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.

Peace and War

It's Volkstrauertag
Death through war,
Go through your mind.
It's 2009,
Peace at last?

The victims of wars,
Memorials with mourning choirs,
Weeping war widows, orphans,
Wreaths and flowers for the dead.
The fire brigade stands at attention.
Stiff humans
With eyes moving,
To take in the mourning.
In Freiburg-Kappel we sing
A Russian song,
To remember
The sons and husbands of Freiburg-Kappel
Who didn't return.

Ninety years ago,
The Constitution of Weimar.
Germany's Fundamental Laws,
Proclaimed sixty years ago.
The ugly Berlin wall
Fell twenty years ago.
The Second World War,
Began seventy years ago.

Alas, young Teutonic widows
Still cry today
In Germany,
For young husbands
Who died
And still die,
In the killing fields
Of the Hindukush,

There's a war
In far off Afghanistan.
The grandfather died
For a totalitarian regime.
The grandson dies today
For a democratic idea.

We Germans train the police
In the Hindukush.
What happens when they run
Over to the Talibans?
Islam binds the people
In the Hindukush.
What have we to offer?

Is war capitulation,
Against the forces of evil?
People who are beaten, tortured
When their ethnicity
And genes differ,
When people with illness or disability,
Are meted injustice,
Stamped as 'unworthy of life.'
There are those who faced
A firing squad,
When they defied
The rule of power,
Clutched to their beliefs,
Their pure conscience.

You can't change the past.
What has happened,
Has happened.
Don't close your eyes
To the hoary past,
Lest you be blind
To the present,
And the future.

It's not the Third World,
Where ideologies,
Find their breeding grounds.
Rightist ideology
Is still mushrooming,
In the streets of Berlin,
Vienna and Bern.
The 'others' are still
Being terrorized,
Beaten, stabbed and kicked
In broad daylight.

Freedom and forgiveness,
Within and without,
Where art thou?
He who searches
Finds hope,
And dignity,
For there are enough
Righteous, honest,
Spiritual people with integrity
Who care about others.

— Satis Shroff


All Poems Submitted to the Contest


Paper Cranes