Bend swords into ploughshares, flutes, trumpets, drums and violins
As one exhales their last, still another greatest symphony begins,
And this is our triumph; when words fail us, the sound of horn
Quavers upon wind, words of peace as seeds of poppies spawn;
I will wear both red and white in remembrance and anticipation
Of when we dance to tunes of concordance, unity and celebration;
There must be song for all who die in wars they had no part in starting
And I will raise my voice to sing for less wars and less loved ones parting,
Less arms trading, more diplomacy, conflict prevention and resolution,
Less invading, more memory; humanitarian intervention; less pollution,
And more the timeless chorus of seeds on wind and music of the spheres,
Then may bugles herald days of joy so we number less the days of tears.
Antonia Sara Zenkevitch
This is one of two poems I wrote on the theme of Remembrance Sunday, and why I wear both red and white poppies. I think most wars can and should be avoided by effective diplomacy, more just trade laws and policies, and sustained action to curb climate chaos, fossil fuel dependency, conflict economies, and humanitarian disasters. I do not honour the dead to glorify war but to remember its cost. I think, on days like today we should also honour effective diplomats and peace-makers that roadblock the momentum towards conflict when it is possible and appropriate to do so. I do not trust that the agendas behind any government’s orders for military action are always what they are reported to be or what we’d hope. I’m aware there can be racist undertones in the policies of those in political power in our own and other nations. When this is or seems to be the case we must ask difficult questions of our leaders and speak out against our defence forces being sent out on unjust and/or illegal actions. The cost of any conflict is great, affecting humans, animals and the planet and it is any reasonable, responsible person’s wish to limit this, whatever our disagreements on how best to achieve this. However, I honour those across borders, military and civilian, who have put their lives on the line to protect others. I honour all those who’ve lost their lives in wars they had no part in starting. I honour those who’ve fought tides of fascism, dictatorship, oppression and armed aggression. I do so in the fierce hope that we can also fight these forces within ourselves whenever that ‘them verses us’ voice whispering in our heads threatens to demonise minorities.
Happy Remembrance Sunday, may you, your loved ones and your communities know just peace & true protection.