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.


After the Dream

After the dream, when everything has been said,
Said and done, the pain felt and related to the reader,
Would I be better, would I be a better man,
Could I insist that this particular theory is right
And the other wrong, would I be believed,
Would I be believed if I say I did not know
How to start this poem, never really have started
Writing this poem, this poem about you
And me which is also about the word,
Which is also about peace, that I have always
Contemplated, prayed and contemplated
To write this poem, tried to imagine the start,
Tried even harder to imagine the life I would be into
If ever should I start writing the poem,
Would I be better, would I be a better man,
With enough bread to feed the clan,
With enough bread and joy to last me two lifetimes,
That's why I'm most afraid, most afraid
To start, most afraid to even sense the right words
That would have me starting, for after writing those words
And reading them and rereading them
And rereading them still I know life would be different,
I know something would change, or everything would change,
Would I see the sunrise the same way as before,
Would I still enjoy the song on the radio,
Would I be a better man, or far removed from my comfort,
Would I still enjoy the movies, the cafes,
Would you still love me, after the baring of the soul,
After reading to you the stanzas, after the joy
You would have witnessed in me while reading,
Would you still feel love, or fear, fear for the future,
Fear of what would I become, fear of what we would become,
So, I imagine the words, imagine them forming,
Imagine writing them and smiling as I write,
Or try to feel the pain I would be feeling if I write,
If I finally write the words I previously imagined,
Would I please you, would I ever please you,
But, here I am, in one corner of the world,
Afraid to even jot down the words, most afraid,
Most afraid of what words would make me into,
What price to pay to write the words
I have imagined, what precious price to pay,
Would I use the notebook I've used yesterday,
Should I sit on the table by the window
Or use the computer at the study, would it be better
To use the laptop, would I be using a pen
Or a keyboard, should I change my shirt,
Remove the wristwatch to eliminate time,
Should I buy a pack of cigarettes first
Before I even start, should I take breakfast
Then take vitamins, should I go to my secret place
And talk to the turtles, should I even start,
Should I even write, should I even imagine the words,
Would it be better to turn on the television set
And watch a favorite show, laugh with the studio audience
As the host throws around his usual antics, or would it be better
To watch the news, anger myself with the injustices
That would always be there in the news, selling the news,
Selling the network, providing for the fat salaries
Of the news readers, should I wear socks, should I play the music,
Could I even handle the dream,
Lights in, lights out, the world outside humming the motor
Melody, machines working at this very hour, machines as big
As a building and as small as a molecule, would it matter,
Would it really matter if I just don't write the words
I've imagined, would it matter if I don't even start imagining
The words, would it really matter if I just leave the notebook
Open without a single word written on it,
What if I just sit down and watch the whole of civilization
From my corner, I guess it wouldn't matter at all,
Not at all, would it matter if I say I believe in fairies
And angels while you don't, I think not at all,
When I was a child, I dreamt as a child,
Now, that I am a man in my 40s
I dream the dreams of a grown man
And that of a child's, I say to myself,
`I have changed after all, I did change after all.'
I do enjoy the cafes, the conversations,
I do enjoy reading you a poem or two,
I enjoy summers and the rain, I enjoy the sunshine
And the darkness as well, I enjoy your epics
As I enjoy feeding the turtles,
I enjoy the moon tangled with your hair,
Oh! Should I just buy a newspaper
And make it the space between you and me,
Analyze the events, see the world from a distance,
Calculate the risks in the stock market,
Make a comment or two about current affairs,
Or write a suggestion to the president,
Would it matter, would it matter at all,
Oh! I should stand and keep the house in order
While the people are still fast asleep and dreaming,
Make peace with myself and the world, then write long
Poems about love, life and peace, write long lines
About pain and sorrow and misery, write long
Lines about joy and caring and sharing,
Oh! They should matter somewhere, I guess
They should matter to someone somewhere,
Or, I would not be writing, I would not be
Writing at all. Writing, I am most afraid.
Most afraid to quicken the words
And send them to their crisis,
Most afraid to write down the words
And let the day make them happen,
Most afraid to let my guard down and expose
Myself to angels and prophets,
Most afraid to lift the pen and draw out the letters,
To write down the words that would inhabit space,
Inhabit thoughts that would live lives
And walk among us. Would I recognize them,
Or, would they recognize me at all.
After the dreaming, the imagining of the words,
After taking courage to write down the first few words,
And risking my comfort, would it matter,
Would anything matter at all.
I guess I would just watch the sun rise in the morning
And descend in magnificent sunset,
I guess I would just watch a television show
And laugh with the audience,
I guess I would just go to the mall and watch a movie.
I guess I would just grab a newspaper and read the events,
Watch the world from a distance, smile at people,
Whistle a tune and think of happy endings.



— Edwin M. Cordevilla
 

 


All Poems Submitted to the Contest

 

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