The poem below inspired the original title of my blog, "Peace, My Soul". (The title was changed in 2015.) Although the poem was written, in part, in the Christmas spirit, its resonance is far more broad for me. And Angelou meant it to be larger than the holiday season.
It is a celebration of our common humanity. That shared humanness creates an imperative to treat others as such, driven by the spirit of peace. Angelou writes the poem to be inclusive of every person, regardless of their metaphysical convictions. Her poetry first sweetly persuades then powerfully demands us to look past marginal differences and summon the peace that resides in each of us.
The last three lines have special meaning for me, though. If there is ever a dogma that is close to infallible, then it is those lines. "Peace, My Brother./Peace, My Sister.": approach others wanting happiness for them; work to help them find peace. "Peace, My Soul.": before you can truly share peace, then you must first genuinely find it in yourself. This is important to me. When my tolerance is tried by hate, its actions, or its horrors, then I must remember that true peace will never follow down the road of hate. Peace, my soul.
"Amazing Peace"By Maya AngelouThunder rumbles in the mountain passesAnd lightning rattles the eaves of our houses.Flood waters await us in our avenues.Snow falls upon snow, falls upon snow to avalancheOver unprotected villages.The sky slips low and grey and threatening.We question ourselves.What have we done to so affront nature?We worry God.Are you there? Are you there really?Does the covenant you made with us still hold?Into this climate of fear and apprehension, Christmas enters,Streaming lights of joy, ringing bells of hopeAnd singing carols of forgiveness high up in the bright air.The world is encouraged to come away from rancor,Come the way of friendship.It is the Glad Season.Thunder ebbs to silence and lightning sleeps quietly in the corner.Flood waters recede into memory.Snow becomes a yielding cushion to aid usAs we make our way to higher ground.Hope is born again in the faces of childrenIt rides on the shoulders of our aged as they walk into their sunsets.Hope spreads around the earth. Brightening all things,Even hate which crouches breeding in dark corridors.In our joy, we think we hear a whisper.At first it is too soft. Then only half heard.We listen carefully as it gathers strength.We hear a sweetness.The word is Peace.It is loud now. It is louder.Louder than the explosion of bombs.We tremble at the sound. We are thrilled by its presence.It is what we have hungered for.Not just the absence of war. But, true Peace.A harmony of spirit, a comfort of courtesies.Security for our beloveds and their beloveds.We clap hands and welcome the Peace of Christmas.We beckon this good season to wait a while with us.We, Baptist and Buddhist, Methodist and Muslim, say come.Peace.Come and fill us and our world with your majesty.We, the Jew and the Jainist, the Catholic and the Confucian,Implore you, to stay a while with us.So we may learn by your shimmering lightHow to look beyond complexion and see community.It is Christmas time, a halting of hate time.On this platform of peace, we can create a languageTo translate ourselves to ourselves and to each other.At this Holy Instant, we celebrate the Birth of Jesus ChristInto the great religions of the world.We jubilate the precious advent of trust.We shout with glorious tongues at the coming of hope.All the earth's tribes loosen their voicesTo celebrate the promise of Peace.We, Angels and Mortal's, Believers and Non-Believers,Look heavenward and speak the word aloud.Peace. We look at our world and speak the word aloud.Peace. We look at each other, then into ourselvesAnd we say without shyness or apology or hesitation.Peace, My Brother.Peace, My Sister.Peace, My Soul.