Musings

To dream of peace

This morning, my friend Mary sent me an email with a link to a video from a documentary, “Playing for Change: Peace Through Music”. It moved me, it inspired me, it made me think. My intent here is not to debate politics or beliefs, but I’m often concerned with both. And when I see something like this, I’m reminded of the words of Rodney King, “Can’t we all just get along?”

But no, of course we can’t. We all wrestle with duality. Good and evil, light and dark, night and day, yin and yang, positive and negative, young and old, win and lose, here and there, up and down, hot and cold, hope and despair—war and peace. Religions are founded on it, wars fought over it, philosophies based on it.

There is no Peace On Earth, because there is no peace within. And so we dream.

Playing For Change: Song Around the World “Stand By Me”

4 thoughts on “To dream of peace”

  1. I don’t know where I would be without my dreams but I sure would like to see the world find peace and maybe the people will find alittle peace within by passing that link around. It had me in tears also!

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  2. I know exactly what you mean. Peace is a complex notion. One word really doesn’t do it justice in my mind. To me, peace is not the absence of duality, freedom from conflict, or an emotionally seascape without waves. Peace implies a state dynamic equilibrium between these dualities – they ebb and flow without changing the character of the whole system. I lifted this philosophy from my favorite poem, Corson’s inlet by A.R. Ammons:

    I went for a walk over the dunes again this morning

    to the sea,

    then turned right along

    the surf

    rounded a naked headland

    and returned

    along the inlet shore:

    it was muggy sunny, the wind from the sea steady and high,

    crisp in the running sand,

    some breakthroughs of sun

    but after a bit

    continuous overcast:

    the walk liberating, I was released from forms,

    from the perpendiculars,

    straight lines, blocks, boxes, binds

    of thought

    into the hues, shadings, rises, flowing bends and blends

    of sight:

    I allow myself eddies of meaning:

    yield to a direction of significance

    running

    like a stream through the geography of my work:

    you can find

    in my sayings

    swerves of action

    like the inlet’s cutting edge:

    there are dunes of motion,

    organizations of grass, white sandy paths of remembrance

    in the overall wandering of mirroring mind:

    but Overall is beyond me: is the sum of these events

    I cannot draw, the ledger I cannot keep, the accounting

    beyond the account:

    in nature there are few sharp lines: there are areas of

    primrose

    more or less dispersed;

    disorderly orders of bayberry; between the rows

    of dunes

    irregular swamps of reeds

    though not reeds alone, but grass bayberry, yarrow, all . . .

    predominantly reeds:

    I have reached no conclusions, have erected no boundaries,

    shutting out and shutting in, separating inside

    from outside: I have

    drawn no lines:

    as

    manifold events of sand

    change the dune’s shape that will not be the same shape

    tomorrow,

    so I am willing to go along, to accept

    the becoming

    thought, to stake off no beginnings or ends establish

    no walls:

    by transitions the land falls from grassy dunes to creek

    to undercreek: but there are no lines though

    change in that transition is clear

    as any sharpness: but “sharpness” spread out,

    allowed to occur over a wider range

    than mental lines can keep:

    the moon was full last night: today, low tide was low:

    black shoals of mussels exposed to the risk

    of air

    and, earlier, of sun,

    waved in and out with the waterline, waterline inexact,

    caught always in the event of change:

    a young mottled gull stood free on the shoals

    and ate

    to vomiting: another gull, squawking possession, cracked a crab,

    picked out the entrails, swallowed the soft-shelled legs, a ruddy

    turnstone running in to snatch leftover bits:

    risk is full: every living thing in

    siege: the demand is life, to keep life: the small

    white blacklegged egret, how beautiful, quietly stalks and spears

    the shallows, darts to shore

    to stab —- what? I couldn’t

    see against the black mudflats—a frightened

    fiddler crab?

    the news to my left over the dunes and

    reeds and bayberry clumps was

    fall: thousands of tree swallows

    gathering for flight:

    an order held

    in constant change: a congregation

    rich with entropy: nevertheless, separable, noticeable

    as one event,

    not chaos: preparations for

    flight from winter,

    cheet, cheet, cheet, cheet, wings rifling the green clumps

    beaks

    at the bayberries

    a perception full of wind, flight, curve,

    sound:

    the possibility of rule as the sum of rulelessness:

    the “field” of action

    with moving, incalculable center:

    in the smaller view, order tight with shape:

    blue tiny flowers on a leafless weed: carapace of crab:

    snail shell:

    pulsations of order

    in the bellies of minnows: orders swallowed,

    broken down, transferred through membranes

    to strengthen larger orders: but in the large view, no

    lines or changeless shapes: the working in and out, together

    and against, of millions of events: this,

    so that I make

    no form of

    formlessness:

    orders as summaries, as outcomes of actions override

    or in some way result, not predictably (seeing me gain

    the top of a dune,

    the swallows

    could take flight—some other fields of bayberry

    could enter fall

    berryless) and there is serenity:

    no arranged terror: no forcing of image, plan,

    or thought:

    no propaganda, no humbling of reality to precept:

    terror pervades but is not arranged, all possibilities

    of escape open: no route shut, except in

    the sudden loss of all routes:

    I see narrow orders, limited tightness, but will

    not run to that easy victory:

    still around the looser, wider forces work:

    I will try

    to fasten into order enlarging grasps of disorder, widening

    scope, but enjoying the freedom that

    Scope eludes my grasp, that there is no finality of vision,

    that I have perceived nothing completely,

    that tomorrow a new walk is a new walk.

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    1. That’s a great poem, Dan. I like the idea of balance, as opposed to a medium. How boring life would be were we all the same. I would rather savor the differences, while recognizing the commonalities. It’s the judgment of which is right, which is best, that keeps us from attaining peace.

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