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Friday’s Poetic Pause: “Give Us Our Peace” by Langston Hughes

@Solar_Sister announced this week that the poet, Daniel Carlton, will be performing at their and @NextAid‘s Illuminate event in NYC on September 18th. I checked out Carlton’s blog and found this poem he shared by Langston Hughes to be particularly apropos for the week of the 9/11 anniversary.

Give Us Our Peace

Give us a peace equal to the war
Or else our souls will be unsatisfied,
And we will wonder what we have fought for
And why the many died.

Give us a peace of accepting every challenge –
The challenge of the poor, the black, of all denied,
The challenge of the vast colonial world
That long has had so little justice by its side.

Give us a peace that dares us to be wise.
Give us a peace that dares us to be strong.
Give us a peace that dares us still uphold
Throughout the peace our battle against wrong.

Give us a peace that is not cheaply used,
A peace that is no clever scheme,
A people’s peace for which men can enthuse,
A peace that brings reality to our dream.

Give us a peace that will produce great schools –
As the war produced great armament,
A peace that will wipe out our slums –
As war wiped out our foes on evil bent.

Give us a peace that will enlist
A mighty army serving human kind,
Not just an army geared to kill,
But trained to help the living mind.

An army trained to shape our common good
And bring about a world of brotherhood.

Langston Hughes
25 August, 1945

And here’s Daniel Carlton performing his poem, “Harlem.”

***

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  1. 1

    See the poem “Illuminate” by NYC poet Daniel Carlton, composed for and performed at the NextAid and Solar Sister 9/18 event at: http://solarsister.posterous.com/illuminate


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