Paper Cranes

Poetry for Peace Contest

The Poetry for Peace contest was held from 15 September until 14 October 2011. The winners were anounced at a ceremony at UN headquarters in New York.

Below is one of the contest entries.

The Empath

I am the wind blowing the plains of despair,
buffeting the seas of pain.
I am the grass at Dachau,
the rain of Dresden 
that becomes the tears at Darfur,
which water the jungles of Nam.
I am the arrows of Big Horn that fall
from the sky at Hiroshima.
 
I am all, and all is never enough.
 
Only yesterday the brontosaur left her
footprint in the ooze,
yet today the tank tread crushes
that fossil stone running on
the fuel of the beast.
 
Still I rain and
move the leaves
with my breath.
 
A squirrel died today.
Small forlorn gray body,
perfect feet curled in pain,
dark wondering eyes already crow-pecked,
alone in the dust at roadside.
A Styrofoam cup for her headstone.
A shrine decorated with cigarette butts.
Such a tiny death.
 
Who rides within the clouds but me?
 
Are we still 
at war?
Are we at
war still?
And what is 
war?
And why are
we at it?
 
Tanks rumble in the streets,
not mine.
Bombs whistle to their targets,
not mine.
Children cry in fear and pain,
not mine.
Sticky blood drenches the land,
not mine, not mine,
oh, any god, not mine.
Tears fall from an ageless wound.
Mine, mine forever, 
all mine.
 
If tears were enough, 
the world would be saved.
 
Can we now return to
Lucy
sleeping restlessly in her gorge?
Blood to blood, bone to bone,
earth to earth,
until ashes cover all, and
we all
fall 
down.


— Mara Buck
 

 


All Poems Submitted to the Contest

 

Paper Cranes