Puzzle Peace

For the entire month of February, The World Peace Poets has put out a call for peace poems to be sent out one a day on postcards.  Each contributor sent a poem a day out to others on their list.  I couldn't help but adapt it a bit for my own ease of use/scheduling.  I'm kind of a radical conservative, so I can't help but put my own spin on things, but always within the guidelines.  So...

I began a poem on February 1st and finished it on February 8th.  It ended up with 20 stanzas, and I had 20 people on my list...so it made sense, especially given this particular poem, that I would send a piece of the poem - one stanza - to each person.  Each postcard had one stanza of the poem with its number on it.  On the front, each postcard has ALL the key words from the entire poem inside the Tagxedo I created (below).

Because I could, and like I said, I'm a radical conservative, and we'd just been sending postcards anyway...
I decided to print off an extra set of postcards and send them randomly to any blogger for whom I had an address...plus a few friends who don't have blogs, but do have addresses!

the third piece of the puzzle
Today I had promised that I would put all the stanzas together into its one poem, all the pieces fitting together at last. So here it is in its entirety, as promised - first as a puzzle that you can assemble (which isn't as easily read as I'd like), and below the puzzle the poem written as text: (if you don't see more after this puzzle, give it a few seconds to appear!)

Puzzle Peace

Peace is in pieces,
Examine each one;
There’s a piece with a peace,
It’s own island of sun.

Peace in the pieces,
Gather them round;
The piece with the Peace is
Neither shackled nor bound;

You’ve been given a puzzle,
As patchworker’s quilt;
But no needle or thread
Is used when it’s built.

The grandest of puzzles,
Our tensions increasing,
Is placed out for hands
To work out the piecing.

Meanwhile the sun
Shines down on each piece
Refracting the beams
For rainbow’s release.

When clouds recover,
Rain again reigning,
Each fractured peace with
Occlusions and staining -

Shows what they’re made of:
A crystal of rough,
A piece of a stone
To withstand the tough.

I’m glad for the ripples
Of peace in all strife;
Thankful for my peace
Of mind in this life.

That’s how it’s been:
We’re broken, we’re healed,
As we move to the moment
True Peace is revealed.

As we crumble to pieces
The Peace of this world
Lifts us above
In hands we are curled

Each member remembers
Their part that was played
In loving, in giving,
Or moments they strayed.

And the Peace that endures
To the end of our time
Knows of the hurt and
The mountains each climbed;

Looks at the minutes,
The tick of each heart,
And knows if the Peace
Is returned to its start.

If there is joy,
Peace parts the ways;
If there is Peace,
Joy runs through our days.

Oh, joyful the days when
Peace is the song;
For where Peace is sung,
The heart is not wrong.

This Joyous Peace
Inside ever near us,
Even with small voice,
Is able to hear us.

When peace is in pieces
And threatens to crumble,
Remember your Peace will
Withstand the tumble.

Raise that Peace high
So precisely curved;
The last piece of puzzle,
Once missing, reserved.

Filling such void
With Peace where it aught,
Bringing completion
To the centermost spot.

You cannot keep Peace
Nor be a part of it
If you do not know
The greatest start of it.

by Donna JT Smith, 2/2017

Peace Puzzle Pieces on Postcards - that's a mouthful!
 Enjoy the Peace today!  Go read some more poems by heading over to Heidi's place, My Juicy Little Universe, where she is hosting this week's Poetry Friday in celebration of all things poetry!
And don't forget -This Sunday night, the Madness! Poetry tournament begins, at least for the 64 authletes; words are issued and the challenge of writing a poem using the selected word begins! 36 hours later the poems will be submitted and the first rounds of voting opens up two poems at a time beginning late Tuesday and running through early Thursday...Check it out at Ed DeCaria's website: Madness! Poetry, register for classroom voting, vote for yourself, encourage friends to read poetry and vote!  It's a month long competition with lots of poetry for kids!

Slice of Life:
Yesterday I went into 4 classrooms and read - a celebration of Dr. Seuss' birthday.  As a retired teacher, I don't get into the classrooms as much as I used to (duh).  But I set aside this day to make sure I get there.  Due to new directors and snowstorms, the process was a little delayed and I didn't get to find out my assignment until about 36 hours before the readings - a 4th grade.  And then, as readers must have dropped out, I was asked if I could do three more - a first grade, a 3 year old group, and a 4 year old group.  Being retired and having set this day aside as special, I of course said yes!
I had SOOO much fun!  I read books I'd picked out at the public library, and books I had left over from teaching, AND a couple of my own poems.  I got hugs.  I got smiles.  I got comments.
I got compliments:
"I like that necklace."
"Your hair is pretty."
I got questions:
"Why don't you have a hair clip in, like me?" (3 and 4 year old groups)
"That poem is sad." 4th grader.
"Hey, you remembered my name!" 1st grader.
And they all liked books.
I must do this again.  If you haven't tried this, even as a teacher with a classroom now, you NEED to do this!  Switch classrooms with someone for an hour - a different level - you won't be sorry.  It is an amazing experience from planning to waving good-bye from the door!  And especially amazing when you get those preschooler hugs!


  1. There is so much awesomeness here that I will have to come back. That tagxedo is so beautiful!

    1. Hi, Heidi, thanks for popping in! You will be having a busy day, so I hope you do get to come back and play!

  2. Wow. I'm not sure where to begin the admiration gush--I love the process, but the products are amazing too. Wow. Your poem is so wise, so chock full of important statements that are so relevant in so many aspects of life. Wow.

    1. Thanks, Melanie! This was a fun project in so many ways - starting with writing the poem - which came more easily than I can explain - and ending with making the puzzle. I had a blast with this puzzle maker!

  3. This poem is so YOU, Donna, with all the extras and connections and enthusiasm and wisdom... thank you for sharing all these pieces of peace. What lucky kids to share time with you! xo

    1. Aw! You know, truth is, I feel as if - no, I KNOW - I am the lucky one!

  4. That classroom experience sounds like so much fun! Kids just love being read to and they benefit so much from it - hearing language aloud is such an important part of strengthening literacy skills, and it's so much fun! I've found that even older kids, who turn up their noses and act too cool for school, get a real kick out of being read to. I'm sure all those students had a wonderful experience!!

    1. I read to my husband when we go on long trips in the car even. Everyone likes listening to a good story! The students and I ALL had a terrific time!

  5. I appreciate that you included me in this awesome project, Donna. What a lot of work you've done to bring this message to us, and I'm guessing to so many more. I have to go pick up Ingrid now from school, but will bring her back and we'll do the puzzle together! Your time in the classes sounds fun too. I bet you were happy to be back in that first grade! Dr. Seuss has made his own forays into our world to bring peace!

    1. You are so lucky to be able to visit with Ingrid! You can go full screen to assemble the puzzle. You can also go to the site and create your own puzzles free. Ingrid might like doing that!

  6. Love all these pieces of peace! Thank you for sharing the whole picture. What a fruitful practice it turned out to be.

    1. It was a very difficult not to put this post up early. But I'm glad I didn't. It kept me excited to see it completed also.

  7. Donna, this is awesome on all levels! Thank you for the how-you-did-it details for the project. Your pieces of peace are perfect. I will be sharing this post with others.

    1. Thanks, Alice! I really enjoyed the whole process.

  8. I'm in awe of your peace poem!

    I teach middle school, and recently I went and read to second graders at my school. It was a lot of fun!

    1. Thanks, Ruth!
      How exciting that you go to go to second grade. They are a pretty enthusiastic group at that age. You HAD to have a good time!

  9. Was so looking forward to this reveal, Donna! You've outdone yourself in originality and remote collaboration--bringing so many peaces together. Way. To. Go!!

    1. I've enjoyed every step of this project (except maybe a printer glitch in producing the postcards...)!

  10. Nicely done, Donna! One of my favorite images is "ripples of peace."

    1. Thanks, Tabatha!
      I was going to say that I need to think of another project to keep me going, but then I remembered, there's SOL and Madness!Poetry in March, and then A-to-Z Challenge in April. I guess I don't need more.

  11. Dear Donna, thank you for the "just-in-time" piece of peace that I received in my mailbox yesterday, and for this plethora of peace piecemeal that I can piece together today! :D The fact that you put your own spin on things is one of the pieces I like best about you, Donna. I'm enjoying the peace and feeling the rainbow! xo

  12. The poem is incredible - so many aspects: with homonyms, sun imagery, deeper meanings to ponder. Your mind must be racing all the time! And I am delighted you had such a good Read Across America day in classrooms yesterday. I know the children you were with were blessed by your presence with them.

  13. "This Joyous Peace
    Inside ever near us,
    Even with small voice,
    Is able to hear us."

    I love this "piece" of the poem. It's true, I believe, that even small voices are heard and make a difference in the quest for lasting peace. Thank you for sharing this wonderful project. I am so happy to see the completion with all the pieces together. I had fun doing the puzzle and wonder how on earth you figured out how to make that happen. Great post with so much happiness.

  14. What a fun blog post Donna! I loved putting together your puzzle and how your poem meanders through quickly from top to bottom. Your energy and enthusiasm is intoxicating, those were lucky students!

  15. I've been waiting to read the whole thing after receiving piece #16, and of course, I've arrived late. But it was really worth the wait, Donna. Thanks so much!

  16. Wow for the poem. Wow for how much more you did with it. I am so glad that you put the link in the comment and I didn't miss this post. :)

  17. Well! I have come back, and I've done the puzzle, and on Friday I got a surprise in the mail! Thanks for thinking of me, Donna! Your patchworked project is very Peaceful indeed, and reading it, with its rhythm and repeated words brought me some extra inner peace.

    What kind of radical conservative are you?

  18. I found my puzzle piece next to my computer today and thought, Oh shoot, I forgot to check Donna's site. And so here I am a few days late, but I got to read all about Pickles and Jello and now I have an idea for when I someday become a grandma. This peace idea is wonderful. I feel privileged to have a piece of it. Today I sang in church and thought about singing for peace. The heart is not wrong. Thanks for your thoughtfulness!

  19. I went into my daughter's class to read for her birthday, and I took some coloring pages that went with the section I was reading -- dragons to go with one of Grace Lin's books. The kids were engrossed with coloring, but listening, too. It was a room of vibrating energy. Peaceful, too. Your post reminded me how outstanding it is to be connected to others.

  20. Namaste Donna...thanks for adding a slice of your creativity to the Feb Peace Postcard Fest.....my slice was that I sent most of my list from Mexico....and I also sent a few cards to friends......none of whom have received theirs as yet....:-( so I am wondering if you received yours...? Waves of Alo-HA & Peace to you.....StanleydelGozo


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