Monday, September 10, 2018


Today, my friends, the day before September 11th, a day when the world we knew toppled around our ears 17  years ago, we are contemplating peace, in poems written by Bjorn Rudberg, of  Bjorn Rudberg's Writings,  Toni Spencer,  known to us as Kanzen Sakura, and Paul Scribbles,  who writes at his blog of the same name. Peace being even more elusive these days, I thought it would be nice to contemplate the topic, in all of its colors and possible locations. We hope they speak to you.


It must be a color less like the soil
not ochre, sienna or brown
reminding of trenches or graves;
it cannot be red
as the rage of revenge,
the color of wounds.
It cannot be blue as depression of death.
nor green as the battlefield grass;
not grey as the ashes of seamen
tossed to the waves;
not black like a dress for a widow
not yellow of gangrene
or corpses left in the sun.
The color of peace has to be white
white as the carrier pigeons
      bringing back letters to home,
white as the paper of unwritten poems
white as the canvas for painters
white as daylight in spring;
white as the hope of armistice,
white as the mother of rainbows,
white as beginnings and ends,
white as the new fallen snow,
white is the color of peace.

Sherry: White is such a peaceful color, the color of doves. I love the idea there is a mother of rainbows.

Bjorn: I wrote this poem for a prompt on peace. If I remember correctly the prompt was originally more in the terms of a peaceful place, but I think that any place can be peaceful if you find peace in yourself.
I actually started my poem by asking myself what color I could associate with peace, and when I thought awhile I found it easier to dismiss most colors because of their association with war and death. Of course white could also have association to death, but I thought that the best part of white is that of opportunities in a blank sheet of paper or a painter’s canvas. That peace always means to start anew, by hinting at from the white we can reclaim every color again (as the mother of rainbows). I was actually stuck when I wrote this poem, but it incorporates some of the elements that can be used when writing about something as abstract as peace:

  • Tie it to something you can feel with your senses (sight, scent, sound or touch)
  • Remember also the opposite… describing peace in opposite to war.
  • Lists are always effective when you get stuck.

As this poem was a very rough sketch, I think that it could be worked on a little bit more, like using some of the nuance of color rather than the primary colors. I think it might benefit from making some of the descriptions more specific, like writing trenches of Somme instead of just trenches. I don’t think any poem is ever finished… and most ideas could be worked on using our poetic toolbox. 

Sherry: Thank you, Bjorn, for your poem and for some cool tips on writing. We so appreciate that!

Toni had a very definite perspective on the color of peace. Let's take a look.

Peace comes in many colors – like the rainbow,
like us humans or animals or flowers.
You may not think so, but red is the color of peace –
the tomato plucked from the bounty of my backyard garden
and handed over the short fence to the neighbor next door –
red of holly berries nestled among dark green clusters
of leaves hidden deep in the forest, with white snow
softly falling or the cardinal perched on the branch –
The red of maple leaves preparing for winter sleep
or the red of the rose given to a beloved.
Long blondeblackbrownred braids tied at the ends
with perky red bows.
Red is the color of peace – of units of blood donated
for someone about to undergo life saving surgery
for the child with cancer
or the service person needing
emergency treatment.
The wild apples are red and hang down far enough
a herd of deer can satisfy their hunger.
Red are the azaleas planted by my father years ago
that continue to bloom after all this time.
Strawberries from my garden are rich and red and sweet.
Red is also the color in the jars of preserves
I make and give out as gifts to anyone.
Red is my generations old flowering quince
blooming in a freezing snow.
The heart your child drew and the words “I Love You”
hangs with pride on your refrigerator door
photographed and posted on Facebook so everyone would know
– drawn with a bright red crayon.
Peace is what we make it and it is colored by our souls,
our hearts our words and actions.
If our words and actions do not speak of peace and hope
how can we be peace and hope to a world
sadly in need of both?
You may not think so, but red is the color of peace.
copyright kanzensakura

Sherry: I believe it is. I can see that red tomato, handed over the fence to a neighbor. 
Toni: People often think of the color red as being a color of aggression. Because I volunteer at the local Food Bank, cooking or delivering food, I have learned people miss fresh produce the most. So I began planting extra produce to share, especially luscious red tomatoes. One of my elderly people, Miss Pearl, particularly loved summer tomatoes but had not had a garden for years and could rarely afford a fresh tomato. Last year I shared my first tomato with her. Her yes grew big and full of tears as she cradled it against her cheek. I realized then that the color red was the color of love and peace. I began working on this poem, pulling out all the positives I could find about red. Red was also my mother's favorite color, so it is also the color of happiness to me.
Sherry: How I love the story of that tomato! I can see Miss Pearl's eyes, and am so happy you make sure she enjoys fresh tomatoes. Working with the Food Bank must be very rewarding. Good for you, doing what you can to ease peoples' struggle.
Let's wind up by reflecting on Paul's poem about peace. It is a beauty!

Peace comes easy in the glade
birdsong soothing every moment
Peace comes easy in the forest
trees whispering songs of the ancients
Peace comes easy in the cabin
time moving so slowly it is stopping
but how do I find Peace in the broken
how do i find Peace in the war zones
how do i find peace with my own troubles
how do i find Peace when so many cannot
it is there
in the breath of the life i engage with
in the simple knowledge of being alive
in the  ever present eternal now
in the understanding that Peace is presence
and in the acceptance
that i can only be responsible
for my own

Sherry Marr photo

Sherry: You have summed it up perfectly, Paul. The only place we can truly find peace is within. Your glade sounds very beautiful, and must contribute greatly to your peacefulness.

Paul: I have often pondered the concept and practice of locating peace when others cannot. Can I truly have peace knowing others suffer? Can I find peace in the midst of my own suffering? In the poem, I lead with thoughts on how easy peace can come in nature. How it just drapes itself about our being.

However, what happens when thoughts arise that link us to situations that are not peaceful? Where do we go with that? My answer is to drop into being....into full presence...into the works....and it perhaps allows us to accept that which we cannot change, allowing our own sense of peaceto remain alongside a compassionate heart for the suffering of others.

Sherry: Paul, you have expressed it to perfection. I have had to re-learn this truth personally this summer,  working to preserve my peacefulness in a situation where my response was all I could control. Thank you for saying this so well.

Thank you, dear poets, for your wonderful contemplation of peace. We do hope our readers enjoyed them as much as we did. Do come back, friends, and see who we talk to next. Who knows? It might be you!


  1. Thank you Sherry for posting these poems if peace. I firmly believe we hold peace within us. Not separating from the damaged world but engaging in it, sharing our peace with each other. Bless you for your hard work.

  2. You are welcome, Toni. Thank you for participating. Yes, peace begins within each one of us. So it must be possible in the world.

  3. This so wonderful to see.... the world can sometimes feel scary and cold, but in the end we can only do it better by each bringing peace... and it starts from within.

  4. I love all these poems. I read them repeatedly as I contemplated the colours, the impact of- and the origin of ultimate peace coming from within. Beautiful!

  5. this is a great feature ... (following on last week's most interesting one as well) ... and what better way than to meet and greet these poems (I remember each one clearly) and am stilled enthralled with them - and am loving each message ~

    thanks to you Sherry and to Toni, Bjorn and Paul for sharing with us here -

    and may we all walk with peace in our hearts and extend it outwards - radiating like rays of sun and hope.

  6. What a beautiful start to my day, to be reminded of the many ways to experience peace. And what a beautiful reminder that, in our poetry, we can give it out to others – as all three poets have done here by conjuring it for themselves. Many thanks, Paul, Toni, Bjorn and Sherry!

  7. A wonderful trio of poems and interviews, Sherry, in time for tomorrow's terrible anniversary.

  8. A terrible anniversary, indeed. It is good to hold space for that terrible day, for all the souls lost, and those who miss them still.

  9. One of my students had a 9/11 birthday, which was forever ruined by the 2001 events. Such a small moment in the scheme of things, but the lost moments pile up with the deaths and the causes of violence. So I love the colors--white, red--for me dark brings a kind of peace, dark reveals the Light--and presence, definitely presence. Thank you for these poems and poets today, Sherry. Thank you Bjorn, Toni and Paul.

  10. Wonderful poetry. I remember when, after 9/11, poets always used to write poems in memory of that awful day. Seems long ago now. I find myself agreeing with Bjorn that the color of peace would be white. Paul, I like the way you talk about locating peace. We all must find a way to do this in these less-than-peaceful times, and your words are inspiring. Toni, I do understand why you would think red would be the color of peace as well - the color of blood donated, rather than the color of an injured soldier. All a matter of perspective. Wonderful and thoughtful poems by all. Thank you, Sherry, for this feature.

  11. Oh wow Sherry these were so deeply inspiring to find peace all around us...indeed this is a terrible anniversary that I tend to ignore but you have given me a different perspective and way to find peace through this week and beyond. And thank you poets for your beautiful words.....

  12. Wonderfully rendered, impactful poems of peace, Bjorn, Toni and Paul! A timely - given tomorrow's sad anniversary - and compelling choice, Sherry. Once again, I found the backstory of each piece to be fascinating. I love the idea of envisioning virtues in colors - as well as the places where they may be found … and I may explore that a bit, myself. Great job on this, Poets!

  13. Bjorn Toni and Paul! Encore Sherry for highlighting 3 'peaceful' personalities. Peace is so elusive and needs reminding on those who can make a difference. Having colors relating to peace can make them more interesting as a subject matter to remember.


  14. Three very fine poems on peace, that very elusive thing that we are trying to hold on to. I like how Bjorn arrived at his colour of peace, by a process of elimination and comparison. Likewise, Toni believes that the colour of peace is red, and she has so many reasons to support it. I have no quarrel with her as red to us Chinese is an auspicious colour. And then there is Paul's poem that one can find peace within oneself, and in the simple things in life.

    Three very enjoyable poems to read about peace. Thank you!

  15. I love these three breathtaking poems on peace and love these poets Bjorn, Toni, and Paul as well!!! A wonderful feature Sherry.

  16. A beautiful feature, Sherry! Wonderful to read Bjorn, Toni and Paul's poems on peace on this page. Thank you for sharing your journeys to peace, Poets!! Sometimes, strains of music start breathing within you...and this page was one such kind. Let peace prevail...Amen!

  17. Thank you, little drop of peace in the bucket of mankind. Smiles.

  18. Thanks, Sherry, for this introspective look into how three immensely talented poets see peace. Wonderful feature.

  19. Each poem seemed to lead into the next; a lovely meditation on all the ways to see and share peace. Thank your for these. :)

  20. Of course there is no real colour of peace as every colour can reflect that state. All three poems were quite beautiful and it is so sad that we can't be more friendly and cooperative with each other but religion, language, colour, and way of life for some reason are the cause for so much conflict.

  21. Thank you Sherry, for such a wonderful post!! I loved each poem and love the poets too.


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