peace within

image of peace

credit – paulo zerbato

Today is New Year’s Day. We will not be going inside to write. But that doesn’t mean we aren’t thinking about the women behind bars longing for peace in their own lives and the lives of loved ones. Some of the women are actively working toward some kind of inner peace, whether it be coming to terms with an addiction or recovering from long-term abuse or learning to regard themselves with greater affection and respect.

No matter what the challenge before any one of us, it seems clear that being at peace within is a major starting point. When writing from prison, the play on words carries more than double weight.

The following poem was created (or in poetic vocabulary, ‘found’) from lines shared at the December 18 writing group when peace was the topic. This shared-wisdom gathering of lines into something new and strong feels like an appropriate greeting for the change of years. May we all find peace within in order to be able to make broader peace a reality.


I don’t want to just ‘get by’ anymore,
count the hours left in each day
waiting, longing, hoping for peace.

Places like this make it hard to have peace.
You can’t fix your life,
or people who create havoc intentionally.

I feel this hollow well and everyone is thirsty
jealous of those who have peace and happiness.
Simply getting by, stuck waiting – exactly the wrong thing.

Every day I strive to find peace within my space
open hands willing to take me as I am.
How difficult peace can be to achieve!

Peace is an attitude,

a pause before darkness,
a broken heart healed by time,
being content –
one thing the world can’t take away from you.

A face circles around uniting with itself.
What you dish out will surely come back
to the heart where the soul lives.

I stare into the center
pulling shape from heart to sky.
The choice remains.

swb – found from read-back lines at 12/18/14 writing group inside

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