UN Peace Bell sounds for world peace…and a Kapiti poet writes as the bell tolls

By Alan Tristram

September 21 is the International Day of Peace.

The Japanese peace bell will ring out at the UN building in New York –  and we have a special poem from Kapiti Coast poet Julie Leibrich to mark the occasion.


What about words like Iraq and Afghanistan?

Yemeni, America, Syria and Sudan

Israel, Gaza, Libya, Russia and Iran?


Strange, so many silky words spell war.

Perhaps I should scan the latest riots in Britain  

or find a rhyme for France or Greece.

Far easier to talk of war and peace,

when it’s not in your own back yard.

With someone you love.


After our argument, we’re lost for words.


You drive us to Otaihanga

for a spell of stone-skimming ease.

Only a ripple can measure the surface tension.


We hear some people arguing near the trees.

She’s shrieking.  He’s hurling words of hate.

We stop to look back, and almost turn to stone.


The bell is ringing where peace is really born.

We thread our arms together.

You take us home.


The International Day of Peace was established in 1981 by resolution 36/67 of the United Nations General Assembly to coincide with its opening session, which was held annually on the third Tuesday of September.

The first Peace Day was observed in September 1982, and in 2001, the General Assembly by voted unanimously  to establish September21 as an annual day of non-violence and cease-fire.

The UN invites all nations and people to honour a cessation of hostilities during the Day, and to otherwise commemorate the Day through education and public awareness on issues related to peace.

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