“Explaining a Peace Sign to a Toddler” …. responses to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt

THE LAST WEDNESDAY WRITING PROMPT June 21: Times and places of peace leave no scars to jog our memories and stoke the fires of our hope. Remember peace or imagine it: What would a world at peace look like?

My own poem that accompanied the prompt was about re-imagining a war torn place – Syria – into peace. Some have taken the prompt and pointed it at inner peace or the personal experience of a peaceful moment, both of which would be the everyday norms of a peaceful world. S.E. Ingram writes about explaining peace to a child … and it is peace to that child when he and his brother stop hitting one another. And so it is with the world at large.

Thanks to all who came out to play.


It never occurred to me how impossible
it might be to describe a concept to a child
An innocent whose frame of reference
doesn’t yet extend to encompass such
atrocities as war
So how to explain the need for peace

I give him a teddy-bear that is tie-dyed,
a souvenir from a trip to New Orleans;
I don’t notice until he’s holding it that
the bear is sporting a peace sign on its
miniature T-shirt, and naturally the 2 year
old wants to know what it “says”

He understands the hexagonal red road
signs mean “stop”, and the inverted yellow
triangles mean “wait” (yield actually, but
it’s a word still beyond him)
But peace? I try to explain about fighting
and then no fighting
He nods wisely, asks me if it’s like when he
and his brother “hit” and then get into
Is it “peace” when they both stop hitting
In a way, I tell him, in a way…

© 2017, S. E. Ingram

on a hill

above a bay containing a quiet sea
not quite knowing
so many years ago
the drift of my soul
or the even more alien drift of the soul
of that other now just
a sometimes voice on the telephone—
this single event
comes back to me now
when I could very well do without it:
it was a moment before going back for hotel teatime
on a hill complete with sensation of slipping down & off
above a bay containing such a quiet sea

such a long remorseful soul-drift
between then & now

and that is all you’ll know of it
except that you’ll compare it
with that small event that drifts
in & out of your own recollection
particle & wave depending on your angle
(both together when you look away
from what’s held in place
by time & space maybe something like
a hill… a bay… a sea quietly moving there
stuck like a tune on an old record)

my self the zero coordinate
(emergent uprising)
held in place momentarily by
the elements that constitute
a State of Being:

walker & path walked;
dreamer & dream-journey;
thinker & web of thought


This was a moment of peace that may seem like some kind of scar but my own quiet state now is a ‘zero coordinate’, unifying all, which is a rather larger moment of peace still warmly linked to that hill above a bay… I feel myself there right now nearly sixty years ago!

The poem comes from my The Recovery of Wonder (Hub Editions, 2013)

© 2013, Colin Blundell (Colin Blundell, All & Everything)

The Star Second to the Right

In a time primordial when first life began
unimaginative of the harsh realities of wars
when sunrises and sunsets were ethereal
she can only imagine stepping into dreams
of discovering an unblemished world of those
dreams made of translucent skies so that
much like Peter all she has to do is to go
to the star second to the right and straight
on till morning or perhaps like Alice she
should eat but a small bit of cake to become
just the right size to enter the garden
there upon discovering a different world
for in seeing forever is the powerful force
where oceans teeming with life are no longer
a graveyard of war ships but only coral reefs
a delightful dance of colors and creatures
and where gardens floral are wondrous delights
for children playing for hate is not a word
so cannot invade her dreams that will always
be pristine as newly fallen snow in Winter
with skies so clear she can revel to see them all
from anywhere to blissfully fly to the star second
to the right and straight on till morning

© 2017, Renee Espriu (Renee Just Turtle Flight)


it is an older mirror,
speckled with time.

liquid memories,

we make a place of safety
with our thoughts and habits.

our work. our souls
are in our chests.

look here, she said.
please, do not touch
the ladies bed,
with lavender and velvet pillow.

the way is barred now,
the time is past.

things have become misshapen.

© 2017, Sonja Benskin Mesher (Sonja Benskin Mesher, R.C.A.)

that feeling, that .

arrives unexpected from darkness, some winters’ mornings,

opening the door to the sound of one black bran bird calling.

track four repeated. that

comes on waking finding peace and comfort bound in clean

arises with perfume, an uncertain memory.

it may be chemicals, peptides in the brain as love, what
ever the germ or warfare

I find no word to describe, no random feather nor dust on
my plate. pass a finger.

that feeling of trimmed nails upon the keys pounding
words and silences.

while music plays. that feeling. that.

syrup stings my tongue.

© 2017, Sonja Benskin Mesher (Sonja Benskin Mesher, R.C.A.)

We Stop Decay

devote lives to prevent decay
of wood, breath, bone, brick,
gardens of our minds,
faculties of our hearts

Each day we weed, we resow,
rework, rebuild
the wood, breath, bone, brick,
gardens of our hearts,
faculties of our minds.

Laugh to heal the stench
of rot, worm eaten
brick, bone, breath, wood
landscape of flesh
fresh produce of light.

Born to decay in decay
heal the ever opening wound
brick, bone, breath, wood
flesh of landscape
light produce of flesh.


© 2017 Paul Brookes (The Wombwell Rainbow)

Rob Time

of it’s place.

Early morning await vintage diesel train
to Great Yarmouth.

One off First Class Pullman name on backs of armchairs, table light, upturned China tea cups and side plates for

complementary tea and coffee and Chelsea bun.

Pass Manvers Industrial Estate where I used to work and Rotherham where she used to work.

Green and golden fields.

We brought a pack up. Dining Experience too expensive. Pringles and Pound Shop Special Toffee.

Sun shining. Expecting rain at the coast.

© 2017, Paul Brookes (The Wombwell Rainbow)

Inhale Dappled , A Perfumed Air,

step through cast
illuminated windows
of tree crowns,

birdsong lilts blossom fall.
Key all senses keener.
See claw hunt feather.

Feathered mams rescue bairns
from hungry talons. Bigger birds
snatch fluffy kids from nests

to feed their young. Beetles battle
over territory. All fend, forage
in this vision of quiet.

© 2017, Paul Brookes (The Wombwell Rain)