Some days it’s not so easy to choose the topic for Poetry Friday. I’ve been thinking about the passing of Nelson Mandela, wondering how to share more that hasn't already been written, and eloquently. Did we lose something of much value, or will his legacy be more powerful now? Will there be someone else who takes up the message? Although it is always on my mind, at this Christmas time of year for many, I think about those military women and men who will miss being with their families, are missing their growing children, their aging parents, the changes at home. On our television, we have more than one military person saying hello to their families here, so I send a thought and a prayer to them across the miles, wishing they could come home, and soon. I wish for peace.
And then, today, a dear friend and colleague with whom I trade books back and forth brought me a book to read, which I want to share with you. Maya Angelou’s Amazing Peace, A Christmas Poem was published in 2005. The dedication says: “For my great-grandchildren, Caylin Nicole Johnson and Brandon Bailey Johnson. For all the children of the world, who, in order to grow healthily, need our love and poetry.” The message is written, and I cannot write it better, only agree.
This book of Maya Angelou's poem, Amazing Peace, is illustrated by Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher with full color paintings. The scenes focus on people in various settings, all kinds of people, both few and many, gathering in wintery scenes, lighting candles, showing joy at the sound of the season that Angelou interprets as “peace”. She writes, “Hope spreads around the earth, brightening/ all things./Even hate, which crouches breeding in/dark corridors.” and “We clap hands and welcome the Peace of/Christmas./We beckon this good season to wait awhile/with us./We, Baptist and Buddhist, Methodist and /Muslim, say come.”
Finally, “And we say without shyness or apology or/ hesitation:/Peace, My Brother./Peace, My Sister./Peace, My Soul.” You can read the entire poem here, but I urge you to find or purchase the picture book so you can enjoy all the beauty in the illustrations with the beauty in the words.