“An eye for an eye will only make the whole world blind.”
― Mahatma Gandhi
For poetics today I thought we would take up the challenge from the Pubtalk by Grace a few weeks ago. I remember that I said that peace is hard to write about. It is very much like writing about love. I often find that peace goes back to platitudes and trite. Everyone knows that peace is better than war, just like love is better than hate. But to really say such obvious things you have to challenge yourself, just like peace and love is hard work you have to stretch yourself.
When searching for peace poetry I stumbled on this one by Maya Angelou:
The free bird leaps
on the back of the wind
and floats downstream
till the current ends
and dips his wings
in the orange sun rays
and dares to claim the sky.
But a bird that stalks
down his narrow cage
can seldom see through
his bars of rage
his wings are clipped and
his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing.
But this is poem about freedom you might say, and yes it is. Can we have peace without freedom? Even a caged bird sing after all. To me the first stanza talks about both peace and freedom. This poem has been used in politics, it has moved our hearts and we do understand it. I know that we cannot reach that poetic level, but today I challenge you to try.
Use contrasts, use metaphors, use your senses smells, play on idioms. Use any form or any trick you like but make us long for peace not just hate war. Make me love peace, not just peacefulness. What’s the taste of peace, the smell, the color? Is peace of night or something brought by day? Remember contrasts, write in chiaroscuro, show attractiveness in light.
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