san francisco peace and hope

Chapter 3: NOW
"It's not tomorrow it's always NOW not yesterday." Squeak Carnwath

No Other Way

Men's beliefs
lead boys to death
women to woe
children to stare

There's a little flower
shaded by the grass
sunned by the breeze
steadily growing 
gradually blowing
seeds upon the earth

Every season promises another
and another
and another
and another 
I know of no other way

Jane Green


The Singing Tree

When I lose my voice,
I have a feeling
it may return
if I sit under
the backyard willow
and listen for awhile.

I go to the cover of its branches,
listen to its song. 
Then suddenly I hear wingbeats--
the tree now stands silently.

Don't think of this as loss,
I hear a voice say.
You can be that free.

I hear the words
without sound
within me.

John Rowe


Philip Lewenthal, Tree, Mt. Diablo Foothills, Photograph


Leaf on water

i am a leaf
floating on still water
moving to the blow of wind

undisturbed surface
except for the trace
of ripples on my tail
that smooth over and become
the unbreakable mirror again

i cannot see my own reflection
i am submerged in it

Dabetswe Natasha


1.Rumi Poem-10-Union-I
The moment you find a companion in joy
Is the moment you find your life's own fate.
Beware that you don't waste that moment in vain
You will find very few such moments again.

Salma Arastu, Your Gifts, Acrylics and mixed media on board


Ring of fire

singes dreamy edges
leaving indelible marks
on windowsills
African violets
a violent purple

Susan Gabriele


The time clearly here to believe no one whose skin
we cannot touch within a two-day journey.

What will touch of skin determine about the merits
or demerits of warfare?

Smooth tough
hairy porous
enervated flesh
pink and pulsing 
warm and sleek
cold and swampy.

Skin as membrane
skin as fabric
skin a curtain.

Skin is not woven tightly to be torn
The TV screen is only so much frozen sand.
Let us touch the skin of those we know to try to really know.

Ed Coletti


Elaine Drew, Resolution, Egg tempera on panel
"The marriage of my opposing selves gives birth to creativity, symbolized by the egg."



The moon flowers
into full bloom.
We cradle hands
for mystical light.
We have waited years
for such a night.

splendor slips
into cupped hands
like a prayer
we were born to

© Claire J. Baker



The air is different.
It is essential to breathe in a new way;
a more fluent respiration, receptive
to cinnamon and rain, roses and salt,
the blessed green.
This spiced air awakens my skin,
stirs unexpectedly fierce longing.

     I arise to receive this verdance
     into every cell and nerve,
     breathe fragrance,
     become a garden.

Sherri Rose-Walker


Arthur Secunda, Paradise, Monotype on paper


Grace meets you between two heartbeats.
In a blink, pulse, shift of breeze rippling cat’s fur, all is changed.
And the world, which leaned into its negative pole, glances,
fascinated by the positive, all
before breakfast, before the day’s first tasks.
The great longing lifts
like a voice, like wings, and soars
effortlessly, splendidly, a thing of such joy
the birds stop singing and the animals
come out to listen.  All the people put down their masks and
tools and stand awash in the moment. What
will we tell the children?  How remember the instant
we glimpsed grace and knew true peace like
stars at night, water in the desert, the first great
breath on surfacing.

Patrice Haan


Gliding Through Solstice

Black pen, black ink,
slow spew of words
wandering over the page
like a deliberate wader in the marsh
leaving behind forked prints,
clues to tomorrow’s puzzle.

Outside it’s gray,
the still, weightless gray
at the clearing of a storm.
Water in the lagoon reflects
even fish-nibbles on the surface
and a lazy mallard goes tail up
for what seems an unreasonable time
like a bobber with no bait-tugs.

Along the shores are the ovals
of small sailboats
drawn up and tilted on their sides to spill rain,
white and blue overlaps,
occasional spurt of red
and above this field of stillness

a lone egret trying out her pause in the day,
glides slowly, a kite-string of white
trailing through the sky
while below in the water
a mirror-egret keeps its shadowy pace.

CB Follett


                                         for Ruth Asawa


Bend or crochet wire to the need

Observe how light blazes copper

Do not rest

Cut the form

Watch it sag

As it opens

Leave the seeds for birds

Kit Kennedy

Kazumi Cranney, Little Sparrows, Haiga painting

"Little sparrows
standing fast ––
a puff of wind. "



I have let the bird out of its cage for freedom 
in a room that we're in together. The bird flaps
frantically, begins to fly in circles close to the walls 
as if even the space of the room is not enough. 
I whistle a tune, hoping to restore calm, but the bird
continues its frenzied flight. We are divided and 
cannot go on like this. I realize that I must let go.

I raise a shade, then open a window-- 
the bird flies away into the cloud-swirled sky. 
I sit down in the center of the room, lament for 
what is gone. Closing my eyes, I imagine a journey 
into the unknown--into a place of great silence. 
A peace grows in this silence. After awhile 
I open my eyes. To my surprise the bird has returned,
perched on the windowsill, staring at me.

John Rowe


                   from the Portuguese

for patience


literally “the science of peace”

Quietly now:


Ed Coletti