Monday, December 29, 2014

peace and understanding

The birthday of the world

by Marge Piercy

On the birthday of the world
I begin to contemplate
what I have done and left
undone, but this year
not so much rebuilding

of my perennially damaged
psyche, shoring up eroding
friendships, digging out
stumps of old resentments
that refuse to rot on their own.

No, this year I want to call
myself to task for what
I have done and not done
for peace. How much have
I dared in opposition?

How much have I put
on the line for freedom?
For mine and others?
As these freedoms are pared,
sliced and diced, where

have I spoken out? Who
have I tried to move? In
this holy season, I stand
self-convicted of sloth
in a time when lies choke

the mind and rhetoric
bends reason to slithering
choking pythons. Here
I stand before the gates
opening, the fire dazzling

my eyes, and as I approach
what judges me, I judge
myself. Give me weapons
of minute destruction. Let
my words turn into sparks.

We're slouching toward the end of the year now. And though up until now there's been little time to think about where we've been, perhaps there will be an interval where we can sit with our thoughts.

What have I done toward peace? I'm thinking small here. I'm thinking about the peace of a single other person.

I came across this line by George Orwell a little while back, and it's stuck with me:

"Perhaps one did not want to be loved so much as to be understood."

Which brings me back to a past obsession with the peace prayer of Saint Francis.

The Prayer of Saint Francis

Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy.

O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console,
To be understood as to understand,
To be loved as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
It is in dying to self that we are born to eternal life.

{listen to Sarah McLachlan sing the prayer}

As has been asked, what's so funny about peace, love and understanding

One of my end of year rituals is to go through my closet, and donate a bag of clothes to charity. In all honesty, it has more to do with paring down, attempting to achieve a minor sort of minimalism. This year, I've also gone through kitchen cupboards and taken away an array of unused things. 

I know that many people like to choose a word to focus on through the next year. And I'm not sure that I'll do that - but two words keep presenting themselves to me:  peace   and    minimalism

Obviously there are connections to be made between the two. But looking at the usual hodgepodge of words above, I can also see another one that stands out for me:  understanding.

For you? What will you lean toward in the coming year?


  1. So much is going to change for me this year...perhaps "change," or "transition," "metamorphosis," "Becoming..." It is an interesting question and one I will have to ponder. I guess I feel with all the changes in store, it would be hard to know what I will word will resonate with me in the next 12 months.

    1. Maybe a word / or focus every month? :) Good luck in the upcoming year and may all the changes be positive.

  2. I have chosen words in the past, only to want to change them after a few months into the new year. So this year I'm not sure that I'll choose a word..I'm just going to go with the flow..oh, ok...then maybe that's my word...flow! Never mind!

  3. My word is 'breathe'. I hope to rest and read more. Getting older has thrown me for a loop. I was expecting another 20 good years, but can see the decline starting already. I hope to breathe more in-between things, and breathe more outside :) Happy New Year

    1. Excellent word :) I see a long future for you :) xo and happy new year to you too!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...