Peace and Pastry for the Flaky

I am having a hard time concentrating lately. Maybe it’s my constant but unsuccessful effort to tune out what’s going wrong in the world. If only I could keep myself off of the internet, cruising for cute pictures of kitties and rabbits cuddling in boxes ten times too small for them. Instead I end up fighting with people about gun control, global warming, treatment of refugees, and religious freedom. This doesn’t make for peace of mind.

So for a few weeks now, I’ve been concentrating on peace. Peace and pastry. I immersed myself in the Great British Baking Show, which was a kinder, better kind of reality t.v. The hosts were firm but not cruel, the contestants didn’t punch each other, and the pastries all looked superb. Yes, there were tears, when a contestant’s pastry wasn’t flaky enough, but the show never got nasty. Even when a contestant was sent home each week, hugs and gentle regrets were always given. No one spat on the losers or attempted to undermine the winner. The show is a superb antidote to the Hell’s Kitchen, Bachelor, and Housewives of Buda, Texas shows out there. See? Reality shows don’t have to be cruel!

Reality doesn’t have to be cruel either, but it is. I’m not sure why we don’t seem able to convince each other to work for the common good, or even to agree on what the common good is. I believe that competition itself isn’t that good for us, even when it results in spectacular gingerbread castles.

spectacular gingerbread house

And for those of us who are pre-diabetic or gluten intolerant, pastry cannot stand in for the common good. We can awaken our empathy and compassion, which will move us towards the common good, if we experience art. By experiencing art I mean making and/or appreciating music, art, literature, film, dance, theater and poetry etc. Folks who don’t get into any of that would call me snotty. (These are people whose poetry must sneak up on them in country western or Top 40 pop songs.)

I wrote a poem about peace. Not the peace of total domination or annihilation of the enemy, but the peace and prosperity that everyone deserves. I am currently thinking it’s unattainable, but essential to pursue. So I offer this poem with a wish for peace, compassion and prosperity for the whole world. And may everyone’s pastry be flaky.

Lady and unicorn

Peace, the Unicorn

Peace, the Unicorn
Peace elusive
Hunted to extinction
Hunted to dreams
Peace, the rare and impossible
With Mercy, Compassion and Justice
Entwined in its mane.
Its horn
One of plenty

(Yes that’s a mixed metaphor
An improbable but necessary cornucopia)

Peace, the Unicorn
Glows just ahead of its hunters
Who will never catch it.
They are too loud, too violent.
And the legend is
The Unicorn will come
And lay its head
In the lap of
Someone gentle and innocent.
Then the hunters will kill it.
And start the hunt again.

Marilyn Rucker Norrod 2015

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