrayals of falling suns,
and this season lasted one moment, like the pause
between dusk and darkness, between fury and peace,
but, for such as our earth is now, it lasted long.
REFLECTIVE MUSIC: Venus, The Bringer of Peace by Gustav Holst
I Find no Peace
BY sir thomas wyatt
I find no peace, and all my war is done.
I fear and hope. I burn and freeze like ice.
I fly above the wind, yet can I not arise;
And nought I have, and all the world I season.
That loseth nor locketh holdeth me in prison
And holdeth me not—yet can I scape no wise—
Nor letteth me live nor die at my device,
And yet of death it giveth me occasion.
Without eyen I see, and without tongue I plain.
I desire to perish, and yet I ask health.
I love another, and thus I hate myself.
I feed me in sorrow and laugh in all my pain;
Likewise displeaseth me both life and death,
And my delight is causer of this strife.
REFLECTIVE MUSIC: Cavatina by L. van Beethoven
BY william e. stafford
We wondered what our walk should mean,
taking that un-march quietly;
the sun stared at our signs— “Thou shalt not kill.”
Men by a tavern said, “Those foreigners . . .”
to a woman with a fur, who turned away—
like an elevator going down, their look at us.
Along a curb, their signs lined across,
a picket line stopped and stared
the whole width of the street, at ours: “Unfair.”
Above our heads the sound truck blared—
by the park, under the autumn trees—
it said that love could fill the atmosphere:
Occur, slow the other fallout, unseen,
on islands everywhere—fallout, falling
unheard. We held our poster up to shade our eyes.
At the end we just walked away;
no one was there to tell us where to leave the signs.
REFLECTIVE MUSIC: Who'll Stop the Rain by Graham Nash