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This week has been a sad week for the world. In the US, we have a president who refused to stand up against the KKK and Nazi groups terrorizing protestors. For the first time in my life, I fear that the world is becoming more and more unstable and there seems little to counterbalance that. And then reading about the terrorist attacks in Barcelona, after all the attacks in France, and then Germany and then the UK, just made my heart sink. It seems endless. When my daughter went on a school trip to France this past spring, I had to warn her to be careful on pedestrian walkways and sidewalks and listen for cars careening out of control. The innocent days of walking down the street freely are over, at least for now. This is the world we all now live in.
My husband reminded me, however, that poetry is a great way to lift one’s spirit. I recorded an album a number of years ago with my musical settings and voice and piano on 14 poems, including one of my favorite by W.B. Yeats, whose writing I fell in love with first in college. The poem is a call to action to find peace any way you can. My favorite line is, “And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow.” (To check out this album, called Tread on My Dreams, you can go to https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/stanford.)
So for those of us feeling despair for the world, remember to find peace where you can and remember that peace doesn’t come all at once but in bits and pieces. Notice how and when that happens. And remember that as you move toward your world stage, the most powerful leaders who will inspire us will be the ones who are good and selfless and loving and filled with peace.
The Lake Isle of Innisfree
I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree, And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made: Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee; And live alone in the bee-loud glade. And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow, Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings; There midnight’s all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow, And evening full of the linnet’s wings. I will arise and go now, for always night and day I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore; While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey, I hear it in the deep heart’s core.