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Regina Peace Action Coalition
Poetry and Prose


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Poetry and Prose
The nonviolent approach does not immediately change the heart of
the oppressor. It first does something to the hearts and souls of those
committed to it. It gives them new self-respect; it calls up resources of
strength and courage that they did not know they had. Finally it reaches
the opponent and so stirs his conscience that reconciliation becomes a

Martin Luther King, Jr.
(1929-1968, Nobel Peace Prize Winner, 1964)
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(previously published in third space, Recluse and Catholic New Times)

My memory of war is all second hand
---I was not at Mai Lai. I was not running down the road
with napalm etching into my flesh.

I did not watch my feet rot in trenches
or wake up with my neighbour's blood dying my shirt
or believed, somehow, that my battles lead to freedom and to peace.

I was not on a bridge in Belgrade or
at an airport in Grenada or
in a schoolroom in Baghdad or
in a factory in Dresden or
at a church in Nagasaki or
in a hospital in Stalingrad or
in an office in New York.

Nor is my memory of serving peace first hand.
I have not sat in the Gulf Peace Camp or
prayed in Chiapas or planted trees outside Hebron or
disrupted the School of the Americas or
handed out leaflets in Burma or
sat with the families in East Timor or
fasted with the wives outside Gestapo headquarters .

But I have held the children of war.
I have talked with the veterans of war.
I have added my prayers to the voices for peace.

It has to start somewhere.
In the here and now war is being waged
and in the here and now the seeds of peace are being looked for.

The war is waged in someone else's name. Not in mine.
The work for peace is in the hands of us all, including mine.

(accepted by I Hate Cockroaches zine)

buried deep in the collection
of my youthful dreams is a button.

a cockroach is the centre, holding up the sign:
Cockroaches for Nuclear War!

Rumour has it
that at ground zero in Nagasaki
and at the bottom of the crater
at Los Alamos
live cockroaches were found.

And around us we hear the calls for war
---new nations have nuclear bombs;
alleged good guys use depleted uranium
in conventional weapons of mass destruction.

Dancing with glee are the cockroaches, chanting:
Let Us Praise the War Machine!
It means the reality of cockroach dreams.


The pressure still lies harshly
on the memories of those whose silence
meant others would die. The pressure
stills lies harshly on those whose labour
went into the tools of death. The pressure
still lies heavily on those who turned tools
into weapons. The pressure still lies harshly
on those whose comfort meant that only
discreet inquires were to be made. The pressure
still lies heavily on those who waited because
the time wasn't right. The pressure
still lies heavily on those who felt they
were always safe. The pressure
still lies heavily
on the survivors of the victims of silence.
Brian Burch.  Used with permission.
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