what is peace as the wind blows gently
through the coconut palms?
what is it as the gas murmurs softly
beneath the Chinese aluminum kettle?
what is it as crickets and their friends grate continuously
in the warm tropical night?
what is it mid the cries for freedom?
is it that squeal of delight of a baby in the villager’s house
crawling in the dust, laughing with other children
in the bone-dry compound?
is it the sound of the mahjong players
with the clickety-clack of tiles
laughing friends and family generations
apart in their view of the world?
is it in the responding clap of the men
around the grog-pot
the pepper root of the tropics which binds friends
and kin in a net so tough
or the laughter as stories are retold
at the end of the day?
the smile and handshake
or the sword and cry of freedom
the sickle and the shared hand
on the plough or over the pot on the fire?
A belief that justice can be won
that the fight is necessary for peace
that exploitation can cease
that equality is more than a dream?
is it the laying down of arms
or taking them up for justice and freedom and dignity?
the freedom to be rich while others
toil and sweat for roti and dahl?
the freedom to transit freely
to come and go while others remain
imprisoned and bound in their poverty?
the freedom to be a success while
so many remain dispossessed?
the freedom to become
the freedom of being alive
but at what cost?
the freedom of the powerful in the technically perfect society
sweeping out of sight the misery
of cardboard boxes
and railway stations and public conveniences
the passageways and alleys
and deserted school buildings and caravan parks
municipal trucks and estates which serve as home
to so many young and old, girls and boys and the men
we whisper about as street kids or deros
which world, which peace – whose?