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Prompt, Writing for Healing and Peace

December 20, 2012

Writing for Healing and Peace
We Write Poems

If we were sitting across a table from each other, if I knew your face and you knew mine, I tell myself this conversation might be easier said.

We are to a measure, the more, the less, as mostly strangers here bound by a bridge of ink.

We will not rest to forget, nor wait upon others to say the words in our place.

That said, needs be, and especially in light of recent events, we must do progress as we may, take the measure and temperature of our voices here.

This is neither an ordinary season, nor especially an ordinary casual sum of weeks.

Some children along with some few of their guardians are now being laid into lasting sleep. And while this is a globally more common event than we may commonly care to witness and acknowledge, still here we are, all of us.

Now what?

As adults we need act upon our understanding and regard. As writers, we must write!

We can neither say nor should, how each of us others respond. However neither first, nor last have I the heart to seek or solicit any notion of blame or unloving response. There are paths here from this fork that would stride into unproductive attention and be remiss to embrace the full opportunity to advance the lives here given up.

We would wish to bring the broken shards closer to mending than scatter them farther apart as more conflict and anger surely would do.
So this week we begin an open writing prompt. Say what your heart has to say about pain or loss or love or healing. We don’t care about what form you use to express yourself. Write a poem, write a song, write prose if you wish. We are writers, so write.

Unlike our usual We Write Poems writing cycle, please be free to respond directly to this prompt posting right here and now, or whensoever you wish – there is no waiting period, no responding date. This post will remain open indefinitely. More than one response is also fine. Write as you feel and think to share with us. As you wish you are also invited to post the text-body of your writing right here as well as onto your own blog. Our desire is to maximize the opportunity for us to share our experience and expression.

If you know other writers looking for a suitable place to share their writing in the spirit of this prompt, please extend the invitation for them to join with us.

We will return to our more conventional cycle sometime after Christmas and the New Year’s beginning. For now, this prompt will be our on-going focus.

So write about peace and your sense of self. Allow your feelings to roost as they need be. We dearly want to allow you a space to express loss and sorrow, then be open to what comes from that rain. Write about healing if that also comes up for you to see. We think that in essence all that is, is simply light. Expression will allow new blooms to unfold.

Now and for so long, these faces, these lives are not the only so impacted as recently. Daily across this country, by the hours over the circumference of this globe, many as these are touched by unkindly grace, lives taken too soon, scars made into flesh, and weapons are more and other than only guns and blades. Fists and even brutal words leave their mark in thought and sense.
Blessings be.

We understand and feel a deep sense of loss, especially for these younger lives, lives what seem far from filled or purposefully grown. Yet surely too Spirit has called these many and more home again. What seeming fault of Spirit might otherwise be quelled, even satisfied?

What if the loss from dear life of these young does in fact bring near, dare we even say – make realized, a change of hearts, a meeting of thoughts, all to alter our attitudes such that few or none would ever again think violence was an answer to anything at all. That “what if” becomes the question here most dear.

What then will we think of the accomplishment of mere five or six years living to do this deed? How many who endure a 70 or 80 or 90 year span and even begin to touch such result as that would be! To come into heavenly home and say, this, this peace has been done in honor of my living – that would be no mean measure of a life – no matter how brief the life shared with us.

Let us stir this dire mud into clarity and light.

We would like to share two rather excellent poems (well the first is a song) written by Hannah Gosselin and Nicole Nicholson, two frequent participants here. (both poems printed here with permission of the writers) Our sincere appreciation. ~neil

O’ Tidings of Comfort and Joy

I’ve come to bury the burdens,

to lay them to rest forever.

I’ve come to bear your sorrow,

to fill your soul with light.

I arrive with the message of hope,

a comfort you’ve never fully known.

I arrive filled with compassion,

to release you from all of your fears.

I’ll be your Friend in times of joy

and in instances when you’re broken.

I’ll be your Helper when trials threaten,

when you’re poisoned with ruthless pain.

Just reach out your hand in faith,

even though you cannot see Me.

Just receive My Spirit blindly

plain Truth will bring you sight.

Don’t fret if you’re unsure,

you’ll recognize the feeling.

Don’t worry if it feels surreal,

a sacred space is hiding,

deep within, a peaceful welling;

that’s my filling.

Deep hunger’s satiated,

that’s my spilling

for you.


Copyright © Hannah Gosselin and Metaphors and Smiles, 2012


Candles (A Response to the Connecticut School Shooting)

Grief has stolen the words
from my throat: and I want to burn
candles in their places. Little white tapers
to take the place of every word purloined
from my voice box, white candles
to stand as silent sentries for every
morpheme that refuses to march up
my tongue and out of my lips. Those words instead
want to pull my tongue backwards and
curl up inside its rug for warmth and
safety. They want to duck behind my
stained and crooked molars, out of sight
from the open air and the wind that passes
in and out of my mouth.

And because there is no sound
from the dead, I want to burn candles
not just for every word, but for every
child. White votives for every
little one who was no match for a
bullet. Little tongues of flame to
speak for them, to ask the questions of
why and how because those little voices
cut silent at their sources cannot
ask them anymore. Little white, rotund
children of wax to stand and burn for
each boy, each girl, because
those children cannot stand anymore.

And we cannot stand anymore.
We sit, because at the fulcrums of our bodies
where soul and solar plexus intersect, there
is disbelief that has pummeled itself fist first
into our drum-tight viscera and
sailor-knotted stomachs. We grab
our stomachs and our hearts because they
ache like slow burning pyres that
were lit inside us while we glanced away, too
distracted to notice the young man with the gun. And when
sitting fails us, we kneel. We pray. We
keen and wail. We embrace each other
and ask questions between tears. For some of us,
the questions linger in our wordless breath,
in staccato exhales ripping the air apart
or punctuating it because we cannot tolerate
holding the disbelief inside our stomachs.

In time, the interrogatives
and angry demands thrown up in the air
and borne aloft upon our grief
will fall back to Earth: some with
answers, some not. Why did he choose
to shoot innocent people? What was
wrong with his mind? The questions
will drive fists into our minds and hearts
like the disbelief that jackhammers
at our abdominal walls now. But right now,
all I can think about is missing words,
little boys and girls, and
candles. I shut my eyes and watch
two dozen little flames dispel
the void and empty black – and pray
that no one decides that
his or her anger is worth fistfuls of bullets
ever again. Selah.

Written 12/14/12 © 2012 Nicole Nicholson.

  1. December 20, 2012 6:24 am

    Illumination II

    with humble diversity
    we pray
    as hope floats our recovery
    They say the depths of ones soul can be seen through the eye –
    A Golden Buddha thought – and yet those who truly live
    Seek the undivided attentions of those they love
    >Unconditional support<
    And it will be through all of our eyes
    Through our sharing of grief and longing to understand
    About the taking of any life, – but especially all innocent children…
    as hope floats our recovery
    we pray
    with humble diversity

    © JP/davh

    • December 20, 2012 6:30 am

      The form would not show up here. Please visit:

      Process notes: illumination, the original was written for our friend who was in an auto accident. Daily recovery after two months in a coma is amazing – The road will be long, and hard.
      I modified illumination II to be inclusive of all broken hearts.

      • December 20, 2012 11:43 pm

        And I take this as evidence that good words are not only at home in one instance, but like good breezes, are well received everywhere.

    • December 20, 2012 11:39 pm

      Beautiful Jules and thank you for participating here, especially here, especially for this regard. I like the word “floats” as so well descriptive here, and how this word illuminates the path good regard can arise through both doubt and adversity.

      Being “heavy” in response to “heavy” is an unproductive path I think. So like here, your “star” (which I could well see with my email copy of your post) does speak well for itself.


  2. December 20, 2012 7:27 am

    I wrote this in memory of my father-in-law who passed away in Denmark on 6 Dec. I’ve written a lot about his recent death; this one is longer than most.

    • December 21, 2012 12:20 am

      Your poem might just make words blush for the beauty of the sentiment so dearly expressed. Thank you very much. This kind of poem teaches us.

  3. December 20, 2012 6:22 pm

    I didn’t write a poem, I wrote an essay. I don’t want to publish it
    on the web – It is a page and a half long & a lot of personal feelings in it that not everyone will agree with, probably. Can you give me an email address & I will e-mail it to you & you can do whatever you want with it.. I don’t want to put it on my blog.

    • December 20, 2012 11:44 pm

      Thank you Marian. I sent you an email request.

      • December 21, 2012 12:34 pm

        Did you receive my essay “The Innocence of their Voices”? Should I have sent it to this page?

        • December 21, 2012 8:46 pm

          Thank you. Yes I did. It was rather late and I was exhausted, and just now home from work. So it’s on my reading list for tonight. Thank you again.

  4. December 20, 2012 10:30 pm


    Healed of avarice
    the world would be
    a happier place

    no more wars
    for oil
    no more arms race

    food grown
    would feed the world
    instead of supermarket chiefs

    the order of the day
    would be to love
    in peaceful interface

    • December 21, 2012 12:33 am

      Thank you Viv, for both poems, for your steadfast participation here. You are a gem.

      And you know I can’t count so well, regards that second poem and the form considered by you, but I like it none the less! ~neil

  5. December 21, 2012 12:13 am

    Here you’ll find my second poem on this theme, emanating from the first (above)
    loosely based on a tetrameter Kyrielle sonnet.

  6. December 21, 2012 5:37 am

    As writers, we must write! Love that. Find it totally inspiring, Neil.

    that is how we go on

    • December 24, 2012 12:49 am

      You have an amazing writer inside of you!

  7. December 21, 2012 8:52 am

    “bound by a bridge of ink.”

    Yes, we are and…

    “We would wish to bring the broken shards closer to mending than scatter them farther apart as more conflict and anger surely would do.”

    So well said, thank you for this opportunity, Neil. I’m moved by all of the sentiment shared here.


    “Little tongues of flame to
    speak for them, to ask the questions of
    why and how because those little voices
    cut silent at their sources cannot
    ask them anymore. Little white, rotund
    children of wax to stand and burn for
    each boy, each girl, because
    those children cannot stand anymore.”

    Cuts me to my core. The entirety of your piece is heart-spoken and beautiful.

    I’ve written one more specifically in light of the tragedy a week ago today…

    Can You Feel This?

    Thank you everyone and Peace to ALL. ❤

    • December 21, 2012 11:29 am

      Also, this post is part of a sentiment for healing and peace…

      Thank you.

      • December 24, 2012 1:10 am

        Your lines of course remind of that ee cummings poem…

        i carry your heart with me which ends with…

        here is the depest secret nobody knows
        (here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
        and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
        higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
        and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart

        i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)

        Again, my thanks.

        • December 26, 2012 11:38 am

          Thank you, Neil. I love that poem, thank you for sharing that portion-your thoughts here on this.

  8. December 22, 2012 12:48 pm

    Even in this desert,
    cold and barren
    with no sign of snow in sight.
    Even with all the sadness
    in the world,
    I look out my window
    and spy juncos dancing on the ground
    and hear their tiny, glad song.
    I am lifted out of myself
    to a place of hope
    where love and peace reign
    Even here…

    • December 24, 2012 1:37 am

      Yes, yes, there are so many given opportunities to learn, to heal. Abundant I think is the word, and what we can even see out a window says as you here illustrate, nature is not indifferent teaching us.

      There’s a book I’ve begun, yet to finish, about observation and specifically, birds – how they express their environment, all that is happening around their lives. How they know and respond to other birds, foxes or cats, and including us of course. Meaning we are not, and should remember, alone in this life. Evocative image.

      My thanks for participating with us here. ~neil

  9. December 23, 2012 9:12 am

    Yes yes, thank you all, participating here, and even if all you do is read, thank you too. I couldn’t yet draw you a map, say any here or why, but my listening is changing I think and here’s one thing I want to say, to let you know – how much you are all appreciated, your lives, your words.

    And one small poem here to share, because…

    autumn dry leaves
    hurl themselves
    into my winter face

    We continue on. Love, neil

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