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Speak War: Speak Peace—Two Poems

October 19, 2012

by Lee Peterson


For War: Where I Wait For You

Jets crowd the sky.
The colors change. Machines.
This burden…
And faces.

Toc
Nhan (All missing.)
Lang
Am

Hold my heart. Even without hands I can write this, paint this.
Or be turned back from the gate
and into a brown-winged bird
hunting.

*

For Peace: The Gate

What color is your hair?
Whose hand do you hold?
These hands we have.

Birds in the yellow sky.
White—under us—sailing.

And our faces change with a wish.
These wings—ours to use.

So much blue—above our heads.
We fly kites.   Form circles.   Sing.

Ask about the sun and where
it comes from:

From light—and the sound
of a bell     ringing so long
no one remembers its name.

*

Author’s note: These poems were written on commission for the Speak Peace traveling exhibit of Vietnamese children’s paintings on peace and war.


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Lee Peterson’s first book of poems, Rooms and Fields: Dramatic Monologues from the War in Bosnia was selected by Jean Valentine for the 2003 Tom and Stan Wick poetry prize. She lives in Central Pennsylvania with her husband Steve and their daughter Esmée. She is a full time instructor of English and Women’s Studies at Penn State Altoona.

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  1. October 19, 2012 at 6:24 pm

    Wonderful.

  2. Barbara LaMorticella
    May 15, 2013 at 4:06 am

    I saw this exhibit. Your poems the sound these paintings make ringing.

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