Enjoy our 2020 Art of Peace Poetry Page,
a virtual poetry reading of New & Selected Poems from 10 years of Art of Peace Poetry Anthologies.
Our presentation of the poems is complete with personal videos
of many of the poets reading their peace poems
with a focus on the message of Creating Community.

Poetry Compiled and Presented by InSpiritry Contributing Editor, Anne McCrady

Copyright, 2020 All rights reserved to the included poets.
No poems may be used or reproduced in any form without the permission of the included poets.

Peace Work

We must love one another or die.
                September 1, 1939, W. H. Auden


That we must love one another or die,
Auden cautioned us eight decades ago,
a strategy the human race might try

to deliberate with more than a sigh
of impatience, or an I-told-you-so.
If we must love one another or die,

we should engage those who’d rather stand by,
should proclaim the Other need not be Foe,
a policy the human race might try

instead of offering rebuff or stink eye.
See the person beneath the so-and-so,
if we must love one other or die.

Reach out, don’t label, black list, classify.
Let your kindness abound and over-flow,
a discipline the human race might try.

Why give our very best instincts the lie?
Why file hopes for peace in an escrow?
That we must love one another or die
is a practice the human race must try.

Chris Boldt
Temple, TX
2017 Art of Peace Anthology

An Act of Faith


Rising each morning is an act of faith
that daylight will come and the coffee maker works
planted seeds will sprout and beloved
will continue to love.
Everyday prayers
this seedling
your words
our lives
join in a communion of faith

Dan Branch
Juneau, AK
2018 Art of Peace

It Is Time


How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.
– Anne Frank

it is time

to pluck the thorns
from our covers

to shed chains
weighting us to our frustrations

to do good
for good is what we are created to do

to weep no more
for our sorrows

but instead work our wheels
to relieve the sorrow of others

to step out of cold shadow
and grow again in the healing light

we have waited for our sign
it is time

Terry Miller
Richmond, TX
2011 AOP Anthology

Say That


In the census of cynics
and those who wish
for wars to end or men to see
beyond their cruel greed,
do not write our names.
Say that we have always known
wishing is not enough.

Instead, count us as laborers,
public servants, people who love
struggling children into new lives,
parents who pray for the safety
of families we have never met,
people willing to pay the price
to build peace in other places.

Say that we live eager
to share a meal or a mile or smile,
that our hearts cross borders
to resist the world’s bullies.
Speak our dreams as promises
to the neighborhood of nations
that our doors will always be open.

And when the time comes
for us to answer for our actions,
explain our sacrificial choices,
tell our stories, hold our truths,
resting in the legacy of living peace
and inspired by so many others,
let us respond by asking,
What else could we do?

Anne McCrady
Tyler, TX
2019 Art of Peace Anthology

Am I a Bridge?


Am I embankment or abutment?
Am I the span across the gap?
Am I a truss depending on the others
designed to strengthen them?
Am I the pylon on which cable ropes
rest firmly to suspend the bridge?
Am I the four-lane deck
that takes the rolling load?

A bridge from here to there,
connector over obstacles of canyon,
river, roadways on the ground,
bears freight on swaying heights.
Its planning, engineering, crossing voids
with tension-holding concrete, steel
is still a miracle.
And so is peace.

Christa Pandey
Austin, TX
2017 Art of Peace Anthology

Fred’s Philosophy


I often talk philosophy with Fred,
Who doesn’t blink when he says
It all comes down like a long-awaited rain
That slowly soaks to the bottom of things.

Given the assault upon our good gray matter,
The consequence of living in too-crowded towns,
It’s not enough to worry about saving yourself
When so many others need saving as well.

In the house of the Creator, there
Are no private rooms. We share
Alike this burden of creation,
Ours to bemoan or celebrate

In the myriad languages of this
Hurried world—which, if heard as music,
Might even sing us to sleep those nights
When the situation seems most hopeless.

Joe Blanda
Austin, TX
previously published in Blue Hole, 2010

Writing Brave and Free

after Ted Kooser

Alone in libraries or coffee houses
before dawn, after dark,
by light or not
the muse of tomorrow sits beside
her trove or struggling writers
whispering to their souls.
Look to those struggling
to speak freely
cry out against tyranny
deifying curfews
gathering in forbidden groups.
These are your stories
listen to their pain
capture their dreams and aspirations
in word
write for those who are brave
but not free.
Write for Peace.

Michael Owens
Cypress, Texas
2014 Art of Peace Anthology

Inner Peace


Listen to others rather than speak
Empathize with what they say.
It might be you who makes their day
Give them peace of mind.

Offer your hand; give a hug.
Greet everyone – stranger or friend
Smile as you enter a room.
Bring peace wherever you go.

Open doors for people who can’t
Be patient with those who frown
Say positive things every chance you get.
Feel the peace within your heart.

When you say your prayers
At the end of the day
Know that you did your best
To spread peace along the way.

Esther Cantu
San Antonio, TX
2018 Art of Peace Anthology

How Many Generations?


How many generations does it take
To be a country of Americans?
I see so many ethnic groups,
Proud of their heritage,
Not realizing they are excluding others.

Many people only see color of skin
Black, brown, white, yellow, or red
To ‘claim’ or assign a culture.
Genealogy tells of our family’s origin.
Where we live tells who we are-AMERICANS.

No race is a pure breed.
We are all mixed breeds or mestizos
As the Chicanos call it.
Americans are born with multiple heritages.
We are a melting pot of ethnicities.

I hunger for peace among all Americans.
We are more alike than we are different.
We all have dreams for our future.
We all feel pain and experience love.
We breathe the same air and live in the same country.

How many generations until we can
Unite as Americans,
Who see individual human hearts
With the same color blood.
Peace comes from within.

Sandi Horton
Waco, Texas
2014 Art of Peace Anthology



In desert place
or verdant turf,
near high rocks
or lively surf,
be the garden,
be the seed,
be the one
who meets a need.
Be peace potential
daring chance.
Be the harvest.
Be the dance.

Jackie McVey
Tyler, TX
2018 Art of Peace



We mix, mingle, swirl and twirl.
We ebb and flow in rhythms of shared lives.
We are community!
We are beautiful!

No corona Covid can deter; no isolation can break
The determined embrace of our hearts.
We are beautiful!
We are community!

In the food lines, in the testing lines
We stand – Six feet apart —
Some giving, some receiving.
Hearts embrace in compassion and gratitude.
The embrace seen in caring eyes.
The embrace felt through warm masked smiles.
The embrace heard in words of hope, encouragement, and peace.
We are community!
We are beautiful!

A knee takes the breath of our brother.
We take a knee in respect and solidarity.
In shared anguish and grief, we rise up.
We rise up in peace proclaiming justice.
We rise up in peace seeking equity.
We rise up in peace embracing our brothers’ hurts and hearts.
We are beautiful!
We are community!

Still, we swirl, twirl, mix and mingle.
We ebb and flow in rhythms of shared lives.
Though distanced, our hearts embrace for peace.
We rise up! We proclaim!
We are beautiful!
We are community!

Brenda McWilliams
Tyler, Texas
2020 Art of Peace

Sowing Seeds of Peace


In the garden of peace and goodwill
Be willing to lend a hand.
Begin with the favor of friendship
If afraid, keep your head down
but don’t forget to smile.

Bring a handful of seeds,
wildflowers work best, but
sunflowers shine brightest.
Intertwine ivy for persistence
and a smile for good measure.

Build a bridge of friendship.
Sow seeds on both sides.
Welcome the weary traveler
with a cup of cool water, share
seeds of goodwill and a smile.

Peace begins with this blessing.
Someone pulls weeds & tills the soil
Someone else risks sowing a seed,
Soon peace sprouts and begins to spread.
Look around you. Peace begins with a smile!

Joyce Gullickson
Georgetown, TX
2018 Art of Peace Anthology

all home


where faith marries tolerance
where freedom chooses moderation
where indignation bleeds forgiveness
where tradition cheers creative air
where inner ethic out-lawyers law
where power unfolds its cloak for plight
where rote concedes to inspiration
where noise subsides at any song
where all bravado dissolves in prayer

take us all home
we want to live there

Judith Austin Mills
Pflugerville, TX
2015 Art of Peace Anthology

What’s That Sound?


What’s That Sound Momma?
What’s that sound?
Honey, its grass growing
It’s the wind blowing
Its time going on its merry way
It’s the end of another day.

What’s that sound Daddy?
What’s that sound?
Son its bones extending
It’s brother’s lending
Its time bending to meet new beginnings
It’s the stretch of never ending

What’s that sound grandpa?
What’s that sound?
Child that’s rooster crowing
That’s grandma sewing
It’s the flowing of truth seeking a place to be
It’s the sound of being free.

What’s that sound grandma?
What’s that sound?
Oh that well let me tell ya
Its hearts breaking
Its minds shaping
It’s the aching of eyes filled with tears
It’s the crinkle of forgotten years
It’s living alone
It’s finding a home
Its struggle and its strife
Son, that sound is just the sound of LIFE”.

Written By Michael Guinn
From the book “Crying In Colors”

Our Kind

after Naomi Shihab Nye, “Kindness”

Let us be kind;
kith and kin,
Our kind,
of blood,
Our kind
of chlorophyll,
Our kind
of mineral,
Our kind
of water,
Our kind
of air,
Our kind
of fire, of light,
Our kind,
our kith and kin,
let us be.

Katherine Durham Oldmixon Garza
Austin, Texas, USA
2019 Art of Peace Anthology

Like a Bridge


Lord, so many people are hurting,
not just here, but all over the world.
How can You bear to see it all?
Some suffer physically
from injury, illness, want.
Others suffer in ways only You see,
psychologically, spiritually,
but all stand on a shore, an edge,
somehow needing to crossover
to a place of safety, healing.

For centuries, bridges have been used
to get from one place to another.
Some of those hurting may only need
to cross a stream, or river, but others
face wide expanses of wild waves,
or a seemingly bottomless chasm.
Take me, and others who are like-minded,
intertwine, fashion us into a bridge,
whether long or short, vine or steel.
Let us help some suffering soul
cross safely to the other side.

Catherine L’Herisson
Garland, TX
2015 Art of Peace Anthology

Separate Development


We must develop separately, you and I,
you on your side, me on mine.
The wall between us

They built it so.

We must undermine it, you and I,
you on your side, me on mine,
Burrow beneath
the rocky foundation,
scratch away,
one stone at a time.

Wall falls down.

Lynn White
North Wales, Great Britain
2015 Art of Peace Anthology

Blessed Are the Peacemakers


For they shall be called:
Poets, whose words promote peace.
Ecclesiastics enslaved by mercy and
Allayers of pain and grief in war.
Confirmers of harmony, as befitting
Emancipators of slavery.
Mothers who teach children love, not hate.
Artisans of hope and
Kindlers of freedom’s fires, who are the
Esteemed of God, as a creation.
Radical in pursuit of peace and never
Silent in their defense of the common good.

Sue Roberts
Arp, TX
2019 Art of Peace Anthology

The Unity Meeting


By working together, with everyone contributing what they can,
a greater good is achieved.
– Stone Soup

She sits at the library table,
masked and properly distanced.
Though weary of the chaotic discord,
she resists stagnation, urges her mind to flow
in the direction of determined action and attitude,
to do justice, love kindness, walk humbly with your God.

The voice from the next table
speaks with an accent of awakening.
You must educate yourself.
To live as welcoming, inclusive people
calls first for awareness of history,
acknowledgement of our roots.

Tune your heart to hear the stories:
Indian lands were stolen from my ancestors.
My aunt swam the Rio Grande.
My grandfather arrived as a stowaway
hidden in the bottom of a ship.
Grandmother was born into slavery.

This is a reset, a revolution, she thinks, a resolve
to listen, appreciate one another, as we are, where we are,
resist us-versus-them assumptions,
blend our unique talents and spiritual gifts
for the benefit of all.
She is at home in the melting pot.

Carol Thompson
Tyler, Texas