A re-work of At the Peace Bell

We found ourselves in the sun beside the lake

with its glinting horizontal lines.

The grass was green and soft

and the blossom trees

sent breaths of white tumbler-petals

harmlessly among the seated

every time the casuarinas sighed.

We are here to remember

my grandfather

among the petals

and the singing

and the mellow clang

of the huge Japanese bell.


It’s not just singing;

we have happened upon

a gathering acknowledging

International World Peace Day.

We didn’t know.

We listen to people’s stories

about where peace has disintegrated

or is a word from history

or simply an airy dream.


Later we talk about him,

how he fought in the war

in the name of peace

and believing in peace.

How the pollies

applaud ANZAC Day

but it feels like a one sided contract

where the soldiers died

to free democracy

and now democracy is dying

to free the rich.


“To have peace in your home

you must have peace in your heart”

On the surface

peace is almost tangible

in this city

at this time.

I walk the puppy and gulp air

as hungrily as a newborn

and feel the therapy of

mountains, trees and sky.

But it is I

(with the luxury of time

a happy home

a plentiful table)

who floats

breezy as wattle pollen

over the cares of the world.


The first summer storm

rips up the afternoon.

I don’t like its swearing

its stamping

its hurling.

I feel disquieted,

reminded of an

unhappy world


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