Vicious Peace

Photo by Luca Dross from Pexels

Vicious Peace by Professor Hilary Cremin- 11 Feb 2022

It seems an age ago that I last uploaded some of my poems for this blog. It was towards the beginning of the pandemic. Writing poetry, as so often happens, really helped me to process my feelings and thoughts about what was going on. It seemed important to share, as I imagined that other people might be going through something similar. I hoped that they might benefit from whatever ability I may have to capture the essence of things in poetry.

I find myself in February 2022 thinking again about poetry and peace. I wrote a poem recently in preparation for my teaching with students on the Knowledge Power and Politics MPhil in the Faculty of Education. I was thinking about how peace is not the easy option. It is not about pacification (despite being seen as toxic in some in war-affected contexts). Neither is it about hearts and flowers (despite all of the pink and fluffy paraphernalia in the shops for Valentine’s day). Peace and love are at the heart of what it means to be human. They are also at the heart of what it means to struggle for justice. Sometimes peace is intolerant, vicious in the face of the unacceptable, and messy and chaotic in hallowed spaces. This poem attempts to capture some of that. Above all it aims to stimulate debate. What do you mean by peace?


You can keep

Silenced peace

In classrooms.

The peace

Of forced fingers

On lips

Spare me

Desolate peace

In no-man’s-land.

The peace

Of languid


Not for me

Unequal peace

In securitised spaces.

The peace

Of unblinking


Give me

Vicious peace


The peace

Of protective


I need

Uncompromising peace

In ancient forests.

The peace

Of steadfast


God speed

Intolerant peace

In families and nations.

The peace

Of ‘no’

This will not be.

May Peace and Justice,

Ancient siblings,

Take hands

And hold me

In their embrace.