What about Peace?

The insistent Adirondack wind

Shoves against the fabric of our tent,

And I settle deeper into my sleeping bag.

Watching the rest of my family snore softly, I turn my head to acknowledge The mournful call of the loon.

The sun is rising slowly,

And a cloud of mosquitoes

Dips drunkenly over the surface of the water.

I hear the chatter of a red squirrel searching For breakfast, And the grinding crunch of Teva sandals against The small, sandy beach.

The other campers have already woken.

Ducks quack adamantly for bread crumbs,

And the smell of pancakes assaults my

Still sleepy nose.

It is so peaceful,

And I pause to think of how many

People aren't enjoying these same things.

When the father is sent off to war,

A daughter can't stop to watch the

Florescent orange salamander meander across A well-walked path.

When the son is fighting for an unknown cause, A mother doesn't think of the way that Coals of a campfire wink out one by one, The charred logs collapsing with relief.

When a friend has been shipped off

To a foreign country at war

With no certain day of return,

We don't stop to watch the sun melt into the Panorama of pine trees and sparkling lakes.

War distracts us from the loveliness of nature, And shows us the false beauty of victory.

Lives are wasted and then listed.

Mothers cry, and families are broken.

We are blinded by our sorrow and hate,

No longer able to see the beauty of nature; The splendor of peace.

This poem by Stephanie Heinbockel, a sophomore at Strath Haven High School, won second place in the national What About Peace? poetry contest. There were 973 entries in eight categories from 40 states.