We wondered what our walk should mean,
taking that un-march quietly;
the sun stared at our signs— “Thou shalt not kill.”
Men by a tavern said, “Those foreigners . . .”
to a woman with a fur, who turned away—
like an elevator going down, their look at us.
Along a curb, their signs lined across,
a picket line stopped and stared
the whole width of the street, at ours: “Unfair.”
Above our heads the sound truck blared—
by the park, under the autumn trees—
it said that love could fill the atmosphere:
Occur, slow the other fallout, unseen,
on islands everywhere—fallout, falling
unheard. We held our poster up to shade our eyes.
At the end we just walked away;
no one was there to tell us where to leave the signs.
William Stafford, “Peace Walk” from The Way It Is: New and Selected Poems. Copyright © 1994 by William Stafford. Reprinted by permission of Graywolf Press. www.graywolfpress.org.
Source: The Way It Is: New and Selected Poems
(Graywolf Press, 1994)