Breathing in, I grieve our fallen warriors;
breathing out, I remember that the present moment
heals all wounds.
Breathing in the cries of village children terrified
by American soldiers, I know these soldiers are all me;
breathing out flowers on their mothers' graves.
Breathing in the burning greed of the arms merchant,
I know that it is my own greed;
breathing out forgiveness, I let go of blame.
Breathing in, my chest hardens into stone;
breathing out, the stone breaks like a loaf of bread,
and becomes a heart.
Breathing in the fear and insecurity of the world leader,
the secret loneliness of the military officer;
breathing out the clarity and boldness of the peace-maker.
Breathing in through the jammed cartridge case of my ribcage;
breathing out, each round becomes a heartbeat.
Breathing in the sorrow of soldiers, I remember
that they are my family;
breathing out the courage of those who refuse to bear arms,
I remember that they are my heroes.
Breathing in the night of war, I hug my own darkness;
breathing out, I listen, and if one bird sings at dawn,
it is proof of God's love.
Breathing in the light of the golden sun;
breathing out, I know that I am awake.
I breathe the first day of creation;
I vow to live in peace.
Photo: Vietnam Memorial, by Michael Holahan