Tuesday, June 28, 2022

June 2022 Winners: Peace Poems

Sketch for Peace Descends to Earth

Eugene Delacroix - 1852. Wikiart

 “Peace is an abstract word. As this month’s judge, Susan Fleming Holm, commented, it is hard to select winning poems on such a theme that can be interpreted in so many ways. She selected a poem by Joan Leotta (who will be familiar to followers of this blog) for third place.


My True Peace


Peace does not come in the still of the night

or the silent scenes of beauty dawn offers.


Rather, peace is a noisy construct of contented moments—

a child’s laughter, birdsong, a duck splashing

into a pond, her ducklings following, quacking.


Peace is two friends chattering over wine, coffee:

recalling, remembering, regaling.


Peace is a goodnight kiss shared by an

old married couple who stretch across

their bed to reach each other’s cheeks.


I appreciate scenes of calm called “Still Life”

 “Landscape”, and starry nights when I am alone.


But true peace comes when my inner voices

can relax  in a pool of joy, contentment

energized by love—noisy, messy, everyday love.

~ Joan Leotta

Comments from the judge: “I really liked the concept of peace as a ‘noisy construct of contented moments’ because it portrays peace as a truly human attainment that is not necessarily (or stereotypically) quiet & is accomplished in & by human activity.   


Second place was won by a rhyming poem.

The Great Composer

I am a great composer
with notes that never cease.

But if I could compose one thing
I’d write a song of peace.

My piano keys are black and white
playing side by side.

I’d make each note resound with joy
echoing in pride.

The four strings on my violin
I’d bow with elegance,
as trumpets blow, and chimes ring out
resounding eloquence.
The graceful wispy piccolo

a whistling flute’s sweet tone

The sharp bright mellow clarinet

an oboe and trombone.

My story that my song will tell
a rat-a-tat of drums,
respect for all and love embraced
the deep bass cello hums.

There’ll be singing to a gentle rhyme
and dancing all around.

A melody together
when harmony is found.

~ E. A. Garone

The judge’s comments: “The theme of music to speak of peace is a thoughtful and, in this case, detailed approach.  One specific descriptor - the piano keys in black and white, seemed especially good and appropriately inclusive for a theme of peace, as did the choice of the last word in the last line in that second stanza: ‘echoing in pride.’"   


The winning poem speaks powerfully of what can result from the absence of peace.

I Would Music Make Once More

When the last son has fallen,
there will be a need for bards
to sing dirges and old lullabies,
to remember lives cut short. 

I will set down my useless rifle,
take my guitar in wearied hands,
and play a saints' procession
to lead them to our hearts. 

When the last shell is fired,
there will be silence unknown
during the years of fighting,
and a need to honor it. 

I will find a whole piano,
miraculous in the rubble,
and play a gentle melody
so babes may peaceful sleep. 

When the last war is over,
there will be no parade
to celebrate the peace,
no dancing in the streets. 

I will stand atop my tank
and play the violin,
a requiem for all
that have and has been lost. 

~ Lennart Lundh

 This poem first appeared in World Healing World Peace (inner child press, 2018).

The judge’s comments: “The first line of this poem, positing peace in terms of its absence, and terms that are human and painful (and most particularly the use of the word "son" and not "man"), grabbed me right away. I also liked where the poem goes from this beginning: to art, and especially music.  I felt that the balancing of themes: human loss; memory expressed in music ........ was a thoughtful and very human and relatable approach to the abstract theme of Peace.... I liked this poet's approach to the theme of peace, and the first line/ and "son" especially created a brilliant entry into his death/memorial juxtaposition.”


These poets retain copyright on their own poems.


Honorable Mentions were awarded to "The Quiet Time" by Thomas Hemminger ; "Lines Written Under the Arms of a Live Oak" by Steven Croft; and "Rocky Run" by Peggy Trojan.



Steven Croft lives on a barrier island off the coast of Georgia. He is the author of New World Poems (Alien Buddha Press, 2020).  His poems have appeared in

Willawaw Journal, San Pedro River Review, The New Verse News, North of Oxford,

Anti-Heroin Chic, Soul-Lit, and other places, and have been nominated for

the Pushcart Prize and best of the Net.

E.A. Garone has been a college instructor for more than three decades teaching courses in English, mass communications, fine art, and digital design. Earning a doctorate from Columbia University, Dr. Garone has been a published writer and enjoys writing fiction and poetry focusing on unusual stories, thoughtful situations, and mysterious events.

Thomas Hemminger is an elementary music teacher living in Dallas, Texas with his wife and son. As a music teacher, Thomas writes many songs and poems for his classroom but none of his work is yet published. His personal and professional hero is Mr. Fred Rogers, the creator and host of Mr. Rogers Neighborhood. Being the son of an English Language Arts teacher, Thomas grew up surrounded by prose and poetry. Furthermore, his mother’s love of verse, and her own talented pen, impressed a deep love for the art within him. Away from the classroom, Thomas enjoys spending time with his family going hiking, camping, and fishing when the North Texas weather permits.

Susan Fleming Holm holds an undergraduate degree in Spanish and English from the College of Wooster (Ohio) and graduate degrees in Spanish language and literature from the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kansas.  Now retired, she was the Dorothy Donald Professor of Modern Foreign Languages at Monmouth College in Illinois, where she taught for 25 years. She now lives in Topeka, Kansas, and continues to write.  She has published poetry and essays in Inscape, Bordersenses, Pirene's Fountain, and in Tales from the Expat Harem, published by Seal Press in the USA, and by Do─čan Kitap in Turkish/Turkey.  She has lived, taught, studied and/or researched in the Middle East, in Europe, and in the Americas.  

Joan Leotta is an author and story performer. Her writing has appeared before on this Blogspot, and is in or forthcoming in Brass Bell, Lost Papers, Verse Virtual, Verse Visual, Pinesong, and other presses. She performs folk and personal tales of food, family, strong women, and the natural world. She's been nominated for a Pushcart, has won a Best of Net, and is a runner up in this year's Robert Frost Foundation contest

Lennart Lundh is a poet, photographer, historian, and short-fictionist. His work has appeared internationally since 1965.

Peggy Trojan, age eighty-nine, published her first poem when she was seventy-seven. Her new release, a collection about her father, titled PA, won second in the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets Chapbook contest in 2022. It is a finalist for the North East Minnesota Book Award for 2022.  Her previous release, River, won second in the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets Chapbook contest in 2021. It also won an award of Outstanding Achievement from the Wisconsin Library Association. She is the author of two full collections and five chapbooks. Her books are available on Amazon. 


Check back on July 1 for a new challenge.



© Wilda Morris