Muriel Rukeyser, from Breaking Open (1973)
Yes, it is there, the city full of music,
Flute music, sounds of children, voices of poets,
The unknown bird in his long call. The bells of peace.
Essential peace, it sounds across the water
In the long parks where the lovers are walking.
Along the lake with its island and pagoda,
And a boy learning to fish. His father threads the line.
Essential peace, it sounds and it stills. Cockcrow.
It is there, the human place.
On what does it depend, this music, the children’s games?
A long tradition of rest? Meditation? What peace is so profound
That it can reach all habitants, all children,
The eyes at worship, the shattered in hospitals?
Meditation, yes; but within a tension
Of long resistance to all invasion, all seduction of hate.
Generations of holding to resistance; and within this resistance
Fluid change that can respond, that can show the children
A long future of finding, of responsibility; change within
Change and tension of sharing consciousness
Village to city, city to village, person to person entire.
With unchanging cockcrow and unchanging endurance
skies of war.