Peace

25 April – Today In History

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Born:

1599 Oliver Cromwell (Lord Protector of England)

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Died:

1995: Ginger Rogers (actress)

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On This Day:

1915 ANZAC (78 000) troops land at Gallipoli

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Have a good Saturday, 25th April!

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A Rainy Day In April

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When the clouds shake their hyssops, and the rain
Like holy water falls upon the plain,
‘Tis sweet to gaze upon the springing grain
And see your harvest born.

And sweet the little breeze of melody
The blackbord puffs upon teh budding tree,
While the wild poppy lights upon the lea
And blazes ‘mid the corn.

The skylark soars the freshening shower to hail,
And the meek daisy holds aloft her pail.
And Spring all radiant by the wayside pale
Sets up her rock and reel.

See how she weaves her mantle fold on fold,
Hemming the woods and carpeting the wold.
Her warp is of the green, her woof the gold,
The spinning world her wheel.

– Francis Ledwidge

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Prayers of Peace

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Prayers for peace
rose up in many tongues
from the congregation
gathered round a new pole
hewn by parishioner hands
emblazoned with words
words of peace
written, spoken,
murmured aloud
Proclaimed,
in eight languages
Hopeful prayers, repeated
shared by the congregants
by the members and friends
rejoined after summer’s allure
of the road, camps, the water
renewing friendship
in the community of faith
welcoming others, some for
the first time
with hopeful words of peace
on a day before
we memorialize
innocents lost
in mindless hate
‘May PEACE prevail on Earth.’

– Raymond A Foss

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Armenian Genocide – 100 Years On

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Today Armenians celebrate the 100th anniversary of the mass killing of their people. The official Turkish line is still to deny this genocide ever happened, blaming the deaths on the conditions of war at the time (1915).

Regardless, it is another opportunity for all of us to think about tolerance and peace – especially accepting the rights of others to worship in the way in which they have chosen. In the future, there will no doubt be further memorials recognising the deaths caused by the barbaric behaviour of extremists in the Middle East.

As I have said in the past, there is simply no excuse for the persecution and killing of those who are different to you.

Here is a poem that I found to express this…

Tolerance Poem

IF you can go to heaven your way,
I know of no good reason why
I ought to curse you, or display
Contempt when you are passing by ;

I have no wish to see you barred
From future everlasting joy,
Although you seem to find it hard
To use the faith that I employ.

As long as you are not inclined
To have me damned and scourged and burned,
I’ll try to have an open mind
Where our two creeds may be concerned ;

No pious hate nor holy wrath
Shall make me wish to bruise your soul
Or put obstructions in the path
By which you hope to reach your goal.

If, kneeling at your mother’s knee,
You learned a faith that keeps you strong,
No effort shall be made by me
To prove that your belief is wrong ;

I shall not question nor deny
The saving grace that fills your thought,
Though you may hold beliefs that I
Have never had, and never sought.

Hold fast the faith that you possess,
If you can find sweet hope therein,
And freedom from the bitterness
That plunges bigots into sin ;

If your way leads to heaven, proceed,
Nor any of your hopes resign ;
I have no doubt that there, indeed,
Are many other ways than mine.

– Samuel Ellsworth Kiser

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The Rose of Peace

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IF Michael, leader of God’s host
When Heaven and Hell are met,
Looked down on you from Heaven’s door-post
He would his deeds forget.
Brooding no more upon God’s wars
In his divine homestead,
He would go weave out of the stars
A chaplet for your head.
And all folk seeing him bow down,
And white stars tell your praise,
Would come at last to God’s great town,
Led on by gentle ways;
And God would bid His warfare cease,
Saying all things were well;
And softly make a rosy peace,
A peace of Heaven with Hell.

– William Butler Yeats

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In Salutation To Eternal Peace

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Men say the world is full of fear and hate,
And all life’s ripening harvest-fields await
The restless sickle of relentless fate.

But I, sweet Soul, rejoice that I was born,
When from the climbing terraces of corn
I watch the golden orioles of Thy morn.

What care I for the world’s desire and pride,
Who know the silver wings that gleam and glide,
The homing pigeons of Thine eventide?

What care I for the world’s loud weariness,
Who dream in twilight granaries Thou dost bless
With delicate sheaves of mellow silences?

Say, shall I heed dull presages of doom,
Or dread the rumoured loneliness and gloom,
The mute and mythic terror of the tomb?

For my glad heart is drunk and drenched with Thee,
O inmost wind of living ecstasy!
O intimate essence of eternity!

– Sarojini Naidu

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Earth Day

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Today is Earth Day 2015.

Let’s take a little bit of time to be grateful for our beautiful planet, and consider how we can contribute to making it a better place – in so many different ways.

A poem, then…

Earth Day

I am the Earth
And the Earth is me.
Each blade of grass,
Each honey tree,
Each bit of mud,
And stick and stone
Is blood and muscle,
Skin and bone.
And just as I
Need every bit
Of me to make
My body fit,
So Earth needs
Grass and stone and tree
And things that grow here
Naturally.
That’s why we
Celebrate this day.
That’s why across
The world we say:
As long as life,
As dear, as free,
I am the Earth
And the Earth is me.
 – Jane Yolen
earth

Making Peace

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A voice from the dark called out,
“The poets must give us
imagination of peace, to oust the intense, familiar
imagination of disaster. Peace, not only
the absence of war.”

But peace, like a poem,
is not there ahead of itself,
can’t be imagined before it is made,
can’t be known except
in the words of its making,
grammar of justice,
syntax of mutual aid.

A feeling towards it,
dimly sensing a rhythm, is all we have
until we begin to utter its metaphors,
learning them as we speak.

A line of peace might appear
if we restructured the sentence our lives are making,
revoked its reaffirmation of profit and power,
questioned our needs, allowed
long pauses. . . .

A cadence of peace might balance its weight
on that different fulcrum; peace, a presence,
an energy field more intense than war,
might pulse then,
stanza by stanza into the world,
each act of living
one of its words, each word
a vibration of light—facets
of the forming crystal.

– Denise Levertov

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Peace – My Beloved Country

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In response to the terrible xenophobic violence in South Africa, and as a way of expressing my despair at an article that I have just read where the author is clearly trying to escalate this hatred by inciting South Africans against each other along race lines (cleverly playing the “blame game”), I have found this poem and published it below…

Somewhere an eagle flies
soaring o’er the dappled skies of Africa
Somewhere a tortoise cries
ploughing through the vast disguise of Africa.
A springbok dies and a day is born
The sun comes up to greet the dawn;
A child is sighing like a bird
And a nation is sounding a very new word.

Somewhere an apple train
waddles through the winding plains of Africa.
Somewhere a sparrow feigns
acting out the birthing pains of Africa.
A lizard leaps to his mother’s scorn:
‘Farwell, ‘ she says to her first born
A breeze is lifting a newly-fledged bird
And a nation is sounding a very new word.

Somewhere a new sunrise
burgeoning before our eyes in Africa
Has seen our children’s weary sighs
bursting into happy smiles in Africa.
An aardvark snuffles through the corn
And winks an eye at a golden fawn
A sunbird is singing like you’ve never heard
And a nation is sounding a very new word.

– Margaret Kollmer

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The Peace of Wild Things

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When despair 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 for their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

– Wendell Berry

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