Tuesday, 8 December 2015


Is the Dalai Lama optimistic, she asked,
or just woefully naive
We are sipping green tea at her favourite
teahouse and all I can think
Is how much I want a Grande Macchiato
from Starbucks
And how disappointed in me she would be
if she knew...

Well, I counter, wondering if she thinks of me
as being naive or even optimistic
Amused, or maybe bemused, to hear her say
rapidly, no way, not either.
What then? You're a realist, she scoffs...
Do you even believe in the Dalai Lama?

Stung, I am surprised at how I must present,
especially to this one, who I thought knew me
And the me she knows, is quite different from
the me I think of myself as...
The ever-hopeful, even-somewhat-naive-when-
I-should-know-better after all these years
That one—I must be giving off quite a different vibe

I try for lightness, ask her how could anyone not
believe in the Dalai Lama?
Wouldn't that be a little like not believing in Buicks?
She looks at me, clearly perplexed.
Ah, a reference too dated for one as young as this
neophyte...I change it up
Ask her, wouldn't it be a little like not believing in
your iPhone, or American Idol
Now she is looking at me pityingly...oh God...

She tells me patiently she gets it...of course iPhones
exist , so the Dalai Lama must also
But American Idol -- does that still come on?
We both have a good laugh over that...my bad.

Just how cynical do you think I am, I cannot resist
asking her, it seems.
She frowns as if giving my question careful consideration
Then asks me if I really do not intend to ever march
for peace again
Her face is so open, her hope so vivid.
I had forgotten the last time we marched,
how discouraged I was at the low turnout,
and how the bombing in Afghanistan continued unabated,
sending four young men home in flag-draped boxes, that very same day.
I had probably said some pretty harsh things...
And I probably meant them...after all, I'd been marching
for peace and nuclear disarmament for decades
Lots of the time it did feel futile
However, being faced with her hopeful face, and the
prospect of dashing her future
I found myself angry. Angry at myself. How dare I take away
her youthful exuberance and hope?

I do remember, I told her.
A tired old lady's words that shouldn't count
for everything...or anything.
I do think peace is within our grasp but I also believe we
need people like you
Young energetic people who won't give up on the idea,
who keep marching, and agitating, and saying no to war,
voting in better governments, insisting on better everything.

Suddenly she was grinning and caught me mid-sentence
What? I asked her.
There, she said. That's the you I remember. I want her back.
Do you think she's available? And right then, I knew...
She'd just be on hiatus...she's back and she's going nowhere
but forward.
Let's march.


  1. Wonderful.. we need both the young and the old.. we need everyone... just remember to smile at a stranger... wonderful how dated we can be... At least Dalai Lama survives the old brands... Great to have you back

  2. Let us keep on marching ~ Not just for the young but for everyone ~ I specially like this part:

    Young energetic people who won't give up on the idea,
    who keep marching, and agitating, and saying no to war,
    voting in better governments, insisting on better everything.

  3. Thank you both ... I'm glad the poem made sense to you, and resonated a bit as well.

  4. Let us keep hoping, keep it going for the world to be better. As an oldster who was part of the peace movement centuries ago, it is always good to see a new generation working for what is good and to see that some of us have not gotten so cynical we think it the good can't happen. Spencer is Kanzensakura

  5. I do wish I believed that peace is within our grasp. It seems to be drifting further and further out of reach. I wonder if people felt that same feeling before (for example) WWII as well. Somehow I think back then people were more idealistic, whereas today it seems many are realistic..and well, I hope for peace and I hope that the young do not give up on it, but when I heard that the sale of handguns was never higher in my state than on "Black Friday" I wonder at the price that will be paid.... I do hope there are those who will still 'march.'

  6. Like Mary, a boomer, I was 9 when they started the Korean War, 22 when I was in the Navy in 1966. For 71 years I have been waiting for this "Peace" to materialize. From 54-64 we had the Cold War, ducking & covering, & positive that an atomic bomb would wake us each night. In '68, when I got home, I marched against the War in Viet Nam, & the blasé manner that the U of W was NOT giving us a useful education; don't get me started.

  7. This is so brilliantly conceived, S.E. I like the voice you write in and find myself so able to relate to both the cynic and the realist...and I suppose life creates a bit of both in us thanks to the experiences that batter us along the way. I've never been much of a marcher, yet for most of us, hopefully the wish for peace still prevails. (Google isn't letting me comment using my wordpress blog so just ignore the link.)

  8. I love this...I'll march with you!

  9. Connecting..
    ways of
    to be alone..
    Peace impossible
    with separation
    but drOnes
    of peace
    Hive of Love
    in freedoms
    way to peace.. new
    experiment never heard
    sURe WitH

  10. March indeed, like the poem itself as it progresses. I loved the dialogue - the confessionalist-like directness and ultimate symmetry of realisation. nice!


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