Leave the violence to those

                who believe in violence

Leave the aggression to those

                who are aggressive.

Live the alternative.

Seek out the immigrant, the handicapped,

                the queer, the woman, the child,

                 the Black, the Other.

Find them in yourself

and you in them.

Be a voice for the voiceless.

                Throw a small pebble;

Watch it travel miles.

In kitchens, streets, churches, bars,

                be a listening ear,

A sister, brother – not a judge.

Refuse to boil like a hot teapot,

                venting useless steam.

Go deep inside, find a well of calm,

                give others to drink.

Be a safe harbor, a haven

                from deadly storms.

Nurture seeds of tenderness.

Grow shade trees of kindness

with justice beneath

their boughs.

Caryn Leigh Wideman is a student at Our Lady of the Lake University pursuing an  MA/MFA in Creative Writing, Literature and Social Justice; a member of the peaceCENTER’s core team and a volunteer at Haven for Hope.

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