Amazing Peace

Happy New Year to all! This post focuses on the poem excerpt that is the basis of my New Year’s e-card and animation: a poem by Maya Angelou called “Amazing Peace“ written in 2007. If you haven’t seen my card, you might want to now. If you would like to read the full poem, click here.

I chose this poem excerpt this year for two reasons: One: to honor Maya Angelou, who died this year; Two: because the hope of PEACE feels poignantly urgent to me this year.

First, Maya Angelou…she was a person who travelled an amazing path, from being abused as a child and then mute for 5 years, to daring to speak to the most powerful men in the world community, challenging them and urging them to “come to it” and act to create harmony in the world. She speaks both of the incredible beauty of humanity and the wonders we create as well exposing the heartbreak of the harm we inflict on one another. (See “A Brave and Startling Truth”, written in honor of the 50th anniversary of the UN.)

Second, PEACE……peace is one of those words. It can sound trite (to me), as when it’s used at the end of an email signature. But when you really consider the amazing possibility of “Peace, ” it has enormous resonance. It is quiet, it is majestic, it calls up a hope: what could the world and our lives be like if people everywhere were to lay down their arms and let go of their positions and power and disagreements, and above all their fears? What if everyone everywhere turned their “swords into ploughshares”? What could our lives be like?

This year we have been bombarded by tragedy all over the world. Have we ever been in greater need of peace? When I read this poem excerpt, I have a sense of a precious moment. At this time of year, if we suspend the commercial, frenzied aspect of it, it is possible, whatever our respective religions, to focus our collective energy towards trust, hope…and the promise of peace. There is a crack, an opening; people somehow allow themselves to reach beyond their customary limitations. Angelou writes about “loosening our voices to celebrate the promise of peace” and “shouting with glorious tongues, the coming of hope.”

What does this message mean for us in our daily lives? It is a call for us to take responsibility, whatever our venue, however big or small we choose to work, to use our voices to bridge gaps and misunderstandings, to use our voices to reach across boundaries and make contact with others, alike and different.

In organizations, because we have common reasons to communicate, we have so much potential to form alliances, teach each other and take the risk to share ourselves in order to dispel misconceptions. What will it take for us to do that? When will we start? How can we support each other in that huge endeavor that starts with each one of us, one at a time, day after day?

In 2015, I hold the possibility of peace. I wish for you a year of acts of peace, a bridging of gaps, however small or large, and many experiences of speaking with and hearing glorious tongues!

  • Sue Hannah

    Martha, your card is beautiful and this piece is fantastic. Very well put. I wish we all could take even the baby steps towards creating a world filled with peace and harmony. Happy New Year. Sue

    • Martha Lask

      Thank you, Sue! Yes, if we all did one small thing, it would make a huge difference! Hope all is well. Best to you.
      Martha

  • Dawn

    Thank you, Martha! I loved reading Maya Angelou’s books, and passing them on to others. I love watching her interviews with Mill Moyers. So sad, though, that she died in an era where peace and the best of humanity seemed ever more out-of-reach!
    My husband and I generally do nothing in the way of celebrating either Christmas (my family tradition) nor Hanukah (his) but I was in such need of some kind of ritual this year…a candle, a prayer. So for the first time we took out the menorah. It helped.


Martha Lask’s Blog

Occasional musings about books, articles or tools that might be of interest; I welcome your comments.

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.