Ojai Art Center, September 17, 2016


Be Peace  by Katie Goode

The magic, Grasshopper, is not to seek peace, but to be peace.

But I’ve tried, wise one.

I meditated on a warm rock and hummed, I am peace.

I danced in a field of wildflowers and sang, I am peace.

I prayed under a full moon and chanted, I am peace.

It’s not meditating, dancing, and praying, Grasshopper.

It’s being who you truly are, beyond all.

With that, the owl gobbled up the grasshopper.



“Pieces”  by William Weidlich

Peace is like sound through space.

no amplitude, no intensity.

Peace arrives in pieces:

on the global chessboard,

in the scattered puzzle map,

on the back of a paper crane,

in the eye of a curious child,

on the cusp of a Mother’s smile.

Peace is possibility.

Piece it with:

sand glass,

olive bough

and silent surrender.


to cease,

to treatise,

to release.

Peace wades in a stream that whispers,



WHY?  by Zitta Stubstaad


One cries over one’s – due to war – dead husband

One mourns one’s children’s frightened war eyes


Who cries for mankind

For its cruel ways?


If one human shows evil towards one human

We hate the first and protect the second

Humans protect humans

Against humans

Protection of oneself against oneself.


We are talking about a fraction as was it the whole.


I cry over Mankind

Over you and over me

We are so terribly divided

So unbearably lonesome

Because the whole constantly divides itself – in front of our very eyes.


Peace Willing to Grow Through the Dark  by Therese Duncan

Saddened, Gloria watered her stunted Peace rose. Sunlight never saw those velvet pink petals. The night blooming jasmine grew so thick in the arbor above, the rose grew only two pale blooms each year. Gloria finally accepted the plant for what it seemed —a hint of its own potential.

Years passed.

Then one day Gloria blinked. Above the jasmine sprang a dazzling sunlit bouquet of pink roses. Gloria laughed with surprise.

And wept.


Life  by Mary van Rynsoever


What is life, so full and care.

We have no time to stand and stare.

No time to listen to the wind below.

As it gently through Wills Canyon blows.

So what is life if we cannot feel the softness

of the evening glow,

and miss the sweet smell of wildflowers delight.

So what is life? …..if we cannot spend the time to care.

And have no time to stand and stare.




The sun was beginning to rise, and I still couldn’t sleep. My husband, crammed into our bottom bunk between me and the cabin’s wallboard, snored and belched. Last night, here at the Annual Peace Week Retreat, he’d been a bad teammate. He’d ridiculed my plan for universal brotherhood. Same as last year. I wanted to slam him into the wallboard. I stared at the shattered dent in it. And at the dried blood.


The Antecedent of Peace  by Zoe Murdock


This peace we crave will never arise in a sea of revenge.

Nor will it thrive in a heart that lacks empathy.

If we want a world without violence and war,

we must accept that truth is subjective.

The truth of one person is as legitimate as the next.

If we can learn to live with the instability of not knowing,

and rejoice in the diversity of all human truth,

perhaps, then, we’ll find peace.


Dreaming of Peace  by Polly Bee


doesn’t make it happen.

Peace is an abstract sport

and a contact sport

where you might get hurt,

or worse,

get bored.


Peace is a puppy

licking your face

to wake you up,

scattering sand on the sheets

and laughing.


Peacemeal  by Elisabeth Ward


We all fall into too many pieces

Yet need

One peace that springs from a whole.


Until each of us learns to discern and abide

By our own code

Not touted, not flouted nor thrown onto those

Who seek other plans for survival…


How can we attend the needs of others

Before we know how they breathe…

How they eat?

Meshing our own lives might teach us of theirs.

Without inner peace we have nothing.


Peace – a Five Letter Word  by Keith Amato


Peace…a five letter word, not much around, in case you haven’t heard.

Let go of that to which you cling tightly.

Allow the butterfly to enter your heart.

Take flight like a hummingbird—focused—perspicacious, dancing with joy.

Howl under the moon and stars with wisdom in folly—like brother Coyote.

Learn to feel—to breathe, to be in your authentic essence,


give and give.

Then sleep—content—fulfilled…

In Peace.


DREAM OF PEACE  by John Biggs


Come we all in praise of life,

Rid the earth of human strife,

By this deed our souls regain,

Lest our lives be spent in vain.


Pray that all my learn to bend,

War is not the means, nor end.

Keep this prayer, and keep it well,

May it now within you dwell.


We must now as Earthlings be,

Earthlings, not as nations, we,

Borders, boundaries do confound,

All intent to bring us ‘round.


Dream of Peace  by Lisa Berman


Breathe and relax.

Releasing the darkness, constriction and anxiety.

Savoring the moment.

Opening the heart.

Letting nature take its course.


Being loved as I am.

Sweeping away what is no longer needed.

Moving slowly in the rhythm of my True Self,

The essence of my Being.

Relaxing, trusting, staying the course.


Joy and contentment.

A sense of fulfillment.

A feeling that all is well.

Enjoying each breath and each moment.

Allowing Spirit to sparkle through me.


PEACE from the Inside Out.


PEACE by Greg Zaney


A river of enchantments


sweet moons


wondrous creatures

no abuse

trays of food for all

eternal angels

no one in cages


endless compassion

souls singing

no wars

acceptance of our cosmic spirituality

differences dissolved once and for


our laughter embraced by all things living

endless hugs

color but no separation of color

imagine that!

gratitudes and blessings

no negative thinking, doing, or speaking

connecting through doing

it’s about love

I am peace


Walk in Peace  by Scott Waldron


Walk in peace without a word

to set you ’gainst your neighbor’s sword.

Opinion polls will polarize;

in silence you will realize

to share the work we feel as one

there’s no solution in a gun –

No goal to gain with word or weapon,

no need for the troops to step in,

Nothing left for you to fear –

we’re all in this moment here.


Walk in peace – to walk is work,

not some harsh duty one would shirk.

No massive feat that you might fear

will bring us close to Peace this year.


Just simple efforts, one by one

will slowly build, and like the sun

We’ll rise in Peace on a new day

When nothing’s really left to say.


We will learn in this together –

We create our own weather –

Sunshine inside our hearts,

no clouds of pain keep us apart.

Saturday, June 20, 2015 – A wonderful morning of winning essay readings at the Ojai Art Center.

In collaboration with the “What Does Peace Look Like?” photographic exhibit, 13 selected writers read from their 75 word essays on the theme, What Does Peace Look Like – My Dream Plan

With John Aaron, John Biggs, Helen Crowner, Muffi Ehrlich, Liz Grumette, Maxalina Hickey, Luna Hohner-Shields, Todd Easton Mills, Debi Otto, Christina Pages, Veronica Palmer, David Scarlett & Lisa Williams.


I see peace in a piece of chalk
that’s in the hands of young artists
who are drawing their own conclusions
about what peace means to them.

A peace symbol, a dove, a rainbow,
the world, or people holding hands.
The message is the same:
We all want peace and love

I ask the planet to visualize it to share it,
to draw the world together.
This is what it’s all about…

– John Aaron

Why is it that since the beginning of humankind there has been a preponderance of war over peace?

I submit that it is due to some basic faults in the human psyche, with greed at the forefront of them all. Consider a world without greed.

A world in which we could, each and every one, carry concealed weapons to protect our rights, and create peace on this planet we all call home.

(I’m being facetious of course)

– John Biggs

I have a Dream
that will spread a giant tablecloth across the world where al the countries will partake of each other’s bread together as one people.

I have a Dream
the conversation will be the language of Peace to all men and we will sing
Together in one voice, one people, one understanding. And the music of love will resonate across each other’s skies forever.

I have a Dream…

– Helen Crowner, Age 97

My Dream Plan

beginning very young
when harmonies are softly sung
reinforcing tiny minds
to acceptance of all kinds
extrapolate equality
metastasize humanity
no bullying / no nasty
pulling together
hands clasping
rewarding patience a humility
seeing beyond futility
banish hate / vanish greed
by example love shall succeed
visualize doves of peace
with forgiveness war will cease
bigger weapons are a sham
lion leaders must protect all lambs
gleaning from all history
wisdom shelters
keeping us truly free

– Muffi V. Ehrlich

A Dream Plan for Peace

If I were in charge of a globe spanning media empire, I would strive to show that most humans have a moral code and empathy for other humans.

Exceptions are not from any particular race or ethnic group, religion or secular outlook.

I would find creative people to record and/or dramatize extended interactions among disparate humans that encourage greater trust.

The content of the programs would derive from consultations with wise people.

– Liz Grumette

I look into your eyes –
I feel loved by the whole universe.
I sit in a Hall of thousands –
I feel your Embrace –
I’m the only one in the room.
The Love we share –
Ripples out to All these people –
Some I do not know.
And I love them too –
They love me back.
I’m in complete peace –
I have all I need.
I have you – and everyone.
We are united in Love Light now.

– Maxalina Hickey

Peace Pie

I want to bake a pie, a peace pie.
When I bake my peace pie
Mahatma Gandhi, Malala Yousafzai, and
Nelson Mandela will help me.
My peace pie tastes like apples and cinnamon,
love and happiness,
friends and forgiveness,
freedom and gratefulness.
When I bake my peace pie I will go down the streets of
Ojai, Berlin, New York, Damascus, and Kabul
and give every person a piece of our peace pie.

– Luna Hohner-Shields
7th grader, Oak Grove School

Green City, Peaceful City

Begin with the cities. Let everyman who wants to work – work.
Pay each according to their hours and many will surprise you by working double shifts.

Now plant the gardens, the work of kings.
Jackhammer the turnpikes to build garden walls.
Give every man/woman a shovel and spade.

Let saplings, shrubs and flowers riot. And when the
cities return to green, band them together with meandering trails.

– Todd Easton Mills

Love, kindness, honor and respect are the basic building blocks necessary for establishing a peaceful world. These core values are essential to creating harmonious and balanced communities.

Without love, we hate which leads to violence. Without kindness, we are cruel which leads to intolerance and judgment of others. Without honor and respect, we disregard the human spirit creating incivility.

By promoting love, kindness, honor and respect, we open our hearts to other which creates peace.

– Debi Otto

My Plan for Peace

From olive tree lovebirds sqwuak, “It’s my turn, not yours”
above a bird-bath too small for two. One flutters down, luxuriates in the water’s diamond beads
until her mate takes possessions,
chortles to see her limp, fallen.

I could
have removed
their bath,
I tend my
olive ‘til
grow around
to enclose
just one
the other
coos on
a branch nearby,
refreshed by a lover’s mist,
blessed by olive shade

– Christina M Pages

What Does My Peace Look Like?

Dip your feet into the clear water!
Take in the surroundings, they are there!
You walk down the crystal creek and hop from rock to rock, spinning and leaping as if you were gliding along the water.
Clambering up to shore you lie down over the leafy ground.
Up above the vibrant blue sky shines, speckled with billowing white clouds.
Under the rustling oak trees the creek glistens and gargles.
This is my peace.

– Veronica Palmer
7th grader, Oak Grove School

My Dream Plan

My dream for Peace, though just a plan
Would need the help of every man
To start anew, to contemplate
How to love more and banish hate
To share the wealth, omit the greed
Stop persecuting others’ creed
Make friends with others, white or black
Embrace the future, don’t look back
Make women’s rights and men’s the same
Stop fighting, killing, hate and blame
Then watch the wars and conflicts cease
As everyone embraces Peace.

– David Scarlett

My Peace Plan

Gather the family, community, world
In a Circle
Hold each others’ warm hands
Look into our vulnerable eyes
Gently release and as
DJ FUN spins the records, turns the bass up, plays hip hop
Move, stretch, skip, express, thump, clap, walk and dance
Each their own rhythm and joy
Music softens
We re-unite in the Circle
Hold each others’ warmer hands
Look into each others’ eyes
And sit down for milk and cookies.

– Lisa Williams