Enticing bright elusive butterfly,
Flitting through the tangled briar
Of mindless conflict,
Passing by but never landing.
Ephemeral plasma forming, glowing dimly
Amid the gloom of mistrust’s dark despair,
Near but never warming.
Peace, allegoric white dove prayed for,
Leaving only tattered feathers
In an outstretched hand.
Peace, wild fish on river bed,
Cast for over and again,
With different lengths of line
And varied flies
Seeking that rise;
Riding the rushing stream,
The current’s constant strain,
Not simple to be tempted to the net.
Peace, the eerie still before the storm,
Gulling the Big Easy before Katrina raised her skirts
And broke the Levees.
Peace, offering normality before Merapi blows her top
And sears the lives of all who trust her.
Peace, the Christmas football game in No-Man's-Land,
Among the mutual carols,
Prelude to a human slaughter on a scale unknown;
False-comforter, false flatterer, false weather-vane, false Peace.
Peace, the gentle anaesthetic lack of oxygen
Collapsing lungs in the collapsing mine,
Death’s lullabying silhouette which yet feeds hope of life,
And still gives reason to go on.
Peace, who stalks byzantine roadmaps of negotiation,
Often abused to warp conciliation’s progress,
But cannot be containerised by Process;
And still drives modern saints to martyrdom.
Peace, that graceful gentle falling snow
Hushing the world around,
Purifying the ground of every trace
Of frantic human ministry.
Peace, that great free elemental force
Who sails the skies on seagulls’ wings,
Drifting, swooping, soaring on the breeze;
Peace, that stillness born of calm,
The surface of the mountain lake,
Untouched by wind,
Contrasting in perfection of reflection the yin to nature's yang.
Peace, who wears so many masks,
You are sought in art and history,
In crevices of violence and under hatred’s arches,
Caught in the language
Of conflict resolution’s prose,
A pure white bloodstained rose,
The grail-like dirge-like theme of songs and marches.
Yet, Peace, you do not hide in dusty books,
Nor lines of poetry,
Nor politicians’ tele-friendly looks
Nor words of rich rhetoric declamation.
You do not live, nor have you ever lived,
In human mind, or writing, or polemic;
But only and ever and immutably
In Man's heart;
And in men’s hearts alone will you be found.