Literary Calligraphy by Susan Loy

Cathryn Hankla

Practicing Peace

Susan Loy and writer and poet Cathryn Hankla collaborated to create this peace mandala. Loy hand lettered Hankla's poem in concentric circles in shades of purple watercolors. The poem surrounds the word for peace in Arabic, lettered in blue.

"It's not an idea. As an idea, it's no more powerful than war. It's not a demonstration. We can carry signs on behalf of other problems. It's not an admonition; reproach cannot produce it. It's not historical; we cannot look back and retrieve it. It's not human nature, not a natural behavior. Primitive, we would not know it any better. It might be uncertain. It might be an endless pursuit. It might be a state of mind. It might be a journey. It might be pure energy. It might be a dream. Peaceful is not something we are, that we decided once, or something we do, that is the only route. Like forgiveness, peace is a practice. Moment to moment, it's how we choose to be: when the grill won't start, when the dog keeps barking, when the check bounces, when the train is late, when we are angry and searching for someone to blame."
The blue and purple border contains the word peace in nine alphabets and twenty-seven languages. The languages include Algonquin: waki ijiwebis-i, Amheric: irq, Arabic: salam, Dari: sulh, Dutch: vrede, Esperanto: paco, French: paix, Gaelic: sith, German: frieden, Hebrew: shalom, Hindi: shanti, Hungarian: beke, Irish: siochain, Talian: pace, Jamaican: satta, Klingon: roj, Lakota: wolakota, Mandarin: heping, Masaba: koosi, Navajo: k'e, Nepali: saanti, Polish: pokoj, Russian: mir, Spanish: paz, Vietnamese: hoa binh, Welsh: heddwch, and Zulu: ukuthula. The nine alphabets are Chinese, Greek, Hebrew, Japanese, Korean, Roman, Sanskrit, Thai, and Tibetan.

The blue and grey background is made up of peace in Akkadian cuneiform as well as the modern peace sign, which is a combination of the naval code of semaphore's code letters for N and D (nuclear disarmament). The peace sign was designed by the Direct Action Committee against Nuclear War in 1958.

Cathryn Hankla is the author of ten books of poetry and fiction, and she enjoys painting and drumming in her spare time. Hankla is the author of ten books of fiction and poetry, including Poems for the Pardoned, Last Exposures: A Sequence of Poems, and The Land Between. She's a professor in the Hollins University writing program and edits poetry for The Hollins Critic. See CathrynHankla.comfor further information.

Calligraphy by Susan Loy will donate $25 for EACH print sold to the Endowment Fund of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Roanoke, Virginia.

Signed prints produced from the original watercolor.
Print Image Size: 9-1/2" x 9-1/2"
Print Paper Size: 11" x 11-1/2"   Frame Size: 16" x 16"
Read the COMPLETE TEXT for "Practicing Peace"
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