Peace Poems,  Poems from the book Resting on my Laurels,  Poetry

In These Times

Jessica Brown did a lovely video of me reading this poem out in Hanns Park. 

Click the photo to view the video


In These Times

 

Peace is not just a feeling of calm.

It is not just the ability to feel safe as you go through life,

nor to remain centered in chaos,

nor is it just a feeling of wholeness 

in a very broken world.

 

In these times,

it is very hard to be a pacifist.

It is hard to not become your enemy.

 

To give into anger and fear

and let it consume you

and turn you into your worst self

would be the easy route,

but no one ever said standing up for peace is easy.

 

Standing up for peace in a world

that justifies violence from the moment of birth,

whether that is corporal punishment or war,

is not easy, nor will one always be met with respect.

Many who have stood for righteousness

were taken from us too soon.

 

Peace begins on the inside

with how you treat yourself.

Be kind to yourself in these times,

so that you may extend your kindness to others

who are suffering and being targeted.

 

Peace means respecting one another’s humanity,

and learning to love one another

rather than leap into hatred.

It means having difficult conversations

with those who are opposed to you.

 

Peace does not, however, mean laying down, 

accepting injustice, and staying silent 

or passive in the face of evil.

It does not mean failing to protect life.

It means refusing to cause harm or kill.

 

Positivity can be its own tyranny,

like putting a band aids on a broken leg.

Neutrality can be deadly in the face of oppression,

so listen to one another,

rather than silence the voices of the suffering.

Let us lift one another so that we may all have peace.

 

Only by coming together

to address the issues that divide us,

and most of all taking action to change this world,

may we truly have wholeness, calm,

and true peace in the world for all peoples.

D.L. Lang is the current Poet Laureate of Vallejo, California. She is the author of ten books, and one spoken word album. Her poems have been published in the Benicia Herald, Jewish Journal, Poets Are Heroes Magazine, the Benicia First Tuesday Poets anthology Light & Shadow, and in A Poet’s Siddur: Friday Evening Liturgy through the Eyes of Poets. Lang has been a featured act at several events including the Vallejo Man March, Unity Day, Solidarity with Charlottesville, and International Peace Day. She is also a regular at Poetry by the Bay and leads the Poetry in Notion poetry circle. She has won ribbons and rosettes at the Alameda, Marin, San Mateo, and Solano County Fairs. Her poems have been transformed into songs, liturgy, and used as a means to advocate for causes.

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