The Valentine Peace Project


The Witness Remains

Thich Nhat Hanh

Flarebombs bloom in the dark sky;
a child claps his hands;
he laughs.
I hear the sound of guns
and the laugher dies.
But the witness remains.

What Makes Me Happy?
Ron Baca

What makes me happy?
A choir that can really sing.
A raging river whose water
city people can safely drink.
A poet with a voice.
The power to exercise
our choice.
What makes me happy?
  A heart that never skips a beat.
A politician who doesn't lie or cheat.
A child so very young
whose life has just begun.
A bell about to ring.
A bird with a song to sing.
A freedom song...
a protest march.
What makes me happy?
Poverty? Death? Disease?
Hypocrisy? Snobbery?
Giant deals made by big wheals?
A people more divided?
What makes me happy?
Peace brothers! Peace sisters!
Yeah, peace!
Justice, liberty & equality!
Did I mention democracy & freedom now!
You see it's all of these.
And Mr. President
we're tired of saying,

El Precipicio
Richard Rudd

Subimos para pasar el precipicio entre la risa y las lagrimas
Nos lanzamos los manos ardientes en la niebla del monte
Y como el alondra nos pintamos los cielos con nuestra cancion.

We climb to pass the precipice between laughter and tears
We throw our burning hands in the mist of the mountain
And like the lark we paint the skies with our song.



Cindy Rinne

Peace is freedom from the

pain. Victory over the

deep hurts. Love that

will flow to others.

Able to be the real me

in my own country.



Del Corazón del Cielo
Gloria Enedina Alvarez


Del corazón del cielo

from the heart of the sky

afloran recuerdos

flowering memories

hablan al corazón

talk form the heart

canción del cielo

deep inside the sky

inspiration and feeling

el fondo del cielo


guided through

the Seat of the Soul

Allí donde se asienta Todo.


William Archila


In my boyhood all the men

wore them, a light body shirt

with pleats running down the breast,

two top pockets for pens, notepads,

two bottom ones for keys or loose change,

each sewn with a button

in the middle of the pouch,

a complement tailored to the slit

at the side of the hip. If you look

at photographs in family albums,

men stand against palm trees,

their short-sleeved guayaberas

caught in sunlight, their Panama hats

tipped to the sky. There’s a black and white

of my father, stumbling along fields

of cane, head full of rum,

mouth in an o, probably

singing a bolero of Old San Juan.

On days like these, the sun burned

like an onion in oil. Women hung

guayaberas on windows to dry.

Shirtless, men picked up their barefoot babies

off the floor, held them against their bellies

as if talking to a god. Even my school uniform

was a blue guayabera, but nothing

like my father’s favorite: white,

long-sleeved, above the left breast

a tiny pocket, perfectly slender for a cigar,

arabesque designs vertically stretched.

When the evening breeze lulled

from tree to tree, he serenaded

my mother, guitars and tongues of rum

below her balcony; the trio strumming,

plucking till one in the morning.


I don’t know what came first,

war or years of exile,

but everyone — shakers of maracas, cutters

of cane, rollers of tobacco — stopped wearing them,

hung them back in the closet, waiting

for their children to grow,

an arc of parrots to fly across the sky

at five in the evening. In another country,

fathers in their silver hair sit

on their porches, their sons, now men,

hold babies in the air, guayaberas nicely pressed.



Painted Blossoms
Kimberly Wilder

Don’t think for a blue minute
peace lies in dreamy eyes of smiling Buddha
blinking across fields of pink blossoms.

Peace is no quaint scene,
no warm aroma of homemade cookies.
Nor, sound of luggage placed on holy ground.

Peace is constant motion,
careful balance,
endless vigil,
rush of a purposeful journey.

Peace is not the people
who sit quietly by
as civic injustice, office politics,
and environmental degradation
unfold before them.

Peace is the courage
to speak out,
shatter comfort,
demand justice.

Peace is not the people around you suddenly
linking arms and taking up song.
Peace is the cumbersome process of
controlling your own temper
so you can smile at ornery colleagues and
small children who contradict you.

That Buddha is not napping
in his field of delicate blossoms.
He’s resting from a conflict resolution
with his roommate.
He is considering
the next move he will make
to stir petals into beauty.

Wake up to the people around you, he calls.
Steady yourself for a long life of
patience, sincere communication,
bravery, love.

When you hear him,
you will notice the vital peace
of an artist’s hand working paint
onto huge canvases.