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The Library of Congress > Poetry & Literature > La Casa de Colores > La Familia > Fourth Segment: December 15, 2015 - January 14, 2016
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La Casa de Colores, Hosted by Juan Felipe Herrera, U.S. Poet Laureate, 2015-

La Familia (The Family) is an opportunity for you to contribute to an epic poem of all our voices and styles and experiences that will run the span of my Laureateship. By contributing to La Familia, you will be part of my family—and all our words will be seen and our voices be heard, throughout the nation and beyond. – Juan Felipe Herrera, U.S. Poet Laureate, 2015-

"Let me tell you what peace can bring" — Theme for December 15, 2015 - January 14, 2016

Everyone of us loves peace: peace of mind, peace of heart and—in one way or another—“peace on earth.” Every one of us has a unique way of thinking and feeling about peace. The word “peace” itself includes a set of actions of what it can do for us and for others, for all beings. Tell us about your kind of peace. Write a poem with your list of things that will happen if we attain peace. Use Anaphora (repetition), use clear images too so we can see your kind of peace, so we can taste it too and feel it—and perhaps together we can put our peace into action in these troubled times. I’ll be waiting for you.

How do I peace thee?
Let me count the ways!

Get off the soapbox.
Be welcome to weary hearts,
rest for tired feet.

Less talk, more sing!
Less grab, more share!
Less kick, more kiss!
Less loud, more soft!
Less boast, more bend!

The end!

Peace is freedom from worry and fear,
knowing I won't lose the things I hold dear.
That I may live in a calm, orderly way,
peace is the blessing for which I pray.

A future for those with hungry pasts.
Sunken eyes and blank stares.
They can look to the sun and accept its warmth.
Smile and they will never have their souls dies again.
Speak and they will do so with one heart.

When pistols become plowshares we will plant gardens
that feed the world.
The hungry will flourish and become leaders
of this brave, new planet.

Six poets under a grey sky in Harlem
will contemplate peace
and change a tiny corner of the world.

Outlaw ownership and share everything
(said the poets).
For without masters there are no slaves.
Our currency is love and seeds.

Peace brings love.
You are often taught who to hate,
and learning kindness
you learn to accept the subject which
is also unable to defend itself.

We go to midnight mass the night before Christmas.
We gather with family lovingly.
Watching places with so much unhappiness going on.

My peace gives fear, honest hope and independence.
My love and I give each other peace.
Close to each other.
No will can harm our glory.

Kindness is free.
Love is free.
They bring us peace.

Girls and boys
with free spirits
surrounded with love
Clear as a bell.

Peace and Family

Under the elm two children play with Autumn leaves
How many leaves do we have?
Enough for each on Earth?
Each on Earth, gatherer of soil rich for cucumbers, zucchinis and potatoes
Gatherer of soil
under thousands of oaks

Peace will come the day we forget how to drop the bombs or make the guns,
When we get along underneath the same old sun,
Singing songs in holy unison no matter where we're from,
Yes, peace will come. Peace will come. Pray before the day is done.

can relieve
the grip of heaviness
that keeps us
that holds shoulders back
heads down.
unbind synapsis
freeing minds
to touch the previously unthinkable
to see plainly
what has been hiding in despair.

Dahlia-many petaled splendor
a tribe of tender blends
my dream of peace
that petals lay
side by side as friends
to accept, to respect each other
so the seeds of peace
can be sown and spread
by Johnny Appleseed again
this time all over the world.

Orange Line trolley
zings me home; reading Tom Paine,
a choice solitude.

It has been three months since you died
and the moon is too pretty for me to sleep,
though it is faded and waning
and offers a hurricane of tears.

In the eye of the storm there is now
only the lull of the surf
and the tick of my heart.

When we have peace,
Together we shall address
The harm we have done,
The hungry, the homeless, the ill,
The uneducated,
The unheard.
The wars within us

I get to finally:
Kiss you on the mouth
Kiss your brother on the mouth
Kiss everyone’s brother on the mouth
Flowers in my hair, honey my lips
Flowers in your palms, honeyed my lips—
Emerald glows the concourse.

Peace be with you

all faiths flourish   all hands
open   all creatures free-roaming   all
paths are good   one roof   many villages
joining   parting   reuniting
each year   like the seasons   return
without fail

Peace be with you.

No Peace

From the front porch,
Of the most perfect house known to man,
America has ceased the effort,
To make it home,
Questing instead, for a street of dreams,
Out beyond the hedgerow.

No Peace.

In the silence that follows, your ears roar
A strange and blessed sensation.
You feel the healing begin.
Close your eyes. Breathe. It's over.
Listen to the silence roar.
Marvel at how accustomed you became
To painful, unbearable noise.

For Iraq and for hope

Violin strings sing sad songs
against broken-down cement.


53 distraught displaced children
Sit & watch & listen
Taxis passing by, everything passing by:
Souls searching for another sunny day.

—Close the front door and step onto the sidewalk with no fear of what the rising sun will bring
—Snow falling quietly until the trashcans in the alley are wearing tall white hats
—We can still make something beautiful, even with broken things

We want what we see
We have what we don't need
We see what others have
We take what others need
We break what others give
We abuse what we have
We share less than what we keep
If we give what we don't need
And share what we all have
We all get what we need

Peace can hold our family together
Through any weather. This family
Must consist of everyone. We welcome
Them with a torch like the arms of the sun.

Peace is the sun's brightest ray
keeping us safe all day
we are at peace
when love echoes through the meadows
inside the shaded shadows
into the winds escape
into the bright red rose's lake
rippling on the water of calm
from high earth's psalm.

One day it’ll be months
Since I’ve seen the world 
With a broken heart
So much bloodshed before
now a paper cut
Still waiting for Him Who Has Come Before
To close the wound completely

Today I see the world bleeding
Hearts breaking
with mine

Let me tell you clearly
What peace can easily bring
Smiles to old women and children

Peace can bring mountains that sing
Rivers that run clearly for all to see
Quiet nights with skies where stars twinkle.

it is not my place
the wind is pushing at me in desperation
it is not my place
they need a voice mama says
people listen to us mama says
the trees are bare and i whisper the answer to the chant mama started
we speak for them they need a voice

Peace takes time,
patience, persistence.
I find peace in
nature, nurture,
meditation, mediation.
You seek peace by
calming, quelling,
listening, learning,
respecting, accepting;
truth & truce.
Peace feels like me
in synch with you.

Sing out a lonely lullaby to the sweltering sky and listen for the echo from the moon

Sometimes a heavy heart implodes
in flutter of birdsong
What if you mistook the flight of crows
For heartbeats
Or distant drums
Shared vibration shred into splinters of thunder
Piercing the setting sun
Her mouth, red hot, heartshaped,

I have awoken from a dream to find that peace is the only thing that matters. Not the peace that is the cessation of war but the peace in the space of my breath, where love comes in abundance.

forgiving tears wash away blood
rivers swell with treaty
battlegrounds are healed
barren lands become fertile fields
and bear fruit once again

Peace is the world smiling,
It is all lands bubbling over with
An unspeakable joy.
Stomachs are full,
Children are warm,
And guns are silenced
To hear......
One, lone dove
Offering its olive branch,
As the earth stands by,
Awakened to love

peace brings nothing. it is quiet. it stands between now and never. when you hear a commotion it is true feeling fighting its way out of peaceful intervention. peace polishes its weapons. it is useful in the dark.

The list can go on but these will do.

Peace can bring no weights to drop
to the severed soul.

Peace can shake hands with those strained in both past and today,
even you.

Peace can shine a warm light,
a hug to those who could use one.

It's the answer.

Laughter from peace echoes off unlocked, open windows bringing a smile to the faces of old women and men. Women who nursed babies in tenements decorated with bullet holes. Men who stood in unemployment lines unable to feed their families.

It’s a chameleon word
A trickster
Gets us to expect
A plausible end to the bumps of being
Promises our dreams
A place to at last
Breathe safely
But be wary.
It is too cute.
Too beyond reach.
Always too passing.

Yet true home.
True home.

Lying on a patch of sunlight,
On the kitchen room floor,
Singing a song to myself,
"I am happy with who I am."
Sitting on the living room couch,
Listening to the tranquil koi pond,
Smiling to the neighbors,
My sisters,
That occupy this world.

The gray dove came to the hanging tree
in Peace Park where the homeless man had
taken his life.  She came to assuage
my sense of loss.

On the same day, she came again.
From a magnolia, she let me know,
"He's here.

His peace is in the blossoms."


I am not against Israel.
I am not against Palestine.
I am against wounds to our humanity.
I am for intermingling vines
where fruit is most abundant.

Puzzle pieces
becoming earth,
forming one

A beautiful smile with aroma of cilantro y achiote.
Moments of abrazos y te quieros
Lágrimas de adiós y despedidas
Esperanza en los tiernos besos de mi abuelo y mi abuelita

Peace can bring cultures to share their uniqueness with the world. Peace can bring the wonders of colors to the dinner table; understanding among strangers; peaceful music amongst enemies; tranquility to the mind; life to the soul; love.

That thing surpassing, surprising wing gold along the river,
rising crests to understanding: one, another, skein of
multicolored geese in synchrony, softly shadowed there
where the channel bends before the Highlands

Peace thrives—
In quiet that stifles the drums of war.

Peace thrives—
In softness that blunts the rattling sabers.

Peace thrives—
In hope that terrorizes fear.

Peace thrives—
In good that turns away evil.

Quiet. Soft. Hope. Good.


Open the window and you'll see the sky

do something or nothing's ever gonna happen

everyone at night peacefully sleeps quietness no loudness no screams everyone at daylight should bring peace quietness no loudness no screams

Open bars open hearts, equal rights freedoms right, raised on the west coast living on child support. watching family die like flies ‘cause they are just trying to get by. yeah i'm from the projects a small boy that can’t even finish his project


Peace is harmony
flying over the horizon
plunging into restfulness

While away in order
a period of no war
sleeps in seclusion

Smooth blissful state
symbolizing unity
live in harmony
In Peace

Renewed chatter and shy smiles over dinner plates remind me of the best years. Before the break. Before the move. Before the fall. Forgiveness is the whispering wall in your eyes, saying, "I've missed you, we are new again. Welcome home."

From rest we wake, stretching up up to heaven, breathing in deep from the calm, knowing it is before us, inside each of us, peace

Peace can be a happy thing
A smiling sun drying tears
Peace can be a brave thing
A love bolder than our fears
Peace can be a healing thing
Where butterflies and flowers dance
Peace can be most anything
If always given one more chance.

La paz es un valor muy importante que todas las personas necesitamos para poder ser felices. Cuando nosotros tenemos paz somos libres de pensar y hacer muchas cosas.

La paz es un símbolo de valor que es muy importante en la vida.  Nunca te rindas, ten  paz en ti mismo.

The whole world has peace on their heart but most of the people don't know how to use it. They don't understand that peace is love and life. If everyone knew how to use peace, the whole world could be but just one family.

Nosotros pedimos paz en nuestro país. Nosotros ya no queremos más violencia, nosotros lo que queremos es paz.

The sun comes up
the river flows
We're part of this
The wind, the sun, the water are in this
The breath the drive, the sweat are in this
When we can't see
we use words like grace or fate

Together we rest side-by-side while the house groans; we have said enough words to sit for awhile.
Together my hand and your hand are molten hearts, beating as one; you will not move, I will not move. Tomorrow, yesterday: be still, be quiet.

Let us breathe deeply, lift us from misery
Let us eat happily, truly sustained
Let us touch softly, skin to skin without fear
Let us see each other in all our parts—
Smooth refinement and
Pebbly pits that kindness is yet to touch.
All as one.

Peace is a complex math equation
One wrong move and peace can bring conflict
One wrong move and peace could bring war
there are many ways of getting the wrong
But only a few ways to get the right answer

She'll soar
building nests of soft fern
and fragrant flowers
in useless cannons

She'll soar
after flying
so low so long
to be with them
cooing gently
rustling anew
reminding to look
to look
to blue skies

She'll soar in

Peace is a mirror, staring at passersby, empty rooms, and shut eyes, understanding every image.
It's in our refrigerators, waiting to be prepared. Carrots, fresh basil, chicken broth, but sometimes it is too much trouble. We are hungry.

Peace is the air you breathe.
It is the wind in your lungs escaping as a sigh as smooth as silk,
Knowing all is safe and sound.

It is the soft yellow of the afternoon and its warmth
Wrapping around shaken souls until they shake no more.
Peace holds.

The sun tip-
toed up from the horizon, streams of light dance through the sky, sending life to a new day. The dark night flutters away, warmth kisses your skin with fresh lavender. Heart pumps slow, subtle, sending your body and mind to life.

Earth is green
Trees still grow
Rivers still flow, Earth is green, greener when we wait for the trees to grow till all fruits are ripe. And the seedtime of seasons bloom invoking us to celebrate, inviting us to grow along
This is the seedtime.

Peacetime always bring us time we can use for increasing our education, our knowledge, time for reading, for acquiring culture, time for taking good care of our loved beings and friends. In a word, time to live, care, learn and love others

Peace brings a gentle breeze to an open field, swaying the grass to waltz music. It gives you just-
bloomed baby blue and tutu pink carnations because your heart is smiling. Peace brings smooth pebbles to skip across an infinite lake.

Peace can bring happiness in an empty space
Peace can bring friendships in a war of people
Peace can bring relief in a place of hurt

Peace is something that everyone wants but can't fully get. No matter what, there is always something going on in the world that prevents peace. I'm talking about world peace.

We thought we'd never hear it again:
that snappy crack of a baseball bat
launching our choice of this dance, our hope into the sky.
Laughter, boredom, mischief:
Our choice.
We thought it was our right.
Now, hard-won,
our delight.

A shuttle grin is glued to your face, your body soothed from acceptance and tranquility. The smell of nature fills your nose as the sun rays gently warm your skin. Your body is filled with peace and serenity.

Peace is when all of our mental structures within our minds are put together and you have all of your responsibilities and issues figured out. Peace would look like a sunset on a warm Saturday night with a couple of good friends.

Peace is a ripened fruit glistening in the sunlight hanging on a branch out of your reach. Peace is a steaming warm bowl of soup with a aroma of sweet flavor seducing you, luring its prey as well could smell of rust and stained with blood.

A breath of relief when you finally reach air after being underwater. A big field of tall green grass that one may collapse in. Warm sun rays glowing down upon your skin. Peace wears a long pastel dress adorned with gold emblems.

Peace can bring closure
Peace can bring light
Peace can bring a smile to a storm
Peace can soften the hardest of stone
Peace can turn the deepest of hardships into shallow ponds
Peace is on your dying bed and have no more to say

Peace can bring the feeling of soft feathers gracefully landing on your skin after watching white doves dance their last song to the season of life.

Peace is a
Warm lavender bath
Chocolate ice cream and "The Notebook"
Slipping your heels off
Laughing with someone you love
A homecooked meal
Clean, warm, sheets
Hot coffee on a cold morning
Blue as an untouched lake
Peace is a full heart

What is this world turning to? Why is there so much hate? Why can't we all join together with love? Why must we all alienate by race? Let there be love. No matter if you're red, black, brown, white, or yellow; let's get together and end this hate.

When you can
Live, laugh and love.
Without worrying
You care no matter what
You make room for everyone
It brings the best out of everyone
Resolving without fighting
Caring without knowing
Loving without understanding

Con la paz vendrán risas nuevas.
Los niños jugarán sin temor.
Los ríos cantarán y las flores estallarán,
y el mundo respirará, por fin, tranquilidad y amor.

The stone within the peach will bruise its flesh
upon the fall and so escape. But me, I turn
beneath old sheets that hold me down, press
palm to ribs, aware of all the hardness
within keeping me from peace.
Softness must come. Release. Release.

It's the sun that hits your skin on a winter’s day
It's the sound of crickets chirping in the late night
It's the smell of blankets fresh out of the dryer
It's the taste of chicken soup when you're sick
It's the thought of being in the known

I can't find it here, but I sense it in the moment between doing and doing,
in the animals, in the children.
In the world I see, Sandra Bland says to the trooper: No, you don't have the right.
And he hears her clear, strong voice and listens.

Peace is a feeling that comes
when we touch and hold a trembling kitten
feel purr
like a vibrating motor.

Hold someone's hand
feel palm thumb thumb like a heartbeat.

Holding hands brings peace
Fear and hate lose their strangleholds.

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