November 7, 2005

About Peace

I used the poem "Peace" by C.K. Williams this month as our writing prompt model. (You should be able to read it here.)

That poem looks at a kind of peace - first by looking at its absence - in a relationship fight that wears on even into sleep and dreams. (Look at "Peace" by Lesley Ullman for some contrast.)

However, "peace" holds different meanings for each of us at different times. In times of war, the absence of war is likely to be the first definition to come to mind. When "we fight for hours", as in his poem, I would guess that tranquility, quiet and harmony in our relations would better fit the bill. We even use the word at times to ask for silence or calm or as a greeting or farewell.

I like that this poem takes a different take on the meaning and, in fact, doesn't use the word within the poem, and yet it does arrive at a kind of peace.

Having grown up in the 1960's, peace was frequently a symbol both literally & more figuratively. I knew a number of people who went off and joined the Peace Corps. There is a Nobel Prize for Peace. We can do a meditation for peace and it can be to bring our own inner peace or as part of a group's efforts to bring peace to the world. There are plenty of organizations working for peace - like

In "Peace, after Long Madness" by Ned O'Gorman, peace is an assassin. And I suppose that reading poems about war might actually be a way to approach peace too.


  1. Ron -

    Thank you and our guest poet for bringing an exploration of the word, Peace. As a modest conservative, who believes that the war in Iraq is a preventive one to stave off further terrorists of endless causes, I welcome grabbing the word back from professional peace-nicks, who thought it their very own.

    Peace is not an attainable goal, for it is a temporary state of man's striving for an answer to conflicts of many origins. Thank you again, for stimulating our reasonableness.

    F. William Broome
    Dahlonega, Georgia, USA

  2. For me, peace begins in each person and then may spread to the surrounding world.

    Inner peace or peace of mind seems to require knowledge about the self in order to keep you there in times of discord or stress.

    Homeostasis is a scientific term that I recall from school. Bliss is one I hear at workshops. Religious people seem to believe that it is only truly possible to achieve this peace with divine intervention. And we know that for some cultures it's a state of consciousness or enlightenment - things that can be encouraged through "training" - prayer, meditation, T'ai Chi Ch'uan, yoga, and I would add writing. For me, writing poetry is a way to achieve peace. I'm not sure how much impact my writing has on the world (little I suppose, though I have received comments from readers & listeners which encourage me to believe that it does have impact on a few others) but I know the effect it has on me.

    It would not surprise me then if the poems submitted to this prompt online will mostly be of a personal nature.

    One poet's thoughts...

  3. With the state of affairs in Iraq being what it is, I would certainly expect a few poems from the states that deal with the issue of war & peace. I may be prompted (as you say) to submit one of my own.


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