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.

Red moon rising (over the East River)

The plaintiff moon, that crystal-clear night
Was a vibrant vermillion
Tinged with cardinal, tinctured with scarlet ... crimson ...
Sidling up to timid Mars

Abruptly ascending in the height of its fullness,
The moon rose above the neon Pepsi sign
Slowly turning orange-gold, then pure white
Till sadly fading beneath the horizon

In silhouette, the marbled Headquarters, still standing proud
Though so gutted,
A hurricane could pass unnoticed  through its chambers.
In its heyday, its windows were a thousand points of light
In the dark

Light-infused meditation cell merged with mahogany-panelled war room
Frank incense blending with spent cigar smoke
And out of the ashes, the Phoenix rising again
For we have a capital master plan: our world in restauro waits

Meanwhile, at noon, croquet is being played on the North Lawn.
This game's for real; the stakes are high
The hopeful spring is turning into an autumn of discontent
"We are Observers, not spectators!"
The holy sea and the holy land seek uncommon high ground:
Peace and justice/justice and peace

Governments, it seems, are more adept at creating wars
Than sustaining development.
We have enough bullets; where's the butter?
That will soften human hearts

12 September '11: a glorious sun rises over the East River,
Turning the blank sky orange, magenta, gold

The grey river awakens, devouring the sun's rays
Its ripples like hungry fish
Or it's breakfast at Tiffany's: a banquet of diamonds
To feast upon

The groaning cobalt river has its fill, is satisfied
And acts like it knows something.
Shall we, abundantly receptive as the river,
Accept life's flow of understanding now?

Along the esplanade, facing the dimmed Pepsi Cola sign
A dove and a thousand cranes wait to carry our words, letter by letter,
Through the rainbow
To a new covenant, a new era

— Eileen Maguire


All Poems Submitted to the Contest


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