Ever wondered how to spend Valentine’s Day as a peace activist? Or how to bring new energy to your engagement with a struggle at times weighing down all too heavily upon us? Well, both these questions were creatively answered by Tuft University’s World Peace Foundation.
World Peace Foundation houses one of our own, Youth Fusion’s Core Team Member Nico Edwards. Nico responded with a poem painting an allegory of peace as spring, and war as winter, inspired by all the metaphors that the cold and dark of winter and the journey of spring flowers allow to depict the challenges facing those who advocate for peace in a world that has normalised war. The poem is named after and ends with a reference to Eirene, which means peace in greek and who was the goddess of both peace (eirênê) and the season of spring (eiar) in greek mythology, the precedent to the Roman goddess of Pax.
I think of peace, like spring.
Like sapling trees in mudreplete ground,
or primrose necks,
bending at the weight of a world at war.
The slenderness of such stalks eluding the strength
residing in the rootwebs underneath.
Is that true for us too?
I breath peace, like pollen.
Knowing it not as disease, but more
as the unease with which we cease to appease
the lulling chills of winter.
Just like that of war.
Pollen polluting that which is dead with what is alive,
surely this is true, for us too?
Tulip buds scratching at our memories,
so entrenched in winter’s sickness.
Those of light before the dark, remember?
Darkness first a cover then the captor,
anti-war wishes, like willow branches
caught in the denseness of December.
But willows spring to life in February,
did you know?
Catkins calling for their comatose sun,
like the springing awake of a dormant truce.
Willows weeping is the sign of seasons grieving,
those we lost to winter’s will.
But grief can be deceiving,
can you not tell?
Tears first sting the cheek, then flush away the pain.
Salty and stark is the breeze of renewal,
no power, no fervour, like that of spring rains.
And so, I think of spring like peace –
the seasonal embodiment of Eirene.
Eirene herself, the personification of peace
and the gatekeeper of eiar, all in one.
Her cornucopia awash with crocus,
her sceptre shining bright by snowdrop shroud,
her rhyton replete with hyacinth and hellebore.
Her words born from and borne by those pollen winds,
Forget-me-nots, Forget-me-nots, Forget-me-nots.
Never underestimate the power of poetry! When all seems dreary, creative practice in any shape or form can enable alternative forms of solidarity and connectivity, and offer both solace and hope, even where we thought there were none.
What would your peace poem be?
By: Nico Edwards, Core Member of Youth Fusion