Poems

Speakers at Ikeda Center events often include poems in their presentations. This section contains some that have been featured in recent years. Below is a brief introduction to Daisaku Ikeda's vision of poetry.

This section includes poems from: Daisaku Ikeda; Kahlil Gibran; Ralph Waldo Emerson; Walt Whitman; Emily Dickinson; Sonia Sanchez; Langston Hughes; Denise Levertov; Joy Harjo; Tom Chandler; Mary Oliver; William E. Stafford; Wendell Berry; and Ranindranath Tagore.

Poems are ideally suited to capture the spirit of peace and the universal human longings for well-being, freedom, community, happiness, and all those aspirations that cannot be reduced to monetary or material terms. Poetry can also be a source of courage, as Daisaku Ikeda explained in his 2009 message to the Ikeda Center, written to commemorate the publication of Creating Waldens (Dialogue Path Press, 2009). In that message Mr. Ikeda talked about how he maintained his faith in peace building in the confused aftermath of 9/11, with its "pervading sense of helplessness." He wrote:

"That pervading sense of helplessness was exactly why I renewed my own pledge, determining again to make dialogue my point of departure, believing in its power above all. I contend that the key to such an endeavor is the poetic power of the imagination, that which compels the poet to create portals of hope and discover entranceways for exchange in the massive walls that divide our world. Crucial here is the poet’s unshakable optimism and faith in the inherent goodness of human beings. I was convinced it was necessary, more than ever, that we restore the poetic heart for the benefit of all humankind."

Mr. Ikeda is himself a poet*, and we often try to an include a poetic and/or aesthetic element in the work and activities of the Ikeda Center. Indeed, our sixth Core Conviction holds that "the poetic power of the imagination calls forth our highest potential." Read more about this conviction here.

Read an essay by Mary Lee Morrison on the relationship between poetry and peace.

* Among Daisaku Ikeda's most popular volumes of poetry in English is Fighting for Peace: Poems by Daisaku Ikeda (Creative Arts Book Company, 2004). This volume includes a Foreword by Ishmael Reed.

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