Justine’s Poem

Pieces to Peace

There will be no check-in table in Arlington in August
with an aging, greying teacher with a red Bic pen
waiting to grade assignments for more than ten miles of Ribbon.
All the pieces belong there:
all the symbols of a nation’s yearning for peace.

Who would want to judge the pieces?
Choose one as better than another?
Work of Art?
Work of heart?

Who would want to judge the pieces?
Lay aside a child’s rain-touched, felt tipped rainbow
for an artist’s gessoed work?

Who would want to say the eighth-grader’s acrylic basketball court
held more promise that the quilter’s careful stitches
holding her aching heart together after the evening’s late news?

Each one makes The Ribbon:
the pizza, poison ivy, pomegranate seeds
the ladybugs, mid-Hudson bridge,
and creed;
each segment makes The Ribbon.

It is in the addition we find the sum:
for it is one yard
plus one yard
plus each yard of cloth
that we honor the diversity,
that we celebrate the unity.

Each piece makes The Ribbon;
each piece brings the piece. Amen.

Source: Journey. Justine Merritt, CA: Hope Publishing House 1993. (p.111) -Arlington, VA 1985.