"Capriccio with Classical Ruins," Giovanni Canal (Canaletto), c.1751, WikiArt photo.
“Capriccio with Classical Ruins,” Giovanni Canal (Canaletto), c.1751, WikiArt photo.

Overgrown in mountain spruces, wreaths
Of ivy and laurel, once source of hope and
Faith, Temple of Peace deserted, columns
Toppled, double bronze doors unhinged.
Confused and conflicted, chaos reigned the
Night, sons, daughters strayed into warring
Fight, adult children fallen down. O! Grief
Of dawning morn, love and hopes have
Been scorned, deaths in black-block tomb.

For this, Temple of Peace lays abandoned on
Mountain brow, no remedies for those who
Sailed once-forbidden seas to island-sanctuary,
Love’s communion. With hearts as desert tracts,
Arduous duties remain, rebuild temple walls by
One marble stone upon another, fluted columns
Re-erected, for all towering entablature reads,
“Children are Family Crown, May They Live
In Love and Peace.”

Fifty faces of dead on marble frieze, each lost
And time-suspended, promises of youth and
Innocence broken, parents and pilgrims gather
At temple steps. With family bereaving-tears,
Each brings flowers, hopes anew as stones are
Laid, doors on hinges hung, spears and swords
Laid down, entering welcoming peristyles, quiet
Prayers offered at altar of the gods, for arrow-
Struck comes healing, peace, and reconciliation.

"Art and Literature," William-Adolphe Bouguereau, 1867, WikiArt photo.
“Art and Literature,” William-Adolphe Bouguereau, 1867, WikiArt photo.

Within the temple these inscriptions pilgrims
Found: “For those who worship gods old or
New, and killed in their names, no peace will
Be found.” Thus were ageless lessons learnt,
Bloodstained histories, kings and empires in
Death-conflict, duty bound preserving way of
Life. Negotiation given meager chance, cries
For war arose, weapons raised, armies fought,
Temple of Peace descended into ruin.

Within each of us is a “Temple of Peace.”
Thanks for reading.

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