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Let’s be soldiers in the army of love

My grandfather’s village is just down the road
It’s blessed with the richest of olive groves
On Fridays when grandfather takes me on his knee
I feel the shade of a tree that I’ve never seen
 
I’m fighting for freedom, peace and security
I’ll never forget what they’ve stolen from me
Wrongs like these must be avenged  
I will not rest until they taste just revenge
 
We’re fighting for freedom in a just war
They’ve left us no choice; they don’t respect law
 
Oh God, not David – he was my friend!
When will this reign of terror end?
If they only knew who they killed today
A soldier of love lies cold in the grave
 
We’re fighting for existence, safety and life
But at every turn we feel the point of the knife
We’ll build the wall higher and clamp down on terror
Must we face annihilation in every era?
 
We’re fighting for survival in a just war
They’ve left us no choice; they don’t respect life
 
Look into the future; what will it bring?
If we continue this war, there will be nothing to win
Our children will be doomed to avenge both our sins
And the cycle of violence forever will spin
 
We believe we’re fighting in a just war
But the stench of fear and death I’m beginning to abhor 
 
Let’s be soldiers in the army of love
Sowing justice, uprooting hate 
Let’s till the ground, and plant the seeds
In the fullness of time, we will reap peace
 
We thought we were fighting in a just war
Is there any such thing? I’m not sure anymore
 
Darkness cannot beget light, nor hatred birth love
To walk in the light, we must call forth the dawn
Forgiveness, they say, is not for you, but for me
After suffering deeply, it’s the only way to break free
 
Looking into the future, what do I see?
So much as it is possible, let it begin with me 
Let the sun rise and warm my cold, deadened heart
Let me learn to forgive, to be healed, to be whole
 
Let’s be soldiers in the army of love
Sowing justice, harvesting grace
Let’s till the ground, and plant the seeds
In the fullness of time, we will reap peace
 
Look into the future; what’s that you see?
A light on the horizon, the dawning of day?
Ignite your heart with the sunrise of love
Until it shines in the darkness, illuminating the next step on the path to peace
 
Carole St. Laurent
 
This poem was inspired by my trip to Israel and Palestine in November 2014. Appropriately, I first shared it at a Shab-e She’r (Poetry Night) at a venue that promotes peace in Israel and Palestine in Toronto, Beit Zatoun. Poetry can connect human spirits like nothing else. There was power in that room; much love. We had the audicity to believe anything is possible. So much as it is possible, let it begin with me. 

 

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