All of These People: Conflict Poem by Michael Longley (1939-)

Who was it who suggested that the opposite of war

Is not so much peace as civilization? He knew

Our assassinated Catholic greengrocer who died

At Christmas in the arms of our Methodist minister, 

And our ice-cream man who continuing requiem

Is the twenty-one flavours children have by heart.

Our cobbler mends shoes for everyone; our butcher

Blends into his best sausages leeks, garlic, honey;

Our cornershop sells everything from bread to kindling. 

Who can bring peace to people who are not civilized?

All of these people, alive or dead, are civilized.


About creativeconflictwisdom

I spent 32 years in a Fortune Five company working on conflict: organizational, labor relations and senior management. I have consulted in a dozen different business sectors and the US Military. I work with a local environmental non profit. I have written a book on the neuroscience of conflict, and its implications for conflict handling called Creative Conflict Wisdom (forthcoming).
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