Arms and voices for peace: A duet

by Noel Ihebuzor and Susan Daniels

there are arms we lay down
& others we hold open

there are tongues we must still
and others we loose;
the barbed tongue that howls like a howitzer
we have to leash and rein in

there are arms we must raise
arms raised to embrace, to rejoice.
there are arms to down
arms clenched, crest fists in tsunami rage,
or balance hands
that shape silos tilted skyward, curved metal calculated
and conducted to maximum strikes,
singing death in mournful tunes

against such,
let us loose the tongue that coos
softer than the dove,
sweeter as beautiful rays splashed
on the wide bosom of a waking beach

i would plot the curve of a cheek, rested
on my shoulder, lay down
what holds us at arm’s length
and instead open–
a gesture with a bell’s resonance

that tongue whose voice melodiously flutters
under a blue sky,
let her reign,
let her caress and conquer
the hardness of our guns and melt our swords

these arms, these hands
could pull needles from softened metal
that was swords
and use these tongues to tell it–

let us close the gaping wounds
on the face of the earth
caused by the savage rage
of raw us clawing at things we never can ever own
let it begin, this stitching together
of something torn


***Noel (regular typeface) and I (italicized) decided to blend our efforts for the Dverse prompt today, which involves truce or armistice.  As always, this was so much fun to craft with Noel–a wonderful, inspiring co-creator and friend!

About Susan L Daniels

I am a firm believer that politics are personal, that faith is expressed through action, and that life is something that must be loved and lived authentically--or why bother with any of it?
This entry was posted in duet, duet with Noel Ihebuzor, Duets with Noel Ihebuzor, New Free Verse and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

36 Responses to Arms and voices for peace: A duet

  1. brian miller says:

    oh snap…i wann hear this done in both voices….really well blended…i would plot the curve of a cheek, rested
    on my shoulder, lay down
    what holds us at arm’s length
    and instead open–…love the intimacy in this…the arms to the tongue…laying down all our weapons….really great take on the prompt susan….

  2. ManicDdaily says:

    Wonderful vocabulary and beautiful concepts well stitched together, well done. You know I have a very different poem, not yet up, – but amazing some of the same words come up – very different though. So interesting. Lovely poem. k .

  3. Laurie Kolp says:

    Amazing!! I love the opening and –

    let us loose the tongue that coos
    softer than the dove,
    sweeter as beautiful rays splashed
    on the wide bosom of a waking beach

  4. Mary says:

    I so like ‘arms we lay down and arms we hold open.’ A wonderful collaboration here. The flow from one person’s words to the other’s is seamless.

  5. Susan and Noel…this is so brilliant. A bit disturbing, perhaps, but applicable on so many levels. Wow! Love the idea of collaborative poetry.

  6. Clever fusion and a strong issues raised

  7. kikischeuer says:

    Oh Susan!
    Very Beautifully written, both of you!
    ♥ ~ Kyla ~ ♥

  8. Miriam E. says:

    this is so powerful!
    love the idea of a duet – wonderfully done. would really enjoy hearing this…
    great work.

  9. poemsofhateandhope says:

    Ah this is great! Love the dual voice but the whole poem flows really well. I love the contrasts too, between war & peace…(really like the first few lines- laying down arms vs open arms)- the world defo needs more open arms

  10. Brilliant. There can never be peace unless it is won or, reached through compromise. What a great collaboration between the pair of you, you could almost feel the violent struggle and yet, the will behind it to compromise.

  11. So creative and effective. I love the interweaving of two voices, beautifully done!

  12. claudia says:

    wow…very cool idea on doing the poem together and wonderfully done…great work on the contrasts and great closure as well with the stitching together what is torn

    • Thank you, Claudia. Noel has such a powerful voice, I have to “raise” mine a little when we co-author–I always love the results of our joint efforts. Think two perspectives blended are potent, especially when addressing a subject this critical to everyone on this planet.

  13. You drew me right in with those first two lines which set the tone and the story perfectly, putting me in a ace of understanding from the start. A great write.

  14. Really creative ideas here and beautifully blended. I always wanted to do a duet but I’ve never seen one more seamless and as powerful as this. I’m with Brian – this should be performed by you together. Wonderful.

    • Oh, Gosh, Gay, thank you! If we can figure out a way to bat a sound file across the Atlantic and add to it, I will ask Noel to read with me–hope he says yes and that we can figure it out…

  15. Sabio Lantz says:

    Wow, fun. And if you and Noel are usually at war but decided to be at peace for this poem, that would be really amazing.

  16. Susan says:

    Bless you for multiple tongues and arms to imagine both closed and open. This is an experience I wish I could hear in your voices. I love it’s progression through contrasts to raw and claw and finally, a stitching, a deliberate fixing. Wonderful.

  17. You guys are getting to be fomidable now. 🙂

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